SCOTLAND Tribal Origins

In the earth's long history, there have been several ice ages, which seem to come in 25,000-year cycles. The periods between ice ages are called inter-glacial periods. 10,000 years ago the last ice age ended. While ice covered the land, the sea levels dropped, the water being sucked up by the ice, in turn creating more ice. When the ice melted, the water was released, so sea levels rose. It has been estimated that between 300 and 600 feet of sea level was affected. By the time the ice age ended, Britain was still joined to mainland Europe. The North Sea did not exist (as we know it today). During this period, migrating peoples wandered Europe, some coming here to Scotland. This country was not an island then - we would have been seen as the West Coast of Europe. The Hebridean Isles would have been mountains to the far west. In between here and the continent was joined by a large plain. No-one knows much about the topography under this part of the North Sea, most exploration has been done under the oil production parts further north. Around 7000 years ago, there is evidence of a huge tidal wave sweeping down from the north-east. Just off the west coast of Norway there is a deep chasm known as the Norway Trench. It is possible that this was the extent of the then North Sea. It has been shown that part of the side wall of this trench collapsed, a huge chunk of rock sinking to the sea bed - this is what caused the tidal wave. There is evidence of this colossal wave on a hillside in Montrose, on the east coast of Scotland, where a layer of sand and shells were found far up a hillside. This could only have been deposited by a wave. It is likely that the wave washed away any traces of the earlier tribes who populated the east of Scotland. With this wave, also much rising sea levels due to ice melt, the North Sea was formed. It is worth mentioning that the North Sea was probably there before the last ice age, and had been sucked up into the ice, only to be replaced when it melted. So it is not so much a "new" sea. At all events, we were now an island. All who had migrated here were now isolated: animals, plants and people. These people, while being cut off from the rest of Europe, were not only geographically separated from mainland Europe, but culturally. European tribes were each affected by their neighbours, so their fortunes differed from those here. There were always differences between the tribes here, mostly between hill tribes and lowland tribes. Generally there were enough resources to go round, while in Europe more migrating tribes meant more likelihood of infringing hunting land, and later disputes So to summarise, we have a people who evolved culturally independent from mainland Europe. Compound this with the much later Roman invasion where they built a wall "Hadrian's Wall" across southern Scotland,and the Antonine wall from forth to clyde as the boundaries of their empire, dominating and influencing all within their boundary, thus isolating even further the northern tribes, who were able to evolve separately unaffected by outside influence. It can clearly be seen there is a distinct separate cultural identity in Scotland.


In ancient times most of Scotland was covered in dense forest. There were numerous tribes roaming the forests hunting for their keep. They lived a hand to mouth existence, eating only what they had caught, hunting for deer, elk, and a variety of large game,(making one big kill which the whole tribe could share was normal strengthening the tribes sense of community or togetherness ).They supplemented their diet with plants ,nuts and fruits. The land provided their needs, and therefore they depended on their " provider ", like an infant on its mother. This is how they thought of their world, the earth was their mother and they revered her. These tribes had no chiefs, or coherent leadership, as such, it wasn't necessary as all knew the importance of co-operation in those times. Each person within the tribe was expected to do their share they all depended on each other. As populations expanded resources began to dwindle and at this time competition for resources began to emerge. This competition often led to conflict over hunting territories, war is not a new thing but in these times it was for survival not gain. Since they lived off the land they were subject to the "forces", or fluctuations, of nature , such as deer populations soaring ,or declining rapidly ,overly wet or dry seasons where fruits would fail, all things they relied on would fluctuate . These fluctuations sometimes happen in cycles, sometimes at random, very precarious times. It was very much feast or famine These events encouraged tribes to move on or perish.. In times of plenty all would flourish in leaner times they'd starve. In times of abundance it became common to collect any excess and take it to another tribe. This was not just an act of kindness, it would also ensure the return favour when they were in need. Hundreds of tribes began a nomadic existence, following herds. Alliances were formed with other tribes to ensure against leaner times. If the resources in the foraging range of one tribes dwindled, then they would move in with their allies temporarily, and vice versa. Gatherings were held, mutual hunting expeditions undertaken, the produce of which was shared equally within the joined tribes, the excess put together in a communal feast. These alliances and feasts were extremely important they encouraged sharing on a regional level, the bonds between tribes were strengthened, not only by mutual co-operation, but also by these community feasts. The alliances between tribes were vital means of obtaining food in critical periods. Once formed they were often strengthened by inter tribal marriage. These marriages were "arranged "as security of alliance. The closest emotional bond is between mother and child, even when they're grown, therefore the mothers right of residence within her offspring's tribe was acknowledged and defended by her children, some tribes took advantage of this bond to gain visiting "privileges" to other tribes. A woman would expect to be welcomed by her children if they lived in another tribe, and if she's welcome so is the rest of the family. This is when extended family, or kinship developed. Eventually almost all members of an average sized tribe were included in this circle of kin. Here kinship was encouraged, and elaborated on, to establish personal alliances between bands farther and farther afield. Tribes who established "extended kinship" ties with other bands survived through lean times those who didn't died out. Marriages between tribe's already related further cemented these ties. Of course once alliances are made they must be maintained by keeping contact, or visiting, reinforcing relationships, (people who are ignored too long tend to resent claims of kinship apparently based on expediency). This was why sharing any surplus food developed, these people were nomadic so storing any surplus wasn't practical, it made more sense to share it with related tribes ( or relatives ) this reinforced claims to future sharing of resources. In times of abundance, which fluctuated, gatherings were held Feasts were held, singing dancing and story telling. This was an opportunity to meet up with related tribes in social bonding, gatherings became social and ritual, they gave the participants a sense of community, by creating and strengthening emotional bonds. Marriages were negotiated at gatherings, rites of passage into adulthood were performed and mutual hunting rituals undertaken. The whole community performed these rituals. They involved ecstatic dances and chanting, animals might be characterised, a deer, or bear, perhaps by emulating a stag they could somehow assume its attributes, making the following hunt all the better. Whatever the reasons for these rituals, the main function of group ritual is creating a strong sense of unity, bonding and camaraderie between the participants. People began to feel part of a much larger principal, or entity. These people didn't have gods to worship, as such, but shared the same spiritual connection to the forces of nature, which provided for them, and, through group rituals designed to manipulate these forces, to each other. As tribes expanded not only were they bonded in times of abundance, but now also in times of starvation, this in itself creating even deeper bonds. The community came first over individual needs. Tribes who didn't share ritual bonding and kinship had more fragile alliances and died out. Ritual created strong bonding not easily broken by famine or feud. The giving of gifts and tokens created further bonds, although gifts were common, trade wasn't. Specialisation didn't exist, only in limited spare time and then, for the benefit of the whole tribe, the only specialist was the shaman,( or holy man ). With expanding populations not everyone had to join the hunt, some were able to turn their attention to other efforts, for example someone would excel at tool making, while another at preparing hides, all efforts were dedicated to the thriving of the clan. Hunting technology advanced, bigger game was hunted in larger numbers, with community effort even a huge elk or bear could be caught, this meant lots more food per hunt. Unfortunately bigger animals have a longer regeneration cycle than smaller ones, and eventually they were over exploited, more being killed than were being born. This would be when a lot of species such as elk, and bear became extinct here. Technological advances such as stone tipped hunting weapons, fishnets and building traps for smaller more difficult to catch animals made life easier for the innovators, smaller animals and fish reproduced quicker than larger ones and weren't so easy to over exploit. Around this time people began permanent settlements in areas of abundance such as river valleys where fish were abundant, or forest clearings where smaller animals could be caught. Also it was discovered that some grasses could be threshed and the contents eaten, and where these plants grew in abundance settlements grew. Not all people settled , some tribes maintained their status quo, living the same hand to mouth existence based on hunting and mobility. These tribes were dependant on the same fluctuations of nature that their ancestors had been, and therefore didn't progress as well as the settlers. Eventually these tribes died out, or were absorbed into settlements. Before this time several square miles of land were needed to support one person hunting large game ,now with areas of abundance one mile could support a whole family. With settlement and abundance storage became necessary therefore it wasn't long before vessels were needed and pottery was invented Soon people learned to grow food, while The emergence of animal husbandry further established security of settlement. Cattle could be bred thus eliminating the need for hunting, They became pastoral which meant they reared cattle. People were now manipulating the land for their survival They levelled the land to graze their cattle, which to them were wealth. The herd provided the needs of the whole community. Not only meat, which is high in fat content, making nutritious eating, but milk, and skins for clothing and shelter were provided. By breeding the cattle herd sizes rise creating abundance, not only securing plenty for the tribe, but allowing for trading any excess and use them as currency. Herd sizes were an indication of how well established the clan was. Cattle raids on other more opulent clans weren't uncommon, so the whole community pulled together in protecting the herd ,which was their livelihood. Vast areas of forestland were felled to provide grazing for the herds, which soon grew to huge sizes. With the manipulation of nature food production allowed for bigger families, populations grew as big as cities. This made possible more complex societies with large classes of specialists, which meant further rapid technology advances With new found abundance the need for co-operation and sharing with other tribes decreased. Competition based on control of resources emerged as a major factor in the organisation of the clan. Also with higher population levels more diversity of labour was possible. With more hunters surpluses of food were available, therefore people now had time on their hands. People now began to accumulate belongings, notably " prestige items", time and effort could now be taken to produce higher quality goods, also personalising them. These items conveyed signs of status and the economic position of the clan or at least that of the clan the owner belonged to. Status was very important not only for personal vanity but also for personal safety.


When a community settles an area of abundance food stocks become more assured and soon surplus accumulates. Once surplus was shared equally, now everyone had ample, so surplus was kept by individuals. Family units now became larger, with more family members gathering food bigger surpluses were accumulated. These surpluses were under the control of the head of the family. Community leaders evolved from heads of large families. These people used surplus to their own ends. Under certain economic circumstances some were able to accumulate enough surplus to dominate community life Sometimes creating vast wealth, Economies based on surplus of resources evolved alongside cattle economies. Economic competition led to rich and poor in the same community, also creating hierarchical social groups.. Some heads of families had several wives, who each would produce food, also several children ,also producing , the larger the family and "extended family" the more surplus they accumulated and more power they had. Sometimes surplus was "loaned" to some poorer members of the community, which was expected back with interest. This gave the giver an advantage to the giver who then had a power over the receiver. Fulfilment of an obligation or debt was, even then, an ancient thing stemming back to times when resources were scarce.. These" social movers "used this human emotion to their own ends. By these and other means these people became tribal chiefs. The world had changed, people in comfortable positions began looking to themselves, no longer did the tribe come first (I'm all right jack). Competitive feasting became common. Gatherings still took place but now they became competitive feasts, each clan could obtain status amongst the other clans by the lavishness of their feasts. It was a sign of how better off the host clan were. This meant the guest clan would have to match or excel the lavishness of the feast when it was their turn to host. When a visiting clan came to the feast the host chief would give gifts to the other clan chiefs. It became considered a sign of weakness not to be able to provide equal amounts of gifts, it was very much "giving to receive". These competitive gatherings escalated to keeping up with the Jones's. Within the tribes certain individuals put themselves forward to organise the feasts. Usually they were the ones who had most surpluses, they obtained public motivation by appealing to the well being of the tribe (although being in sole charge of the tribes resources brought its benefits by controlling the resources of the whole tribe the chief had the ultimate say in the affairs of the tribe,( which may have motivated them). They "generously" offered to take charge of community feasts, which in no time at all became competitive socio-economic battles in which they controlled debts and obligations. By these means they exerted power over those obliged or in debt .The whole tribe would benefit from the feasts, not only from the gifts, but gatherings were a welcome break from the monotony of every day life, any gifts received were shared. Gifts could include cattle, grain, hides or even "prestige" items such as well made personalised tools very much admired by all. These "organisers" would plan even more lavish feasts, approaching the family heads within the clan asking for donations for the feasts. People were promised returns with interest from the gifts given to the clan at the feast. Perhaps they were asked to provide a cow or other "commodity". It was almost like an early stock market, returns for investment. Those who couldn't provide anything were excluded from sharing in the gifts. Sometimes however the "big man "would lend goods to clansmen so they could participate in the feast usually making the receiver do work for him in return (creating even more surplus and therefore more potential wealth for him . This gave him power over people, Naturally he kept the lions share of the goods received, believing it his right, in turn giving to those who had joined the "game". They used the feasts to engineer themselves into positions of power and importance (these must have been the first" social movers"), also to out do other tribes demonstrating superior power, feast sizes could be used to show community cohesion, and most of all military strength. Showing Military strength was important since cattle and food raids were common. They attracted support by "gifting", the receiver being under obligation to return the favour, in goods or support. These obligations or debts were used to force help from those reluctant to co-operate, a bit like ancient gangsters who used their own good fortunes to manipulate others. It was known that to be invited to a feast by another tribe meant either having to enter this "feasting power game", or run the risk of offending the host clan, also it would show inferiority. This was very dangerous since as the big men became more powerful they became more power hungry and would be on the lookout for weaker clans to dominate. Default of an obligation could be just the excuse needed. Displays of power attracted further support gifting, or" bribery" cemented it. To attend a feast and not to be able to give a full return of gifts could put the guests in the power of the hosts. This way these men became immensely powerful, to the extent that they no longer needed competitive feasts to feed them with power, they had might to enforce it. Soon cattle raids were found to be easier ways to make a living. The big men rose in power and status, building themselves bigger and grander houses, even fortified strong points, hill forts and defended villages began emerging. Vast areas of forest were cleared for the ever-expanding herds of cattle accumulated by these early cattle barons. Around this time great stones were erected, some believe they were boundary markers but they could equally have been route markers for droving cattle herds, it's even likely they were to show the status of a local cattle baron. Burial mounds erected to the memory of some long forgotten big men were built. Vessels were placed in these burial mounds, their contents a mystery. Perhaps provisions for a journey to the after life, the very existence of these mounds proves their belief in an afterlife Archaeologists call these people the Beaker people.. We know this period was a cattle grazing period because excavations of these burial mounds revealed no pollen samples of cereal grains in the soil, only meadow grass pollen at the bottom of the mounds. This indicates large areas of grazing land. Immense stone circles were erected, usually in vast areas of grazing land, such as Calanish on the isle of Lewis, or Stonehenge on Salisbury plain. It has been noted that some of the stones are orientated north, south , east and west, when the sun rose above a certain point of the circle it indicated that was the time of year when calm seas allowed for safer sea voyages ,since by this time trading networks were well established. Cattle were traded on the continent for more and more diversity of goods, high status goods such as cloth ,wine, spices etc,increasd the social standing of the bearer. As usual technology advances led to yet another power shift METAL PRODUCTION.

Barons to overlords

The barons became more and more powerful, attracting more and more support, eventually becoming so powerful that conquest of resources became possible. This escalating their power status to that of warlords. Weaker tribes were unable exist without being influenced by them, in one way or another, either being protected by them or persecuted by them. Once the barons were firmly established they began setting boundaries and boundary disputes led to conflict. A vast power struggle evolved, On the death of the chief a new one had to be elected. They were chosen from several likely candidates, usually the head of a family. Naturally the position was highly sought after, people no doubt attracted by the power. The whole tribe had say in who would ultimately lead, and many disputes would arise from disappointed candidates. While chiefs were elected, they could equally be deposed by the tribe, (if they were not too powerful) The more powerful ones were not to be moved, by having support from other more powerful barons they ran mini kingdoms held by tyranny. In such mini kingdoms the more affluent gathered together, pooling their resources, creating elite social groups. The competitive feasts of the past were replaced by might. They raided neighbouring tribes for cattle, never taking the whole herd always leaving some (not through kindness , but so that herd could breed more for future raids ) sort of" sustainable raiding". If the whole herd were taken the neighbouring tribe would move on. It's as if these weaker tribes were kept as sustainable commodities. A new technology arrived which would change everything, metal production was developed Metals such as gold silver, and copper were known of previous to this, but were of no practical function other than ornament, which isn't to say they had no function. Technological advances in metal production led to mixing metals and it was found that by mixing copper with tin a new metal was formed BRONZE. It's unclear whether a new influx of people came , bringing technology, or if technology was evolved by the people here. Bronze was a much harder metal able to keep a cutting edge, so was very much sought after. So however was copper and tin (its raw materials) and this country was abundant in raw materials. Copper and tin were extracted and traded on the continent, metal being traded for other goods. This still survives today as we hand over pieces of metal "coins" for goods, now coins are numeric tokens which are circulated to assist the passage of goods, back then they were raw materials for production. Needless to say competition arose for the resources. The control of metal resources now replaced cattle as a primary source of wealth. The barons once again created vast empires by controlling and defending resources. Tribes in high yield areas had obvious advantages, access for one Metals were difficult to produce involving, location, smelting, and forming to shape. This meant produced metal items were very rare, those who owned such" prestige" items displayed the fact that their tribe had the technology to produce it. Tribes would show their status, or affluence, amongst rival tribes by wearing ornaments, such as pendants or trinkets made from the source of their affluence, (showing off.) jewellery performs the same function nowadays only now it shows personal status not that of the tribe. The use of Bronze to make weapons came much later. When it did it gave vast military superiority to the possessor. Bronze weapons were extremely hard to come by, due to the specialist skills needed to forge them. Bronze was made by using lengths of copper and tin, bunching them together ,and twisting them into a single rod. This was heated in a forge to such high temperatures that it melted into a solid bar. It would then be taken from the forge and hammered to shape. When it cooled down and was shaped and polished the copper and tin left a pattern down the swords blade where they had merged , this was called pattern welding. Further technological advances led to casting the metal to specific shapes, and items. These were treasured heirloom possessions, held in awe by all who saw it, escalating the personal status of the owner. To produce one item in this way was to say the least very time consuming, and very expensive, Bronze was very scarce, so only a select few could own one. It's worth mentioning that in the medieval period a sword would cost the equivalent of a modern day three bedroom house, so it can be seen that only those in a position to afford one ,the elite, could have one. When the technology arrived here for actually producing Bronze the warlords were now unstoppable. Arming themselves, and chosen supporters, they could now exert their will on weaker (unarmed) tribes. Raids on other tribes increased in ferocity now cattle weren't the primary target, but raw materials, such as copper and tin. While some tribes demonstrated their status, showing off their copper brooches etc, they also attracted armed war bands led by the opposing warlords. In past times of sustainable raiding, some were killed defending the herd (they were expected to) but some were left to produce more future booty, now it was not necessary to spare any since it was the metal they came for. War was nothing new , defence was a necessity, but now it had new meaning. Before this time the whole tribe was needed to fight against other invasive tribes, any booty taken being shared equally, now only a select few were necessary, on account of being well armed. From then on things changed. Any booty taken was shared among the Elite's who fought for it. By this time the use of horses had long been established, they were needed to keep control of the vast cattle herds, now they were a controlled commodity of wealth potential every body needed horses, including warlords. Large herds were captured and bred. This created a two-tier class structure within the tribes. The warrior class and the "others". The warriors separated themselves from "common" villagers as much as they could, commoners would do the work the village needed to function, herding the cattle, working the fields ,repairs etc. The warriors would defend it. Most of the warrior's time was spent in the chief's hall planning ever-bigger raids, feasting, and arguing. As raids increased so did the spoils, therefore so did the personal wealth of the elite's. Soon they began moving from the main villages into residences of their own. They had their own wealth and could employ commoners (who were less well off) to work for them. Some of these became warlords themselves. From amongst these warlords one would rise ,usually by might , to become the dominant warlord of a region, an OVERLORD. Strategic gifting to attract support was still practised. Many trusted followers could be bought with the gift of a Bronze sword and the promise of resources and booty to exploit. Chosen from heads of large extended families these followers had their own "retinues". The gift of a sword would be difficult to match leaving the receiver in obligation, he would receive benefits from the raids and a chance of some power as an elite, but would be under obligation to the over lord. One thing the overlords brought was stability, once they'd carved up the land amongst themselves there was nothing left to fight for. Now tribes were amalgamated into bigger tribes, alliances were now not about securing food but mutual protection against the warlords. Competitive feasting still existed, only now only the elite's were invited. Here power games were put in practice, land disputes settled, strategic marriages arranged and all the things that used to occur at gatherings, only commoners weren't involved. Gone were the ecstatic dances which united the clan, they were for entertainment now. The songs and stories began to relate exaggerated exploits of bygone heroes of the clan, not only to sing their praises, but also to impress the rival clans. Heroes were important to the tribe, epic tales were related of their deeds, mostly concerning cattle raids.

Megalithic structures

In Scotland there are a huge variety of carved stones,examples spanning 5000 years of human existance can be found accross the country,from graveyards and village squares to isolated rural locations.They are a valuable source of information on the lives,times and beliefs of those who carved or erected them.There has been much debate over the reasons why the ancient stones we call megaliths were erected. There are numerous examples of these, some solitary, some built together into Dolmens (one stone laid atop two others), or Henges, circles. Long gone people for long gone reasons erected them. Before the pyramids of Egypt were even planned the megaliths were being erected. They were marvels of engineering even by modern day standards, requiring immense skills, manpower and cohesion. To see the structures now we wonder why they always seem to be in remote isolated locations, Callanish on the isle of Lewis, Stonehenge on Salisbury plain. Stories abound about how the druids built them for pagan practices, as temples for their gods etc. The fact is that these structures would have been as enigmatic to the druids (who came with the celts during the iron age) as they are to us, considering the stones were standing over two thousand years before the druids came, the same timespan which separates us from the druids. It has been revealed that the stones do indeed appear to align with solstice and equinoctial sunrises and therefore could be used to gauge the passage of time. At the time they were built vast cattle empires had been firmly established, also had trading. Trading with the continent, and domestically, meant having to undertake perilous journeys over sea and coastal rivers. This being the case a knowledge of the best time to sail was vital. By using stones which align with the solstice sunrise (21 June), people knew what time of the year it was and therefore knew when best to set voyage. They knew of trade winds and the constancy's of nature (March winds , April showers etc) so when the sun rises over a certain part of the structure they knew what weather to expect. The whole surrounding community would benefit from the structure, and would all have contributed to their construction. A great deal of community effort would have been necessary, which would indicate the cohesion or togetherness of those involved. In later times some of the structures were added to and embellished such as Stonehenge. With the growth of the Bronze-age warlords and barons in power, some portrayed their dominance of a region by erecting even bigger grander structures. The fact that some of these were migrant warlords, who dominated by their knowledge of Bronze production, actually embellished and added to the structures, would dismiss their use solely as a religious site. If they were solely religious they would have been destroyed by the invaders, like the later Romans did, not embellished. The structures became huge status symbols, for the region that built them, more so for the local barons, a Bronze-age millennium dome. Cattle droving routes were usually known by land marks such as rivers or hills, in places such as moorland or highlands isolated hills or even boulders could be used as rough guides (go left at the big boulder). In other flatter parts stones would be erected to indicate, not only the route but also good grazing fields and places to camp. Some of these stones have strange cup carvings on them and are known as cup marked stones. Not much is known of their origin.


Early Origins

Our Kirkpatrick ancestors descend from one of the many tribes who inhabited southwest Scotland around 300-400 AD. They were probably part of an earlier migration from Ireland, perhaps to avoid either a famine, or perhaps some dynastic struggle .To understand where this tribe came from, we must explore anthropology ,or the study of population development and migration , as chronicled in the Celtic legends. Contrary to popular belief the legends can oft times be seen as an oral narrative of bygone events. The difference between myths and legends being, myths explained the natural environment, ie: why the sun sets etc, while legends related tales of actual events, (even if they're exaggerated through time). These are not physical written history but remembered from an older type of history - that of oral tradition, or word of mouth, only written down years later by the blessed hand of St Patrick, who, as legend would have it, learned the tales from one Ossian, poet, son of the legendary Finn McCool (Fingal) of whom more anon. Direct bloodlines cannot be accurately placed from these texts, but general people movements can. The Celtic legends come in three main periods, or cycles: the invasion cycle - set in prehistory ,and about the times before maybe during the bronze age 3000 - 500 BC. It relates, in general terms ,how Ireland was populated. A race known as the Firbolgs, lived there( c6000 - 3000BC). Around this time stones were erected ie: Callanish and stonehenge possibly status symbols of a wealthier cattle tribe ,or individual.Legends tell of a strange mist enveloping Ireland for centuries and when it cleared, a strange people appeared ,these were the Danaans, so called because they were followers of Dana (the Earth mother) , accepting natures bounties as they came. They were also a cattle economy, but also seem to have discovered bronze this giving them a technological advantage over the Firbolgs .They held nature in reverence they hunted, and gathered natures fruits they loved art, music, fineries, poetry ,well-made bronze ornaments and utilities, swords etc.. Legends tell that both peoples seem to have met and fallen out over land, possibly over resources. Eventually the Danaans took the whole of Ireland, except Northern Ireland, County Antrim, where the Firbolg ended up. At this time, the Firbolgs began the steady stream of traffic between Ireland and Scotland. So from as early as 6000BC, people have been coming to Scotland and merging with the people already here.. Then came the iron age. The strange mist referred to above, would possibly have been relating to prehistory or unrecorded time, so it means that no one really knows where the Danaans came from or when. Miled brought the Milesians and the iron age. This was the era of the Celts. The Celts were a technolgically advanced race .They also revered nature , but also knew how to exploit the land for resources .They mined for iron ore ,refining it to make Iron. Also mining and producing salt this giving them not only tradable commodities but also a military advantage over other less equipped peoples , They brought sustainable agriculture which means they ploughed up vast areas of field and woodland to grow crops .They were no doubt attracted by the vast acreage of cleared grazing land ,to cultivate. When the Celts came the Danaans were horrified at them for cutting the woods down, ploughing up the fields and desecrating all things that they held sacred (the earth was their mother). They were not a match for the iron age Celts, who were war-loving barbarians to the Danaans, and the Danaans vanished without trace. Some say that by their magical arts, they cast a spell and became invisible to the eyes of mortals and they created an invisible land, maybe inside the land in the hills and lochs.It is more likely they merged with the Celts or headed for the hills, where they were forgotten about for generations. When future generations glimpsed these people in the hills, hysteria and superstition soon fired imaginations , turning them into the fairy folk of popular legend. They feature in the next cycle, the ultonian cycle, as the mystical other world beings. This, then, was the invasion cycle, telling how the iron age Celts came to people Ireland and Scotland The ultonian cycle the - which tells of the coming of the iron age Celts and relates stories about the ancient heroes of the Celts ( or the Milesians, named after their main leader, Miled ), set about the time of Christ.- this describes the history of the Celts. The Celts were also a cattle economy. These were the days of kingdoms rather than a high king, so a country ran as independent mini-kingdoms with constant war with neighbours , and cattle raids considered a part of every day life. They built hill forts or ring forts. This was a round stockade wall surrounding the main buildings (very early castles), they built them generally on hills, either natural feature or man-made. It was to a place such as this that St Patrick was held in captivity (mentioned in St Patrick). It tells of barons or kings of Ulster. Since there were so many kingdoms there were a lot of kings, meaning lots of princes and princesses ( this is the era when most stories you hear "once upon a time in a faraway kingdom lived a princess named .....come from"). They are based around 1000 BC -300AD . The ossianic cycle - set about 3rdC. These relate to the stories, chronicled by Ossian, and written and documented by St Patrick, about the times of Finn McCool and the Fianna (or Fenians), warrior elite defenders of Ulster.- set in the 3rdC when the smaller kingdoms were united under a single or high king. It features Finn McCool and the Fianna. The Fianna were the elite bodyguard and personal army of the high king of Tara (Ireland). The more powerful the high king, Connor Mac Art, the more powerful the Fianna became. Soon they became so powerful that even the king felt threatened. The Fianna were mostly "chosen" from two major tribes or clans - Clan Baiscne and Clan Morna. Their supreme leader was named Finn Mac Cool of the clan baiscne who took over the Fianna after his father, Cool ( cumhail ) his mother being known as Morna , of the white neck she of the clan Morna .His parents marriage cemented relations between the two tribes uniting them. Perhaps this is who the Closeburn Kirkpatricks represented by the swans head and neck of their early crest.(of more anon). A degree of historic accuracy can be taken from the ossianic cycle since it was Finn Mac Cool's son, Ossian, who related the cycle to St Patrick ,himself a very important historic character because we know when he lived ,early 400's . Since records after this era contain his name, we know the dates they are referring to. Before Patrick, time was recorded by how long kings had reigned this was known as the chronology of kings. (i.e. Fergus reigned for 10 years Eric reigned for 20 years before him, Connor reigned for 10 years before him, etc.This was how time was remembered before Patrick.

Copyright 2000, Kirkpatrick MacAndrew Trust