[Ir. Airer Goídel, country of the Gael; ScG Oirer Ghaidheal, country of the Gael; or ScG erra Ghaidheal, coastland of the Gael].
Formerly the southernmost county of Gaelic Scotland and closest to Ireland; since 1974 a north-west portion of Strathclyde. It occupies 3,110 square miles, including many islands and narrow peninsulas, nearly all of it mountainous. During Roman times the area was home to a British population called the Epidii or ‘horse people’. The region was once also known as Ergadia. After the 5th century ad the area was overrun with Gaelic settlers from Ireland, who established a kingdom at Dál Riada. One of the richest collections of Scottish Gaelic traditional literature was gathered largely in Argyll:
Archibald Campbell (ed.), The Waifs and Strays in Celtic Tradition (4 vols., London, 1889–91).