[Ir. gall, foreigner, esp. Norseman; óglach, youth, warrior].
Foreign soldiers in Irish service from medieval to early modern times, characteristically heavily armed. Although their name implies Norse origin, they more likely came from Norse-influenced areas in the Hebrides and Gaelic Scotland. Although their often humdrum existence is attested to in numerous Irish records, their lives have been the focus of romantic fiction; see Howard Breslin, The Gallowglass (New York, 1958).
Subjects: European History — Religion.