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Argyllshire

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Argyllshire

This article is about the Scottish region. For other uses, see Argyll (disambiguation).
Argyll
County (until circa 1890)
Country Scotland
County town Inveraray
Area
 • Total 8,055 km2 (3,110 sq mi)
  Ranked 2nd
Chapman code ARL


Argyll (/ɑrˈɡl/), archaically Argyle (Earra-Ghàidheal in modern Gaelic pronounced [ˈaːr̴əɣɛː.əɫ̪]), is a region of western Scotland corresponding with most of ancient Dál Riata, which was located on the island of Great Britain.

In a historical context, Argyll can be used to mean the entire western coast between the Mull of Kintyre and Cape Wrath. Argyll (sometimes anglified as Argyllshire) is a registration county of Scotland.

Between 1890 and 1975, Argyll was a county for local government purposes. Argyll was also a medieval bishopric with its cathedral at Lismore, as well as an early modern earldom and dukedom, the Dukedom of Argyll.

There was an Argyllshire constituency of the Parliament of Great Britain until the mid-20th century.

Etymology

The name derives from Old Gaelic airer Goídel (border region of the Gaels). The early thirteenth-century author of De Situ Albanie explains that "the name Arregathel means margin (i.e., border region) of the Scots or Irish, because all Scots and Irish are generally called Gattheli (i.e. Gaels), from their ancient warleader known as Gaithelglas."

However, the word airer naturally carries the meaning of the word 'coast' when applied to maritime regions, so the placename can also be translated as "Coast of [the] Gaels". Woolf has suggested that the name Airer Goídel replaced the name Dál Riata when the 9th-century Norse conquest split Irish Dál Riata and the islands of Alban Dál Riata off from mainland Alban Dál Riata. The mainland area, renamed Airer Goídel, would have contrasted with the offshore islands of Innse Gall, literally "islands of the foreigners." They were referred to this way because during the 9th to 12th centuries, they were ruled by Norse-speaking Gall-Gaels.[1]

Geography

Argyll's neighbouring counties are Inverness-shire, Perthshire, Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, Ayrshire and Bute. Renfrewshire and Ayrshire are the other side of the Firth of Clyde. Bute is a county of islands in the firth.

The Small Isles of Muck/Muick, Rum/Rhum, Canna and Sanday were part of the county, until they were transferred to Inverness-shire in 1891 by the boundary commission appointed under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889. (The island of Egg/Eigg was already in Inverness-shire).

Council


The use of the County of Argyll for local government purposes ceased in 1975 with its Administrative section transferred between the District Council Regions of Highland and Strathclyde.

A local government council district called Argyll and Bute was formed in the Strathclyde region, including most of Argyll and the Isle of Bute.

The Ardnamurchan, Ardgour, Ballachulish, Duror, Glencoe, Kinlochleven and Morvern council areas of Argyll were detached to become part of Lochaber Council District, in Highland. They remained in Highland following the 1996 revision.

In 1996 a new unitary council area of Argyll and Bute was created, with a change to boundaries to include part of the former Strathclyde district of Dumbarton.

Constituency

There was an Argyllshire constituency of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1708 to 1801 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1983 (renamed Argyll in 1950). The Argyll and Bute constituency was created when the Argyll constituency was abolished.

Towns and villages

Inveraray was historically the county town and is still the seat of the Duke of Argyll. Lochgilphead later claimed to be the county town, as the seat of local government for the county from the nineteenth century. Neither town was the largest settlement geographically or in terms of population. Argyll's largest towns were (and are) Oban, Dunoon and Campbeltown.

Civil parishes

Civil parishes are still used for some statistical purposes, and separate census figures are published for them. As their areas have been largely unchanged since the 19th century, this allows for comparison of population figures over an extended period of time.


Notable residents

Clans

  • Clan_Lamont historically both allied and feuded with the Campbell clan, culminating in the Dunoon Massacre. In the 19th century, the clan chief sold his lands and relocated to Australia, where the current chief lives.

In fiction

  • Rosemary Sutcliff's novel The Mark of the Horse Lord (1965) is set in Earra Gael, i.e. the Coast of the Gael, wherein the Dal Riada undergo an internal struggle for control of royal succession, and an external conflict to defend their frontiers against the Caledones.
  • The highlands above the village of Lochgoilhead were used for a scene in the 1963 film From Russia with Love, starring Sean Connery as James Bond. He killed two villains in a helicopter by firing gunshots at them.
  • The 1985 Scottish movie Restless Natives also used Lochgoilhead to film a chase scene, as well as some roads just outside the village.

See also

  • List of counties of Scotland 1890-1975

Notes

References

Further reading

  • Vol. I. page 78, by Rev. John Marius Wilson.

External links

  • (1963), IMDB

Coordinates: 56°15′N 5°15′W / 56.250°N 5.250°W / 56.250; -5.250

External links

  • Argyll.org – Argyll Independent Visitor Information
  • - Argyll and Argyle Visitor Information
  • - visitor information for Inveraray, Tarbert, Knapdale, Crinan and Lochgilphead
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