The Dalriadain or Dalriads, also known as the Gael or Scots, are a British tribe of western Scotland, originally from Ireland. They are sometimes included in the group of tattooed tribes called the Picts or Painted People.

Timeline Edit

  • c. 130 CE (The Mark of the Horse Lord) – Dalriadain conquer Earra-Ghyl, absorb The Epidii
  • 2nd generation (TMOTHL) – Horse Lord marries Caledone princess
  • 3rd gen (TMOTHL) – Liadhan seizes power from nephew
  • c. 180s (TMOTHL) – Phaedrus seizes power from Liadhan
  • 290s (The Silver Branch) – Evicatos of the Spear lives in exile among the Picts
  • 340s (Frontier Wolf) – About half of Frontier Scouts are Dalriads.
  • 599 CE (The Shining Company) – Aidan of Strathclyde sends envoys to Dyn Eidin.

The Mark of the Horse Lord (180s CE)Edit

The Dalriadain are a tribe of horse and cattle herders originally from Ireland who conquered the west coast and islands of Scotland, now called Earra-Ghyl, the Coast of the Gael, three generations earlier and intermarried with the Epidii inhabitants. Their first king married the Royal Woman of the Epidii, and his son both a princess of the Caledones and a Gael woman.

Though the Dalriadain are a patrilineal tribe who worship the sun god Lugh of the Shining Spear, they have been ruled for the last seven years by Liadhan, the half-Caledone sister of the late hereditary Horse Lord, Levin, whose son Midir she had blinded and disqualified for the kingship. The current king is her seven-year consort Logiore, who is due to be ritually killed and replaced by her half-nephew Conory at Midwinter, according to the matrilinear Old Ways which she and her sympathisers have imposed. Her heir is her daughter Murna by her first husband.

The Dalriadain are a Pict tribe who tattoo their male warriors at their initiation ceremony sometime in their mid-teens, called Taking Valor, which takes place at the Place of Life, a burial mound. Dalriad women, though they fight as reserves, are not described as tattooed or initiated, and men who are not warriors, such as Sinnoch the Merchant, are explicitly not marked. The hereditary king, the Horse Lord, receives a four-lobed forehead tattoo called the Royal Flower in childhood and is crowned on the Rock of the Footprint in their Citadel at Dun Monaidh.

The Silver Branch (293-5)Edit

Evicatos of the Spear, a hunter living among the Picts (here explicitly contrasted with the Dalriads), was exiled by the king at sixteen years old for killing a man at the three-year clan Gathering. He wears fewer tattoos than the Picts and is taller and fairer, and is said to be originally from Ireland.

Frontier Wolf (342 CE)Edit

The Dalriads are one of the four tribes from whom the Frontier Wolves recruit locally (along with the Votadini, Damnonii, and Selgovae.)

  • (3) 'There's kinship between us, of course; half our men are locally recruited – younger sons for the most part – and the rest are mostly Dalriads from the north-west over beyond the Wall, close kin to the Attacotti.'
  • (4) "the Dalriads among them claimed that to drown kittens was unlucky."
  • (4) 'The Bull Calves has private meanings for the Dalriads and the Votadini. That's why the keep clear of that particular dance – when they're sober.'
  • (4) 'What's happening?' 'The Dalriads and the Votadini trying to murder each other again, Sir.'
  • (4) 'A cattle raiding story, maybe? Nay then, I do not ask; it is a thing between the Votadini and the Dalriads, and I who am of neither people have no right to know.'
  • (5) [re: Votadini raiding] 'Sometimes word come drifting in on the wind, of an especially fine horse in the runs of the Damnonii, or even of the Dalriads. . .'
  • (12) "Inside the Family, the men of the Votadini and Dumnoni, Selgovae and Dalriads, lived and fought and drank together, and in death were buried together, nothing counting but that they were Frontier Wolves. But outside the Family it was another thing altogether. The Dalriads among his men would not take kindly to one of themselves being laid in a common grave with men and women of the Selgovae who made their dance-prayers to to gods with different names and different faces."

The Shining Company (599 CE) Edit

The kingdom of Dalriada, ruled by Aidan of Strathclyde, sends envoys to Dyn Eidin to be persuaded to join Mynyddog's cause, and the envoy demands a show of the Company's esprit de corps by having two men catch a third running towards the cliff called Epona's Leap. Prosper is chosen as a runner with Faelinn as his catcher, and Prosper's evident fear of what Faelinn might do pays off their old score (12).

  • "He's a warlord more than a king; and his wars are glorified cattle raids, whether he goes against the Saxon kind or his neighbours." (12).


  • Aidan of Strathclyde
  • Aluin Bear's Paw
  • Andragius
  • Baruch the Grass Snake
  • Brys
  • Cathal
  • Comgal
  • Conall
  • Conory
  • Cuirithir
  • Dergdian
  • Diamid
  • Domingart
  • Ferdia
  • Finn
  • Gallgoid the Charioteer
  • Gault the Strong
  • Grania
  • Levin of the Long Sword
  • Liadhan
  • Loarne
  • Logiore
  • Lorwen
  • Midir Mac Levin
  • Murna
  • Murna's father
  • Nial Mac Cairbre
  • Oscair Mac Maelchwn
  • Sinnoch the Merchant
  • Sinnoch's mother
  • Struan
  • Tuathal the Wise
  • Tyrnon
  • Evicatos of the Spear