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The Lion Rampant

 

St Moluag's Abbey of Lismore in Alba

In the sixth century Lismore was heavily wooded and was the sacred burial island of the Picts.  Moluag was presented by Saint Comgall of the Dál nAraidi, another Irish Pict, to King Brude of the Northern Picts to obtain his authority for the mission.  There is no history or record of Moluag obtaining authority from the King of Dalriada, especially as Brude had given  the Dalriads a drubbing in 560.  Lismore was very much on the borders of Dalriada. 

Many argue that, as a Pict, Brude would have welcomed Moluag and it is clear that he was given considerable freedom to operate in the Pict kingdom.  However as a noble of the Ui Eachach Cobha, a branch of the Dál n’Araidhe, Moluag would also have been on friendly terms with the Dalriads and the Tribe of Loarn would probably have treated him as kin.  He was therefore in an excellent position to act as an ambassador.

St Moluag was the founder of one hundred monasteries, and as the founder he had absolute jurisdiction over these monasteries ‘acknowledging no earthly authority or hierarchy’.  Many of these were in Pict territory, such as Clova and Alyth.

Although there appears to have been some skirmishing over territory, there was considerable inter marriage between the Picts and Scots.  For instance Gabhran macDomangairt of Argyle was married to Ingenach (Lleian) (Luan), daughter of Brychan, King of Brechin or Brecheiniog in Forfarshire.  As the Picts observed matrilineal succession and the Scots patrilineal tanist succession the two systems seemed to exist moderately comfortably together until the kingdoms were finally joined by Kenneth Mac Alpin of the Cinel Gabhran.

Last updated 22 May, 2008