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TITLE
A 'Birlinn'
EXTERNAL ID
QZP40_1438_P185
DATE OF IMAGE
1831
PERIOD
1830s
SOURCE
Highland Libraries
ASSET ID
31442
KEYWORDS
birlinn
ships
boats
galleys
Aileach
vikings
Somerled
warships
battleships
sails
oars
A 'Birlinn'

At first glance the ship in this picture looks very much like a Viking longship. She is, in fact, a 'birlinn'.

The birlinn design is attributed to Somerled, who is said to be the ancestor of many of the clan chiefs. He modified the Viking design into a more effective fighting ship. This design was common in the Western Isles between the 12th and 16th centuries.

The galley 'Aileach' is a recreation of the ship in the illustration, built by the clan MacDonald and owned by the Lord of the Isles Trust. The 'Aileach' is a 40 foot long, wooden boat with one square sail and can be rowed by 16 people. She is based at the Isles of Glencoe hotel on Loch Leven and has been sailed as far away as the Faroe Isles.

This illustration is taken from 'The Scottish Gael or Celtic Manners' by James Logan

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A 'Birlinn'

1830s

birlinn; ships; boats; galleys; Aileach; vikings; Somerled; warships; battleships; sails; oars

Highland Libraries

Fraser Mackintosh Collection (illustrations)

At first glance the ship in this picture looks very much like a Viking longship. She is, in fact, a 'birlinn'.<br /> <br /> The birlinn design is attributed to Somerled, who is said to be the ancestor of many of the clan chiefs. He modified the Viking design into a more effective fighting ship. This design was common in the Western Isles between the 12th and 16th centuries.<br /> <br /> The galley 'Aileach' is a recreation of the ship in the illustration, built by the clan MacDonald and owned by the Lord of the Isles Trust. The 'Aileach' is a 40 foot long, wooden boat with one square sail and can be rowed by 16 people. She is based at the Isles of Glencoe hotel on Loch Leven and has been sailed as far away as the Faroe Isles.<br /> <br /> This illustration is taken from 'The Scottish Gael or Celtic Manners' by James Logan