The Dal Riada were a collection of tribes that congregated and formed an over kingdom in Northern Ireland, but from as early as the third century, and especially during the late fifth century there began a steady settlement of the adjacent coastal and island areas of Scotland. They were referred to as Dal Riada Scots. The kingdom prospered even though separated by 8 miles of water. It was easier to cross the water than the rugged land of Ireland.
The Scottish part of the tribal kingdom of Dal Riada was known as Argyll which means “coastland of the Gaels,” for by this time the population of Ireland and Scotland had solidified Gaelic as their common Celtic language. They remained fairly isolated from the eastern parts of Scotland by mountains, and remained a cohesive part of the kingdom. and eventually receiving their Irish kindred as the Scottish kingdom grew.
About A.D. 500 the kings of Dal Riada took up permanent residence in the Argyll, with the center of business and culture in Kilmartin. They continued to trade and interact extensively with Ireland for the next 400 years.
With the encroachment of the Vikings in the ninth century, the Kingdom was cut off from their Irish collateral kinsmen in Antrim, particularly several powerful families like the O’Quinns, O’Brien’s, and O’Neill’s. However, many (now) Scotsmen, like the Tribe of Marr, returned to Ireland to fight as mercenaries, and many remained.
The chief kindreds of the Dal Riada of Argyll, the Cineal Loairn and the Cineal nGabrain, soon spread into much of Scotland with the uniting of their kingdom and the Kingdom of the Picts.
The Cineal Loairn derive their descent from Loam, son of Erc, a king of Dal Riada in the fifth century. They originally inhabited the present districts of Loin (named for them) and Mull, with the adjacent mainland and island territory to the north and west. This territory comprised the northern part of Scottish Dal Riada, and when the time came for expansion, the Cineal Loairn migrated up the Great Glen. The chief kindred branches of the Cineal Loaimn were the Clann Duibhne, or Campbells, the MacGillivrays and Maclnneses.
The Cineal Baodan was comprised of MacLeans, the MacNaughtens, the MacNabs, the Clan Chattan, and the Carnerons, MacGillonies, MacMartins and MacSorleys.