Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Goidels, a group of ancient Celtic tribes who settled in Ireland in the fourth century B.C. By mixing with the native pre-Indo-European population, the Gaels began the formation of the Irish people. In the fifth to the sixth century A.D. part of the Gaels migrated to Scotland, where they took part along with the Picts in the formation of the Scottish nationality. The name “Gaels” is still used for the ethnic group that inhabits the mountainous regions of northern Scotland and the Hebrides Islands. Their population is about 100,000 (1970, estimate). Present-day Gaels ordinarily speak Gaelic (Scottish Gaelic), but almost all of them know English as well. The most common religious affiliations are Presbyterian and Catholic. The principal occupation is the raising of livestock.