"[T]hey also carry heavy battle axes of iron, exceedingly well-wrought and tempered ... in striking with the battle-axe they use only one hand, ... clasping the haft firmly, and raising it above the head, so as to direct the blow with such force that neither the helmets which protect our head, nor the platting of the coat of mail which defends the rest of our bodies, can resist the stroke."

— Gerard of Wales, Topographia Hibernica

Galloglaich Infantry: Vital statistics

Unit type

Heavy infantry

Built/trained at


Damage and weapon type



Production cost

  • Pop cost: 1
  • Resource cost: 165Coin
  • Ramp cost: 6Coin


  • Melee
  • Low LOS

Unit move and creation speed

  • Unit movement speed: Very slow
  • Creation speed: Slow

Unit HP

Rather high

Technological requirements; upgrades

Mercs Militiae
Upgrades to Varangopouloi Axe Retinue for Byzantines

Factions available

French Byzantines Norse
Wales England

Armed with a variety of weapons, the Galloglaich is a unit that combines the fighting spirit of the Celts with a series of alien (well, at least from a Celtic viewpoint) weaponry: heavy axes, which are all imports from an earlier Viking past. Galloglaich exemplify the fighting spirit of Scotland, with their propensity for downing even knights.

This however is balanced by two drawbacks. Firstly, they cost astronomical amounts of wealth making them available only for the most loaded of patrons. Secondly, unlike normal Scots Cliarthaire which can be upgraded to Sciltron Infantry, Galloglaich Infantry can never be upgraded (except for the Byzantines), and their statistics will remain the same for the entire game. Still, their training speed usually means that as mercenaries go, Galloglaich are a fairly solid bet whenever someone wishes to raise heavy infantry units at moment's notice. Galloglaich are not merely found in the pay of the British, but have also found homes with the Norse and the French, and can also be found ranging as far as Byzantium.

Vikings didn't merely make their reputation as cunning traders or ferocious self-serving pirates, but were also willing to fight for others if it served their interests to do so. As such, they and their children eventually settled down and served as mercenaries for a variety of leaders in different capacities in a wide number of European areas for an equally variegated roster of masters: the Irish Sea, the Black Sea, the Baltic, and, much later, in the Mediterranean — those who went east often wound up in Slavic druzhinas; Normans served as shock cavalry in France, England and Italy; while galloglaich in Ireland and Scotland preferred heavy axes (but switched to two-handers later at the onset of the Modern Era).

Yet, perhaps most famous of all Viking Mercenaries must be the Varangoi or Varangian Guard, picked for their bravery and their loyalty (which lasted as long as the Byzantines had sufficient money to pay them), being known as men who "cheerfully hacked" their foes to pieces. Not all Varangoi were Norse, however — there is some evidence to show that non-Norse peoples who nevertheless had the same propensity as Norse-born warriors were also admitted into their ranks, such as Anglo-Saxon nobles deposed by Normans in the 11th and 12th centuries.

Unit summaryEdit

  • Heavy mercenary infantry unit, more than capable of fighting mounted forces — possibly the best mercenary infantry unit for the entire game and available to the French, Welsh, Norse and Byzantines.


Although considered as "heavy axemen", the versions of Galloglaich used by the northern factions — France, Wales, England and Denmark — "upgrade" to heavy swords in the Imperial Era.

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