Martyn's first composition for wind band "Dal Riada", or Dál Riata (as it was called in Ireland), is named after the Gaelic kingdom that originated from what is now known as Ulster in Northern Ireland.
Sometime after 350 A.D., invading Gaels raided and settled on the west coast of Pictland thus forming the Gaelic colony of Dal Riada.
The people of Dal Riada were known as ‘Gaels’ and named their settled lands ‘Oirer Ghaideal’ (Ar-Gael or Argyll), meaning ‘coastland of the Gael’. They were intent on forming a new kingdom separate from that on Éire and so the Gaels commonly favoured the name ‘Scots’ instead, meaning brigand or pirate.
In the year 500 A.D., King Fergus MacErc, along with his two brothers Lorne and Angus, lead a fresh invasion from Éire. He created a new dynasty and established the rock fortress of Dunadd as the Scottish capital of Dal Riada. This king also brought the tribal traditions of Éire. One such tradition was to parcel out the lands to families. These families were called ‘tuath"’or ‘cinel’, which meant ‘kindred’ or ‘clann’. He is also credited with bringing the ‘Stone of Destiny’ from Éire to the religious island of Iona. Dalriada was now a recognised kingdom instead of just a settlement.
In 574 A.D., the Picts briefly took control of Argyll, but they were forced out by a new Irish King named Aidan Mac Gabhráin. He built a strong navy and waged aggressive war raiding as far as the Isle of Man and the Orkney Islands. Dal Riada became even more powerful and ruled the sea-lanes between the two isles. However, in 603 A.D., Anglo forces defeated the Dal Riada army in the south. In 637 A.D., Dal Riada was also defeated by the High King of Éire (Uí Néill) because Dal Riada would not pay tribute to the Irish High King.
It was finally the Vikings who ended Dal Riada's control of the sea. The kingdom of Dal Riada was finally overrun by the Picts but not destroyed. Instead, the lands of Argyll became a subservient territory to the Pictish King while the name of Dal Riada was all but lost...but not forgotten.