Ailean nan Sop

Ailean nan Sop is a noted character from Scottish Gaelic folklore. He was the second son of Lachlan Catanach MacLean by his wife Marian, and brother of Hector Mór. He was called Allen o' the Wisp or Allen of the Straws because he set fire to buildings with straw.

Many legends have been told about him, among which that his birth was delayed by twenty-four months by the jealous wife of his father; because of this he was born with a full set of teeth. The best known legend is that related by Sir Walter Scott in his Tales of a Grandfather, though it is wrong in several essential particulars.

Ailean died in 1551 and was buried at Iona.



  • MacKillop, James. (2004). Dictionary of Celtic Mythology. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.
  • MacLean, J.P. (1889). A history of the Clan MacLean. Cincinnati: Robert Clarke & Co., pp. 88-90.