The Laird of Achallader and MacIntyre

Ruin of Achallader Castle. The castle formerly rose to three storeys and a garret, well defended by shot-holes. Now only two walls, one with a trace of corbelling, remain, sheltering the farm buildings of Achallader Farm.
Ruin of Achallader Castle. The castle formerly rose to three storeys and a garret, well defended by shot-holes. Now only two walls, one with a trace of corbelling, remain, sheltering the farm buildings of Achallader Farm.

DUNCAN BÀN was forester in the upper part of Glenlochy (Gleann-lòcha). Achallader removed him thence, and put a friend of his own in his place. The bard was of course much offended, and consequently composed a bitter satirical song to his successor. This offended Achallader, who was resolved somehow to punish Duncan for it. Duncan Bàn attended Killin (Cillfhinn) fair, and Achallader saw him, struck him hard with his staff, and said to him —

“Make a song to that!”

“Well, Sir Achallader,” rejoined the bard, “I will do that, sir, as you have asked me to do so.”

Achallader was a thin, slender, ill-favoured, ill-formed man, and he squinted. Duncan sang extemporarily the following song:–

“Bha mi latha ‘siubhal sraid,
‘S fhuair mi tàmailt ro mhòr;
‘S ann o fhear na h-amhaich caoile —
‘S e Iain claon an Achaidh-mhòir.
“I was one day walking a street,
And a great insult I received;
‘Twas from the man of the thin neck —
Squint-eyed John of Achamore!
Fear crot-shuileach — haothaill-hothainn
Fear geoc-shuileach — hòthaill eo:
Gur coltach thu — haothaill-hothainn
Ri crochadair — hòthaill ò.”
A skew-eyed fellow — hooill-hothin —
A wry-eyed fellow — hohill yaw:
How like is he — hooill-hothin —
To a hangman — hohill aw.”

Written down as given by Catherine MacFarlane already mentioned.

HECTOR MACLEAN.

BALLYGRANT, ISLAY, November 23, 1883.

— Supplied by Mr. Hector MacLean, Ballygrant, Islay; Lord Archibald Campbell’s Records of Argyll (1885).

Donnchadh Bàn nan Òrain

Monument to Duncan Bàn MacIntyre, Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh.
Monument to Duncan Bàn MacIntyre, Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh.

Your kindly slope, with bilberries and blaeberries, studded with cloudberries that are round-headed and red; wild-garlic clusters in the corners of the rock terraces, and abounding tufted crags; the dandelion and pennyroyal, and the soft white bog-cotton and sweet-grass there on every part of it, from the lowest level to where the peaks are at the topmost edge. Fine is the clothing of Craig Mhór — there is no coarse grass for you there, but moss saxifrage of the juiciest covering it on this side and on that; the level hollows at the foot of the jutting rocks, where primroses and delicate daisies grow, are leafy, grassy, sweet and hairy, bristly, shaggy — every kind of growth there is. There is a shady fringe of green water-cresses around every spring that is in its lands, a sorrel thicket at the base of the rough rocks, and sandy gravel crushed small and white; gurgling and plunging, coldly boiling, in swirls of water from the foot of the smooth falls, the splendid streams with their blue-braided tresses come dashing and spirting in a swerving gush…

— Scots-Gaelic; Duncan Bàn MacIntyre (Donnchadh Bàn Mac an t-Saoir); 1724-1812;
A. Macleod, The  Songs of Duncan Ban Macintyre (Edinburgh, 1952), pp. 166-8.