Seals of the Burghs of Argyll

CAMPBELTOWN is built on what was originally the seat of the Dalriadan monarchy. About the middle of the third century Cormac, King of Ireland, quelled a dispute which had arisen between two tribes, and during this civil war Cormac’s cousin, Cairbre-Riada, conquered a district in the north-east of Ireland, which he called Dalriada, or the […]

One Red Rose

Charter under the Great Seal by King James III. to Colin Earl of Argyll, of the keeping of the Castle of Dunoon in Cowall.—18 Jan. 1472. Jacobus Dei gratia Rex Scotorum Omnibus probis hominibus tocius terre sue clericis et laicis salutem. Sciatis quod commisimus, et tenore presentium committimus dilecto consanguineo nostro Colino Comiti de Ergile, […]

“Claw for Claw”

“Claw for claw,” as St Conan said to the devil. The expression “blow for blow” occurs in Waverley, and in a note the following explanation is given of it. In the Irish ballads relating to Fingal, or Fion, there occurs, as in the primitive poetry of most nations, a cycle of heroes, each of whom […]

The Witch of Keil

This old lady is introduced to us by Mr. F. A. Mackay, in his poem of “The Heir of Lorn.” Moila was her name, and she lived at the beginning of the thirteenth century, though she was popularly supposed to have seen Fingal in his prime, and her wrinkled and tremendously aged face seemed, literally, […]

In the Name of the Duke of Argyll

On the dark nights of winter, when folks circle round the cheery fire, and by turns amuse or frighten each other with legendary lore and ghost stories, there is one name which hardly ever fails to make the listener’s blood creep, even if it does not cause his hair to to stand on end—and that […]

Kintyre Prophecy

When the mole shall reach the Mull: when the thorn tree near Inveraray shall be destroyed; when a road shall be made throughout the country; when bells shall ring from a rock in Loch Fyne; when Strone Point, near Inveraray, shall be covered with wood, high enough to conceal an invading army: and when the […]

Highland Wit and Humour

HIGHLAND WIT AND HUMOUR. By “Fionn.” A HIGHLAND boy went with his mother to Inverness to get his first pair of boots. Returning home with his boots slung round his neck, and feeling as proud as a chief, he paid little attention to his steps. Suddenly he struck his big toe against a stone with […]

A Contentious and Offensive Neighbour

Inveraray, 4th November, 1747.—The Magistrats considering that Mary Semple, spouse to William Smith, soldier, did lately, when called before them to answer for immoral practices, shew the utmost contempt of their authority by giving very abusive language and resisting their officers and having also learnt from several of the inhabitants of this place that the […]

Strangled by a Silken Cord

Monday, 25th October [1773].—My acquaintance, the Rev. Mr. John M’Aulay, one of the ministers of Inverary, and brother to our good friend at Calder, came to us this morning, and accompanied us to the castle, where I presented Dr. Johnson to the Duke of Argyle. We were shown through the house; and I never shall forget the impression made upon my fancy by some of the ladies’ maids tripping […]

The Black-Meal

The Imposition mentioned in that Memorial commonly called the Black Meal is levyed by the Highlanders on almost all the Low Country bordering thereon. But as it is equally Criminal by the Laws of Scotland to pay this Exaction or to Extort it, the Inhabitants to avoid the Penalty of the Laws, agree with the Robbers, or some of their Correspondents in the Lowlands to protect their Horses and Cattle, who are in effect but their Stewards or Factors, and as long as this payment continues, the Depredations cease upon their Lands, […]

Highland Virtues

Their Notions of Virtue and Vice are very different from the more civilized part of Mankind. They think it a most Sublime Virtue to pay a Servile and Abject Obedience to the Commands of their Chieftans, altho’ in opposition to their Sovereign and the Laws of the Kingdom, and to encourage this, their Fidelity, they […]

Song of the Highland Clans

Oran Nam Fineachan Gaidhealach. Alasdair mac Mhaighstir Alasdair A chomuinn rìoghail rùnaich Sàr-ùmhlachd thugaibh uaibh, Biodh ur roisg gun smùirnein, ‘S gach cridh’ gun treas gin lùib ann; Deoch-slàinte Sheumais Stiùbhairt Gu mùirneach cuir mu’n cuairt! Ach ma ta giamh air bith ‘nur stamaig, A’ chailis naomh na truaill. Lìon deoch-slàinte Theàrlaich, A mheirlich! stràic […]