The Head of the Table

Ruins of Finlaggan Castle, former stronghold of the MacDonald Lords of the Isles, on Eilean Mór on Loch Finlaggan, Islay.
Ruins of Finlaggan Castle, former stronghold of the MacDonald Lords of the Isles, on Eilean Mór on Loch Finlaggan, Islay.

The Chief of the Macdonalds happening to be in Ireland, was invited to an entertainment given by the Lord-Lieutenant. He chanced to be among the last that came in, and set himself at the foot of the table near the door. The Lord-Lieutenant asked him to come and sit beside him, and Macdonald, who had no English, inquired “What the Carle said?” He bids you move towards the head of the table, was the answer. “Tell the Carle,” (replied the Chief indignant that the dinner had not been kept back till his arrival), “that wherever Macdonald sits, that is the ‘head of the table’.” An Account of the Highland Society of London, 1813.

Port an Eilein

Finlaggan Castle is a ruined fortified house located on the isle of Eilean Mór on Loch Finlaggan, Islay, Scotland. It was once a residence and stronghold of Lord of the Isles and Clan MacDonald. Built in the 13th century, with masonry walls, possibly built on the remains of an earlier Iron Age fort. The Lords of the Isles used the castle a principal court. Iain Mor MacDonald, 3rd of Dunnyveg and his son Iain Cathanach MacDonald were taken prisoner at Finlaggan Castle, through the deception of Macian of Ardnamurchan for the hanging and execution of the governor of Dunaverty Castle and were later tried and hung on the Burgh Muir, Edinburgh. In 1541 Finlaggan was held from the Crown by Donald MacGilleasbuig. The castle appears to have been demolished in the 15th-16th century.
Finlaggan Castle is a ruined fortified house located on the isle of Eilean Mór on Loch Finlaggan, Islay, Scotland. It was once a residence and stronghold of the Lords of the Isles and Clan Donald. Built in the 13th century, with masonry walls, possibly atop the remains of an earlier Iron Age fort. The Lords of the Isles used the castle a principal court. Iain Mor MacDonald, 3rd of Dunnyveg and his son Iain Cathanach MacDonald were taken prisoner at Finlaggan Castle, through the deception of MacIan of Ardnamurchan for the hanging and execution of the governor of Dunaverty Castle and were later tried and hung on the Burgh Muir, Edinburgh. In 1541 Finlaggan was held from the Crown by Donald MacGilleasbuig. The castle appears to have been demolished in the XV-XVI century.