While I was walking around the clan tents at the Scottish Highland Games the year Braveheart hit the theatres, I saw this great poster outside the Wallace Clan tent. They had a life size image of Mel Gibson dressed up as William Wallace and the poster said, “You’ve seen the movie, now party with the real thing!” That’s very indicative of many of us modern day Scottish Highlanders. Without any battles to fight to prove our warrior prowess and bravery, we tend to focus that martial intensity on partying and motorcycling. If you stop by the Clan Donnachaidh (that’s pronounced dona-key for all you lowlanders) tent at the Highland Games, you’ll swear it is staffed by a biker gang due to all the tattoos, piercings and biker garb.
As I learned about my own clan, I found a bit of everything: fierce battles, royalty, love, treachery and betrayal. The ancestors of the “Children of Duncan” were known to the Romans as the Kaledonioi and they fought in the great battle known as Mons Graupius against the Romans in the year 84 A.D. An ancestor, Kenneth MacAlpine, united the Scots and the Picts in 843 A.D. and is considered the founder of Scotland. The Clan descends from King Malcolm II who reigned from 1005 to 1034. His son, King Duncan I, was killed by MacBeth, a first cousin of Shakespearian fame. The son of King Duncan I, Malcolm III, killed MacBeth and took the throne in 1057. His wife was revered as St. Margaret of Scotland. When the male line of the royal house ended in 1286, Scotland was plunged into the famous wars of succession.
The Clan’s first Chief was Donnachaidh Reamhair, or “Stout Duncan”, and he led the Clan in support of Robert the Bruce which culminated in Bruce’s famous victory at Bannockburn in 1314 over Edward II’s army.
The Clan war cry “Garg’n Uair Dhuisgear” is Gaelic for “Fierce when roused” which is especially true after several ales have been consumed…or is that “fierce when aroused”? Ah, you better ask my wife about that. I don’t quite recall. Must be all those microbrews…
Our Clan crest badge was awarded by King James II in 1451 as a reward for capturing the assassins of King James I in 1437.
So three guys enter a pub, an Englishman, a Scotsman and an Irishman. They each order a stout which is soon placed before them. Before either of them can take their first drink, three fat flies zoom over and land right in their stouts, one in each glass. The Englishman exclaims, “I can’t possibly drink that now!” and pushes the glass away. The Scotsman shrugs, fishes the fly out of his stout, tosses it aside and takes a huge drink. The Irishman plucks the fly from his stout and firmly addresses it, “Spit it out! Come on now!” */:-)