Messages From The Presidents of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Societies

The Clan Donald Society of Edinburgh (1891)

Since the publication of the last number of “Clan Donald Magazine” the Edinburgh Society has celebrated its centenary and continued to carry out a wide variety of engagements up to the present time.

The Society was honoured by the Lord Provost and Council of the City of Edinburgh on 10th May 1991, in recognition of its centenary, with a civic reception which was attended by four chiefs, Lord Macdonald, Sir Ian Macdonald of Sleat, the Chief of Glengarry and the Captain of Clanranald, and over 100 Society members and guests, including Ellice McDonald Jr CBE Hon., Donald S. Macdonald, the Canadian High Commissioner and Ian H. Macdonald OBE, Chairman of the Clan Donald Lands Trust. Donald M. Macdonald, President of the Society thanked the Lord Provost’s representative, Councillor Lazarowicz for the reception, while Ian H. Macdonald presented a quaich to the Council to mark the occasion. A Centenary Dinner and Dance was held the following evening in the Roxburghe Hotel.

On 2nd July 1991, the six weeks voyage of the Aileach, replica Lord of the Isles Galley, from Ireland to the Hebrides was completed when the vessel, with Andrew Macdonald of Boisdale, Clanranald’s second son, who had acted as sailing master throughout the voyage, arrived at Stornoway.

On 13th February 1992, the commemoration of the 300th anniversary of the Massacre of Glencoe began with a requiem in the church of St. Mary’s, Glencoe.

The celebrant was the Most Rev. George K.B. Henderson, Bishop of Argyll, assisted by our member, the Rev. Kenneth E. Wigston, Rector of St. Mary’s. A congregation of around 200 took part in the worship. The congregation proceeded to the bridge at Upper Carnoch, from which the procession set off, in drenching rain, for the Memorial where the wreath-laying ceremony was performed by Lord Macdonald, High Chief of the Clan. Charles MacFarlane, Glenfinnan played the lament: The Massacre of Glencoe on the pipes. The attendance was estimated at around 300 including representatives of the media. The march and ceremony were later shown on television. A plaque to mark the restoration of the monument site was unveiled at a special ceremony the day before by Mr Ellice McDonald, Jr CBE Hon.

In late 1993 the coat-of arms and lettering on the Memorial Cross in Glencoe were restored by Mr Arnold Buret who had been engaged by the Society to carry out this very necessary work of restoration. The cost of this work was met partly by the Glencoe Memorial Maintenance Fund, held by the Society and from private donations as a result of a financial appeal through the Newsletter.

In the spring of 1994, members of the Society met members of the Thome Family Association of Sweden at a joint function in the Roxburghe Hotel. The family are descended from a common ancestor, Thomas, son of Anders Hansson, who, according to the family tradition, was a son of Angus Og, younger brother of Sir James MacDonald of Dunnyveg, last chief of the Clan Donald South.

On 20th August, my wife and I, as Honorary Secretary and President respectively, represented the Society at the Clan Donald Tent at the Glenfinnan Games when the honorary chieftain was Mr Rory MacDonald, Spean Bridge, son of Major Andrew MacDonald of Blarour. The tent had been booked by the Clan Donald Society of Glasgow and was manned by our two societies and members of the Clan Donald Visitor Centre staff.

During the year (1994) an appeal was launched by the Society for funds to enable a full refurbishment of the sandstone monument at the grave of Major General Sir Hector Archibald MacDonald KCB DSO ADC LL.D., in the Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh, to be undertaken. This work was completed in the late autumn and we are pleased to be able to announce that the sandstone obelisk and copper bust of Sir Hector have been restored to their original condition and look most impressive. We wish to thank all those who contributed to the appeal fund and in partiuclarthc President and Directors of Clan Donald Foundation Inc., of the USA, our member Mr Ellice McDonald Jr CBE Hon., of Delaware, USA, the Trustees of the Gordon Highlanders Regimental Museum, Aberdeen and the Trustees of the Invergarry Castle Trust, without whose support the work could not have been carried out. It is hoped that a rededication ceremony will be held in the near future to mark the restoration of this memorial to such a distinguished soldier and member of our clan.

With membership being maintained at a healthy level, we are confident that our Society will continue to flourish.

Norman H. MacDonald

Clan Donald Society of Glasgow

Six years after the celebration of its beginnings with a grand centenary dinner, Glasgow’s Clan Donald Society is unfortunately not without concern about declining membership.

Its office-bearers are encouraged, however, by the fact that such problems have occurred in the past and have not proved fatal. Convinced of the joy that is still to be found in Clan Donald – as in the ancient slogan – members believe there is no reason why the society should not go on from strength to strength.

One of the society’s previous difficult times, indeed was within Live years of its formation – exactly 100 years ago – when enthusiasm for clan affairs was probably at a height seldom equalled since. Whatever the particular trouble at that time, a new impetus arose out of a “resuscitation meeting.”

Within years, the society was in such good heart that it was providing its own monthly publication circulating widely throughout the land and demonstrating publicly every evidence of vigour and strength.

Clan Donald, Glasgow, works towards the possibility of such revivification – although perhaps not expecting it to be an overnight experience.

Angus MacDonald