One of the largest Scottish clans, Clan Donald, once controlled lands and waterways in the west highlands and Hebrides. Their ancient chiefs were known as the ‘Lord of the Isles’. The clan has a rich history, and their chief was one of the most powerful lords in all the British Isles, after the kings of England and Scotland. The title dates back to before the Kingdom of Scotland’s era, and their territory included coastal areas such as the Hebrides (Skye & Ross in 1438), Knoydart, Ardnamurchan & the Kintyre Peninsula.
Throughout the centuries, the clan played a major role in wars. Aonghus Óg supported Robert Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, pleasing King Robert who swore they would always occupy the right wing on Scots army battles. In 1493, John MacDonald forfeited estates/titles to James IV, resulting in the current Lord of the Isles – Prince Charles being the Duke of Rothesay and heir apparent to Britain’s throne. The only remaining possession is the tiny island of Cara off Kintyre, owned by the MacDonald Largie family today!
Every year, the clan organizes the High Chiefs Tour with visits to the Edinburgh Royal Highland Show and other sites, including Glencoe – the saddest place for them because 38 clan members betrayed and killed government troops in 1692, despite hosting them earlier. Other places to visit include Finlaggan Castle in Islay, Queen of the Hebrides, eight whisky distilleries located there, Armadale Castle in Skye with ruins and 1500 years of history, the Museum of the Isles library archive nearby, Culloden Battlefield – the site of the 1745/46 uprisings, a stone bearing the clan’s name amongst the Jacobites, and a memorable audio-visual experience visitor center in Inverigan. Enjoy the beauty of the glens, stunning mountains, waterfalls, and lochs, which far outshine the tragic events that happened here in the past!
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