Friday, 29 August 2014

Clan MacIain - New Website

The Diary has featured a number of histories, particularly of the small townships which are scattered across West Ardnamurchan - there are links to these in the right-hand column of the blog.  The histories extend back to the 17th century, but researching anything older becomes increasingly difficult.

Despite this, we've set up a website which attempts to dig into a much earlier history, that of Clan MacIain.  Sometimes called the MacDonalds of Ardnamurchan to distinguish them from the MacIains of Glencoe, the MacIains occupied Ardnamurchan from about 1314 until about 1625, with Mingary Castle their clan seat.  In that time, they went from being a minor sept of the MacDonald Lords of the Isles to being one of the most powerful players in the region - and then fell to a point where the clan was little more than a bunch of pirates hiding on Ardnamurchan's north coast.

Although long gone from the peninsula, the MacIains have left evidence of their time here, for example in some geographical names: the lochan in the top photo is Lochan Tom Mhic Iain, Tom Mhic Iain being the low hill to the right in the photo.  These features are just west of the Kilmory turn.

As another example, much of the structure of St Comghan's Church in Kilchoan dates back to MacIain times and perhaps even earlier - and there are MacIain grave slabs in its churchyard.

The website was set up in the knowledge that descendants of the MacIains - McCains, Mackeans, Mackeens, MacIans and others - might have a particular interest, using it as a way of connecting to their ancestral homeland.  We hope that they, in particular, enjoy the site.

The MacIain site is at

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