If you have been fortunate enough to visit the Isle of Skye you may have made a trip to the Clan Donald Estate and Armadale Castle. This estate in South Skye covers 20,000 acres and is open to the public. It offers the fantastic opportunity to explore some of the breath taking scenery in Skye including the Estates Historic Gardens and woodland. It is also home to the Museum of the Isles where you can discover the history of the surrounding area and follow the journey of Clan Donald from the Medieval times to present day.

About Clan Donald

The story of Clan Donald is at the heart of the history of Gaeldom. The first mention of the Clan begins with the legendary hero, Somerled, fighting the Norse in 1156 to establish his kingdom and then forming an allegiance with Norway through marriage to the daughter of Olaf, King of Man. Poised between the King of Scots and the King of Norway, the Lordship of the Isles grew into one of the greatest examples of medieval Celtic culture. Somerled’s grandson Donald gave his name, MacDonald (Son of Donald) to the powerful dynasty that led the Lordship for three and a half centuries. The Chief of Clan Donald remained ‘Lord of the Isles’ until 1493 when the Lordship was forfeited to the Scottish Crown. The ideal of the Lordship lived on though, inspiring Jacobean poets who celebrated the memory of Gaelic nationhood. donald clan crest
Motto – By Land and By Sea
Clan Donald or MacDonald has numerous branches including Clan Macdonald of Sleat, Clan Macdonald of Clanranald, Clan MacDonell of Glengarry, Clan MacDonald of Keppoch, the Macdonnells of Antrim, Clan MacIains of Glencoe, Clan Macdonald of Dunnyveg and Clan MacIains of Ardnamurchan. The traditional Clan lands are widespread, running all down the west coast of Scotland onto the Western Isles and in Northern Ireland. There are also lots and lots of MacDonald tartans available...hint hint. [caption id="attachment_6802" align="aligncenter" width="677"]Glencoe - MacDonalds Glencoe[/caption] One of the more legendary stories about this clan is the Massacre of Glencoe, a story I know too well from The Corries song of the same name. Many a journey I would be sitting in my parents car listening to this song. Don't worry I'm not going to sing. To this day if I meet someone called Donald the first thing that pops into my head is 'Donald Where's your Troosers'. The story begins on a wintery night at the end of the 17th century when 120 men under the command of Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, arrived at the doorstep of the MacDonalds (MacIains) of Glencoe. The MacDonalds accepted them in and offered them hospitality only to be slain in their sleep or while attempting to flee. You can learn more about the Campbell in Jack's Blog Unleash your inner tartan- Clan Campbell. Clan Donald remains the largest clan in Scotland and the descendants from this clan who have emigrated have also made Clan Donald the Largest Clan in the world. The Clan Donald Estate in Skye was purchased in 1971 by the Clan Donald Land Trust and is now run and funded by Clan Donald members and enthusiasts around the world. [caption id="attachment_6798" align="aligncenter" width="694"]Armadale Castle Isle of Skye Armadale Castle - Isle of Skye[/caption] You may have noticed that here at ScotlandShop we have been increasingly interested in Clan history and how people here in Scotland and overseas identify with their Clan and being Scottish. One of our lovely customers, who helps to run the Clan Donald Estate, has been invited to be a special guest at the Stone Mountain Highland Games taking place in Atlanta, Georgia on the weekend of the 14th October. This event boasts the traditional Highland Games experience presented in a southern style. We at ScotlandShop would be lying if we did not say that we are certainly intrigued by this and luckily Jan has agreed to come back and share with us her experiences from her trip. Stay tuned for Clan Donald 2 where we will hear all about Jan’s adventures in Atlanta and carry on our exciting journey into the history of Clan Donald.
“Na sloigh as feart san gcruinne A muirn a mire a bhfighnamh; Ni comhnairt bheith ‘ na bhfeagmhais: Ni h-eibhneas gan Chlainn Domhnall” - The best people in the round world, their joyousness, their keenness, their effectiveness; without them is no strength; it is no joy without Clan Donald”