Kintail 29 Newsletter - Clan Macrae Society of Canada

The Newsletter of the the Clan MacRae Society of Canada
Volume 14
No. 2
Issue 29
March 2015
SCOTLAND – July 29-Aug.3, 2015
OTTAWA – April 30-May 3, 2015
The heather is in bloom, the banners are rolling out,
airlines await our arrival, tours are set, busses are ready,
receptions are reserved, historic sites await spring and
summer, the agenda is prepared, and Canadian MacRaes
are thinking about what to pack for the big trip to the
International Gathering of Clan MacRae in Kintail.
The Clan events kick off in Edinburgh on July 29. As
we come together at Holyrood Castle at the foot of Arthur’s
Seat, we catch our first glimpse of the now gathered Clan –
Scattered though we may be, we have come “home” to Kintail from “the round earth's imagined corners,” as John
Donne so beautifully expressed it.
In the court yard of Holyrood Castle will stand our
Gracious Lady
of Eilean Donan,
MacRae, with
the Constable
of Eilean Donan, Miranda
There, they
will welcome
us to the 2015
Also to
welcome us
will be Col. Jim
McRae, the Chair of Clan UK’s Organizing Committee –
“Three cheers for oganizers!”
With his bag pipes and standing with his hair flowing in the breeze, will be Piper Jimi McRae to beckon us
to follow him up the mountain, and there we will hear the
story of the “Wild MacRaes” and their amazing 1778
At Arthur’s Seat, we will relive the moment when
these ancient Clansmen scrambled up these same trails
to ‘fight to the death’ as they defended a principle – but
first to state their case to their Commander Seaforth,
“Respect the sanctity of contract!” Amazingly, he did
exactly that and no struggle ensuded, no blood was
spilled and they came down from the mountain! A
precedent was set – the first unsupressed mutiny in
British history.
On this March day of publication and from the vantage of a
PE Islander, a person must wonder if the Island will ever dig
out from its heavy blanket of snow. Well, take heart, dear
Islanders, even central Canada feels the same and the
prairies and much of BC also! Beneath that snow, the maple
roots are thirsting for their work of converting moisture into
our favourite of sugars, Canadian maple syrup. Others also
live in hope: gardeners are ordering seeds already; Lee
Valley is featuring new inventions to help cultivate our vegetables and flowers; the lawn mowers are in having their
annual checkup; and Ottawa’s tulips are restless to show
their glory to the world and welcome us to our annual Gathering of Canadian MacRaes.
Cynthia MacRae and her organizing crew
have designed a program that is extremely difficult to resist. The days are filled with MacRae
events, history, arts, and Clan socials. Registrations are pouring in to registrar Joanne Monahan. The Canadian Artillery and their statue of
Col. John McCrae are waiting the Government of
Canada’s final passages through its endless
count of agencies and departments before the
unveiling of the statue.
The music composed for the Peace
Tower Carillon has been completed by Matthew Larkin. Dominion Carillonnneur, Dr. Andrea McCrady, has reviewed the
score and checked the demands of the music. There is a
practice carillon in her office in the East Block so she can
prepare performance and reveal the score to none. The
premiere on May 3 will be the first
time it is heard in Canada.
Christ Church Cathedral Choir of
Men and Boys is rehearsing poems
and music that rose from the ashes
of war, including a choral setting of
John McCrae’s imperative words to
take up “the torch to hold it high!”
Other delights that await us include:
the welcome reception, the Alex
Colville art exhibit, the Canadian
War Museum, and a genealogical
session at the National Library. The
Clan banquet and gala ceilidh on
Saturday night will be long remembered.
Composer Matthew Larkin and
Dominion Carillonneur, Andrea McCrady.
See page 2 for more details
Thursday, April 30
6:00 - 8:30 pm Welcome Reception –
350 Sparks Street
Br. Room - Chicken Farmers of Canada
Friday May 1
395 Wellington Stree
Canadian War Museum
1 Vimy Place
Lunch at Carmello’s
300 Sparks Street
9:30-11:45 am
5:00 pm or later:
National Art Gallery
Time to be confirmed
Dinner at The Earl Of Sussex
431 Sussex Drive
Saturday, May 2
10:30 - 12:30 pm First Baptist Church - 140 Laurier Ave
Annual General Meeting
Boat Tour Ottawa River
Dinner/Ceilidh Christ Church Cathedral
414 Sparks Street
Sunday, May 3
1:00 pm
3:00 pm
Wednesday July 29
Holyrood Castle, Edinburgh
Clan Gathers from around the world
Traditional climb to Arthur's Seat
Clan Reception, Edinburgh
Royal Scots Club 29-31 Abercromby Pl
National Library/Archives
9:00 -12:00
Col. John McCrae Statue
Green Island, Sussex Dr.
Première Performance
“Red, White, and Sorrow”
PeaceTower Carillon
Parliament Hill Dominion
Carillonneur: Dr. Andrea McCrady
Composer: Matthew Larkin
4:30 pm The Music and Poetry of War and Peace
Christ Church Cathedral, Wellington Street
Thursday, July 30
Morning: Travel to Sheriffmuir
Luncheon at Sheriffmuir Inn
Afternoon: Sheriffmuir Battle
Site – Assemble at the Cairn
for walk to “Gathering Stone.”
Clan Reception
Cathedral House,
Friday, July 31
Travel to Kintail
Stops at Glen Coe Visitor Center & Fort William
Arrival in Kintail: Registration at Dornie Hall
Saturday August 1
Eilean Donan Castle
Glen Elg
Dun Telve Broch
Glen Sheil Battle Site
Sunday, August 2
Clachan Duich Service
Visit MacRae cemetery
Service at the Church
March to the Memorial
Laying of Wreaths
Farewell Lunch: Dornie
Joanne Monahan – 613-754-2722
[email protected]
217-Mulberry Lane
RR 2 GB2 Eganville, ON K0J 1T0
NOTE: The Kintail program is
under preparation and
changes may be made
in times and places.
Commander Jim McRae: [email protected]
For Those who prefer a TourFully-Escorted: check this out!
Clan MacRae Canada has prepared a tour to the
2015 International Gathering – an introduction to Scotland.
The tour is 13 days – an inclusive tour – airfare, accomodation, tour bus, tour director, hosts, meals, tips etc. included in
the one price. You may join the tour in Canada or in Scotland.
NOTE: All participants must register with
Clan MacRae Scotland for the Gathering:
e.mail to:
[email protected]
The Canadian tour has many additional
highlights including Edinburgh’s Royal
Military Tattoo (entrance ticket included in
the tour!) – a must for everyone visiting
Scotland this year.
Anyone interested in registering for the
Clan Canada tour, please contact:
1- 800-361-8687
A coloured brochure is available with all details,
prices and information on passports, insurance, baggage etc.
Rostad tours arranges flights. Participants of the tour may
remain longer in Scotland or elsewhere and return at a
later time.
An early booking discount of $150 is available
to those people booking before March 31.
Robert and Susan MacRae – Tour Hosts
Is the Newsletter of
Clan MacRae Society of Canada
Founded 2000
President - Owen C. MacRae
Editor – Robert D. MacRae
[email protected]
2099 Granite Street
Victoria BC V8S 3G5
Letters to the Editor
Full-Colour e.mail Edition of
Kintail.28 is simply magnificent! I
love it. You have done an outstanding job! I will read it all
this weekend. I hope you too have a wonderful weekend.
Debora MacRae Kamloops BC
Thank you for the new copy of Kintail. It is wonderful and
no doubt took many hours to compile. Isn't modern technology wonderful? This is a much more economical way to
produce the Newsletter. Keep up the great work!
Helen MacRae/Buddy MacEwan, Stanley Bridge PE
Thanks for all the work you do on behalf of the Canadian
branch of Clan MacRae. Jim McRae, Nepean ON
I have forwarded Kintail.28 to McCrea relatives, some of
whom reside in Ottawa. I hope they will contribute/attend
the unveiling of the Col. John McCrae statue. My father in law
always said Col. John was a cousin of ours and there are
many McCrae’s in the Guelph area where he lived. Thanks
again for all you do for this organization.
Fay and Bill McCrea Caledon ON
Thank you Robert for the excellent issue of Kintail so
interesting and well put together you make us proud
MacRaes Well done!
Owen MacRae, White Rock BC
I enjoyed getting Kintail via e-mail. Thanks for a job well
done. I know it requires many hours on your part. Hope to
see you in Ottawa.
Edith Mabry, Stratford PE
I compliment you on this latest Kintail. It is vey well
done. Interesting and the beautifully laid out content
makes it a treat.
Anne Brand, North Vancouver BC
A Hundred Thousand
To New Members
Gordon and Gail MacRae
Colin McCrae
Bryce McRae
Campbellton NB
Donald R. MacRae
Roger/Amanda/Bryce/MacRae Abbotsford BC
Ken McRae and Diane Ness Howick
Linda and Don York
Laura C. MacRae
Robert D. MacRae
In the last issue of Kintail, Part I ended as Eilean Donan Castle became a pile of rubble in 1719 –
its stones and masonry spread over Donan’s Isle and hurled into Loch Duich by a mighty explosion. Its destruction was complete. In that moment, it seemed a whole Clan had vanished with its
castle – its Clan’s home, its soul, its identity. However, deep in the heart of a MacRae was its story and its record of hospitality - its castle would rise again and the Clan would take a new identity.
The rubble that covered the Isle of Eilean Donan and the sight of its ruined castle did not kill the spirit of Clan
MacRae – nor did that horrific explosion erase our stories. Our history lived on. Safely wrapped in the hearts of Clan
members were the tales of the castle’s antecedents and occupants: like the vitrified fort of Pictish peoples in the preChristian era, and the shelter the island gave to their leaders, and others, like St. Donan who built a cell there in the
late 6th Century – a personal castle on this Holy Isle; like Colin Fitzgerald who received the fortress/castle in
recognition of his distinguished services at the Battle of Largs; to the 13th century when the MacRaes garrisoned
the Castle after they migrated to Kintail and became MacKenzie’s ‘Shirt of Mail’; like King Robert the Bruce, the
great leader of Scottish independence, who was sheltered there and where a fine reception was hosted for him. For
many generations it was a stronghold of the Mackenzies who held vast portions of northern Scotland. In 1520,
MacRaes became the Constables of Eilean Donan Castle, and brave Duncan Macghillechroist MacFhionmladh
MhicRath defended it against Clan Macdonald. With his one arrow he slew their chiref, Macdonald of Sleat. In
1653, the castle was garrisoned by Cromwell; a year later, General Monk with his two regiments marched through
Kintail on his way to Inverness, and stole 360 head of cattle belonging to the Castle’s Constable, Farquhar MacRae;
then General Monk’s soldiers killed the grandson of brave Duncan; Seaforth, the MacKenzie Clan chief, used
Eilean Donan as his dwelling and raised three regiments for Jacobite campaigns; During the Jacobite Rising of
1715, the castle was taken by government troops, but the Jacobites, with the help of some Spaniards, repossessed
it, and danced on its leaden rooftop before the Battle of Sheriffmuir; in 1719, the Hanovarians blew the castle to pieces. There it
lay for two centuries – a “few fingers of shattered masonry.”
Beginning about 1890, The Reverend Alexander MacRae,
Curate of St. Helen’s Church, Bishopgate, London, carefully studied the
history of the MacRaes, especially
that record prepared by The Reverend John MacRae, the Vicar of
Dingwall, about 200 years earlier.
Alexander MacRae wrote that he,
“put on record, before it is too late, the fast diminishing oral and traditional information on Clan MacRae.” He gathered Clan history into one volume, added genealogies
of prominent families, and with the help of a hundred and seventy subscribers published his 450 page work in 1899. Since then, his book has been a major resource for
Clan historians and genealogists.
Lt.Col.John MacRae
As the 19th century blossomed into the 20th century, the seed of another grand
vision germinated in the heart of Major John MacRae, a veteran of the 1880s Egyptian
and Soudan campaigns. Perhaps Alexander MacRae’s book, more than any other influence, stimulated MacRae’s
great vision – or perhaps the Major just dreamed it – but plan it he did: John and his wife Ella committed themselves
to the resurrection of Eilean Donan Castle right on the very spot where for centuries it had proudly stood on its ancient Islet.
Fortune was on their side as Ella MacRae-Gilstrap was a wealthy woman who enthusiastically shared John’s
vision and they set about to achieve their vision – they purchased Donan’s Isle in 1912.
The first assignment in fulfilling the dream fell
to Farquhar MacRae, a highly skilled carpenter and
stone mason from Achtertyre who was employed to
clean up the site. Lt. Col. John MacRae-Gilstrap
then left to serve in WW1. When he returned, Farquhar had gone much further than simply cleaning
it up a bit. He was ready to rebuild it!
The legend has it that Farquhar MacRae had a
Lt. Col. John MacRae leads
parade at dedication ceremonies
dream in which he saw, in the most vivid of detail,
Farquhar MacRae
exactly the way the castle orignally appeared. Thus,
over the next twenty years, the castle slowly
emerged and in 1932 MacRaes and all of Kintail celebrated and dedicated their new castle.
As Marigold MacRae reports it,
“The extraordinary thing is that after
the restoration was completed, the
plans for the castle were discovered
in the archives of Edinburgh Castle,
and … they were exactly as Farquhar
had dreamed them to be.” Edgar Allan Poe put it succinctly, “Those who
dream by day are cognizant of many
things that escape those who dream
only at night.”
Not surprisingly, the castle began to
be known as the “Castle of Dreams.”
Today, it is the most photographed
castle in Scotland – a quintessentially
Scottish achievment. With its Castle
restored, a new embodiment of Clan
began to emerge. Hospitality returned
and visitors have come in the thousands.
Even more significant, MacRaes with
common roots in Kintail, have joined
together – scattered though its members may be – and formed new and tangible expression of what it means to be
“Clan” in a fast-changing world. MacRae Societies have emerged in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand,
Canada and the United States. Though spread around the world, hundreds, perhaps thousands of MacRaes are now
linked in a new and vital way. Many will come home to Kintail in 2015 and walk again in the halls to Eilean Donan
Can you identify these five streets
in Canada?
Winner announced at Ottawa
Send answers to [email protected]
#1 to #5 - top to bottom
An Editorial…
The above Latin phrase poses an eternal question, “Where are
you going?” and for Clan MacRae this question rises on the eve
of MacRae Gatherings: Ottawa: in May and Scotland : July-Aug.
Some will travel thousands of miles to these gatherings – in
Ottawa we will welcome members from the United States, United
Kingdom and Greece and perhaps even from Australia. We will
meet, socialize, celebrate, eat, listen, learn, sing, be entertained
and gather in solemn assembly, pass resolutions and decide on
budgets. To what end? What is the future for our Clan?
In some ways our various national clan societies take their cue
from International Gatherings. On those occasions we focus on
Eilean Donan, search for our history, seek genealogical connections, and enjoy fellowship with those of a common MacRae
blood stream. Other than that, to what do we aspire? What makes
us unique among the Clans and among the blood-lines of Scotland? We need to evaluate our gatherings – all of them – to find
more ways to deepen our roots and strengthen our bonds.
Since the millennium, we have met three times internationally
and 2015 will be the fourth occasion. In 2005, the Presidents, Editors and Secretaries, met face-to-face and took an hour or so to
explore ideas as to how the clan societies might cooperate more
closely, learn from each other, agree on ways to share our expertise and experience. Since then, our leaders share articles and
Newsletters. This was a big step and has drawn us closer.
The Presidents have not met since 2005 though we are deeply
grateful to Marigold MacRae for her frequent visits as she helps
to build stronger bonds among us. Should we examine how we
may add to her efforts? Her generous welcome to Eilean Donan
adds to the family identity and gives us glimpses into the soul of
Clan MacRae. What governance might complement her work?
Is there more we can do together? Can we find a vision that will
lift our energies beyond national boundaries? Can our clan societies carve out a unique possibility that expresses our tradition
and yet blazes a new trail into the 21st century? Is there a unique
contribution that we might make to peace and respect among nations … perhaps something in the arts because the Clan MacRae
has been known for contributions to poetry, music and other art
forms. There must be something in our roots, something unique
to our Clan, that will help the world be a better place.
Yes, Clan leaders should meet and talk. Quo Vadis?
For MacRaes – by whatever spelling – 2015 is a special year – anniversaries abound. It is the 100th anniversary the writing of John McCrae’s remarkable poem In Flanders Fields. Sixty-thousand Canadian
men and women died in World War 1 – a massive sacrifice. In WW I, approximately 600 Clan Members served and many gave their lives – including Canadians.
The photo* to the left is a portion of one page of MacRaes who served
in WWI. In addition to the military, many others served the ‘war effort’ in
support services of factories, transportation, housing, goods and manufacturing. All were part of Canada’s deep commitment to win “the war to end
all wars.”
During 2014, much
was made of the first World
War struggle and Canadians
have heard thousands of stories of bravery, skill and sacrifice in WW I and WW II. We
have remembered smaller wars also. Canadians helped the “War Effort” in many ways. Please note two photos of some of these contributions. By joining with MacRaes in other countries we helped to purchase a series of ambulances in WW I.
Photo Right: One of WW I ambulances Canadian MacRaes supported.
The 1942 photo at
the left was in Prince Albert, Sask., where the Wolf Cubs collected rubber tires to recycle on behalf of the WW II war effort.
Clan MacRae of Canada has commissioned music for the Carillon, Red and White and Courage, a meditation on 100th anniversary John McCrae’s famous poem. It will be played in the
Peace Tower on May 3, a world première. At the keyboard will
be Clan member, Dr. Andrea McCrady, Canada’s Dominion Carillonneur. This is a remarkable coincidence in the history of Clan
MacRae Canada. We need your help to celebrate it with your
presence and your remembrances. Many Canadians will join us
to pay a special homage to the poet, Lt. Col. John McCrae.
Members and friends are invited to remember someone who gave of themselves – people who helped the war
effort – military, civilian, volunteers, factory workers, victory bond buyers, boys and girls who supported Canadian
troops in those great stuggles toward peace.
This Kintail is the last call – a “Last Post” appeal for a name you would remember. Please complete the
form and mail with your cheque payable to Clan MacRae of Canada. We need the names of those you would like to
remember. As we stand on Parliament Hill at 3:00 pm on May 3 and listen to Red and White and Courage, we will
reflect on members of our Clan who served, in whatsoever capacity. There, we will give thanks for their lives and
service. In the Parliament programme we will publish a listing of the names remembered. Copies of these honoured
names will be available on the lawns of the House of Commons as we assemble that day. Please join us in body
and in spirit wherever you are that day.
Cheques should be made to Clan MacRae Society and mailed with the completed form to:
Mr. Allen McRae, Clan Treasurer, 3570 Oakridge Drive, Nanaimo, BC V9T 1M4
*GENEALOGISTS’ ALERT: A full list of all Canadian MacRaes who served in WW I is available from the Editor.
for Clan MacRae Society of Canada are available
Members who receive Kintail by Post: if your label
carries a year before 2015 - It means your membership dues need your attention.
Individual and Family*
one year $20
three years $50
Please submit member fees to Gail McRae,
Membership Secretary
18028 58th Avenue, Surrey, BC V3S 1M1
As we Salute
Ken and Simone MacRae, Calgary
Sponsoring this issue of
John M. MacRae-Hall
1932 -- 2014
John Malcolm MacRae-Hall, Group Captain, RAF
died Dec. 20, 2014 at home, Westminster, SC. He is survived by his wife, Barbara (Babs) Perkins MacRae-Hall.
John, born in Birmingham, UK. At age 15, he was taken
for his first airplane ride by Harry Gatsby, a family
friend. That led to a life-time career as a pilot in war and
In 2000, MacRae-Hall was elected President of the Clan
MacRae Society of North America. He is remembered
for his energy, his devotion to the search for a Clan
Chief and his insistence that the Clan present itself with
dignity and excellence. There, in proper kilts, uniform
shirts and, pretty much in step, the Society was frequently chosen as “Clan of Excellence” at the Clan Parade at
Grandfather Mountain, NC.
John was instrumental in obtaining a Grant of Arms for
the Society from the Court of the Lord Lyon - the official Scottish heraldry office. His reasoning was that
since Clan MacRae has never had a Chief, a national
clan could not properly wear either of the readily available crests, nor could the Society properly use the Arms
of Alexander of Inverinate. While there was a question
of legality under Scottish law, John’s concerns arose
mostly from his respect for Scottish forms and customs.
He seemed to have accepted that the question of the
Chiefship was unlikely to be settled in his lifetime.
Acknowledgements and Appreciations
In order that Ottawa organizers may estimate the attendance
at our May Gathering, Clan members intending to be present
at the Ottawa - April 30 – May 3, are asked to express their
intention as soon as possible. The registrar is Joanne Monahan. Please share with her all names of those you know who
expect to attend:
[email protected]
NB: Those planning to attend, please ask Joanne by telephone
or e.mail for the registsration form. If she is not at home, leave
your number and she will telphone you.
Page 1 Ottawa tulips:
Other photos: Robert MacRae
Page 2 Cairn:
WW I MacRae monument: Robert MacRae
Page 3 Piper: Scotland Tourist Board
Page 4 Ruins: Eilean Donan Photo and
Lt. Col. John MacRae: Ella MacRae-Gilstrap
Pages 4-5 Larry McRae for story elements on Eilean Donan
Page 5 FarquharMacRae: Robert MacRae from painting
Dedication Parade: Charles MacRae
Castle: Robert MacRae
Page 6 Street Signs: Robert MacRae
Page 7 Wolf Cubs: Mary A. MacRae
Ambulance: Ella MacRae-Gilstrap
Page 8 Balmoral cap: