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January 3, 2011 09:22 - January Highland Games & Events

Welcome back and welcome to 2011, which promises to be a year with lots to read and see about Scotland, her people, and Scottish wedding themes, beginning with the monthly posting of Highland Gatherings.

Though two of the events have come and gone with the 1st, there’s a few more events awaiting us, from Glasgow to Missouri and Florida, then back to Ireland.

If you can, go. It will lift the doldrums of post-Christmas and show the promise of Spring. Plus a few kilts a-swirlin’ and some pipes a-calling will stir your blood!

  • January 1, Maryborough, Victoria, Australia ~ Maryborough Highland Gathering. An institution since 1858 when the local gold prospectors, Scottish squatters, and businessmen organized an event to recreate the traditional Hogmany celebrations they’d left behind in Scotland.

  • January 1, Waipu, New Zealand ~ Waipu Highland Games. Founded in 1870, the games continue on…with a few new adaptations, including Tartan in the Park, a local fashion competition featuring the use of tartan.

  • January 13 to 30, Glasgow, Scotland ~ Celtic Connections, featuring 17 days of music

  • January 14 to 16, Kansas City, Missouri ~ Winter Storm Weekend, promoting Scottish Highland performing arts, through workshops, concerts, and competitions

  • January 15 to 16, Winter Springs, Florida ~ Central Florida Scottish Highland Games

    2011 Games Logo courtesy Scottish
    American Society of Central Florida

    One unusual even is an archery competition. Children also enjoy the Kid’s Games, which include face painting and sheep tipping.

    Kids Games courtesy Scottish American Society of Central Florida

    The Boulder Boogie, in which competitors carry a rock as far as they can. Open to both men and women, the first place winners become the next year’s Troll Queen and King. Loxi Hodges won the 2010 women’s division, carrying a 126 pound rock 575 feet.

    Boulder Boogie courtesy Scottish American Society of Central Florida

  • January 22, Fort Myers, Florida ~ Caloosahatchee Celtic Festival, which includes a car show sponsored by the local chapter of the British Car Club

    British Car Show courtesy Celtic Heritage Productions

  • January 26 to 30, Dublin, Ireland ~ Temple Bar TradFest, a celebration of Irish music and culture

For more detailed information about the listed events, go to

Tomorrow, videos from Scottish Television of this year’s Hogmanay celebration and the winter wonderland of Scotland…

January 4, 2011 08:23 - Hogmanay and Scotland Revealed

Scotland Television (STV) has two categories available on video for instant viewing.

One is this years Hogmanay celebration. The most interesting and highlight for me are the fireballs in Stonehaven. There’s also comedy routines, history and traditions.

Much more laid back, without the New Year hype, are the segments on Scotland Revealed in Winter. There’s 4 parts on Glencoe, the Great Glen Fault, the Cairngorms, and Edinburgh, with a total time of less than one hour.

The hostess is Vanessa Collingridge, geographer, explorer, and TV commentator. Many of the snow covered aerial shots are breath-taking. All are beautiful.

The program is a nice way to relax after the hectic pace of the holidays. Just some nice, plain eye-candy to view with a hot cup of "something" in hand.

Back tomorrow with a bit more about the Celts of Cornwall with their giants, mermaids, and piskies…

January 5, 2011 12:39 - The Celts of Cornwall Part IX ~ Cornish Celtic Folklore

Cornwall is a land with tales of giants, mermaids, and piskies. Though they’ve been passed down through generations, the tales are still popular today. Many events even have a ‘droll teller’, who tells the tales of yesteryear in Cornwall.

Part of this folklore comes from tales of the sea-faring pirates and smugglers who thrived in Cornwall through the 19th century. These pirates exploited their knowledge of the coastline, the sheltered creeks and hidden anchorages.

Many of the fishing villages lying along the coastline were supported by the underground economy of loot and contraband from the pirates. So Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, though a century or two too late, wasn’t all that far off the mark.

There are also the little people, known in Cornwall as piskies or the pobel vean. Taking the name a little further, they are also known as pixies and pigsies. In other words, sprites or fairies.

One artist’s interpretation of a pixie is by Haley Davis.

Pixie by Haley Davis
courtesy Wikipedia

If you hear someone in Cornwall speak of having been pixie-led, they will likely have their coat turned inside out ~ a sure remedy.

During the 18th century, there were frequent and deadly cave-ins in the tin mines Surviving miners reported seeing knockers and buccas, the Welsh and Cornish equivalent of Irish leprechauns and Scottish brownies.

Reported to be about two feet tall, grizzled but not misshapen, these creatures lived underground, wearing tiny miner’s garb, stealing the miner’s unattended food or tools.

Another explanation is that the little people are the creation of exhausted, oxygen-depraved miners as they return from underground.

Beyond the little people, there are giants…and King Arthur…

January 6, 2011 07:20 - The Celts of Cornwall Part X ~ King Arthur and the Giants

A plucky Cornish farm lad, during the reign of King Arthur, is Jack the Giant Killer, who slays giants, acquires their wealth, and gains a noble wife. The story first appeared in print in 1711.

In 1136 Geoffrey of Monmouth, in the first book of The History of the Kings of Britain wrote of the indigenous giants of Cornwall being slain by Brutus. Brutus, along with his son and brothers settled in Britain after the Trojan War.

Jack and the Beanstalk courtesy Absolute 1

Other legends from Cornwall include King Arthur’s birthplace at Tintagel, where Arthur’s uncle, King Mark of Cornwall, was also the father of Tristan in the story of Tristan and Isolde.

Herbert Draper‘s Tristan and Isolde

Dozmary Pool, on Bodmin Moor, is claimed to be the home of the Lady of the Lake.

Dozmary Pool courtesy Wikipedia

Legend claims King Arthur received Excalibur from the Lady. The pool is where Bedivere returned Excalibur after the Battle of Camlann as Arthur lay dying from wounds inflicted by Sir Mordred.

Bedivere Returning Excalibur
by Aubrey Beardsley courtesy Wikipedia

H.J. Ford’s Sir Mordred courtesy Wikipedia

Tomorrow, the mermaids of Cornwall…

January 7, 2011 10:54 - The Celts of Cornwall Part XI ~ The Mermaid of Zennor

The belief in mermaids is attested to by the Mermaid Chair, a 600 year old bench end at St. Senara Church in Zennor.

Zennor Mermaid Chair courtesy Wikipedia

The bench attests to the legend of the Mermaid of Zennor.

Matthew Trewhella, a good-looking young man, also had a fine voice. Each evening Matthew would sing a solo for the closing hymn at the church in Zennor. A mermaid who lived nearby in Pendour Cove became enamored by his music.

Donning a long dress to hide her tail, she awkwardly walked to the church. At first she just listened to Matthew's singing. Then she would slip away and return to the sea. As she came every day, eventually she became bolder and stayed longer. On one such visit, their gaze met and they fell in love.

However, the mermaid knew she had to go back to the sea or die. As she began to leave, Matthew said, "Please do not leave. Who are you? Where are you from?" The mermaid told him that she was a creature from the sea and that she must go back or die. Matthew swore he would follow her wherever she went. And, carrying her to the cove, he followed her beneath the waves, never to be seen again.

At sunset on a fine summer evening, if you sit quietly above Pendour Cove, you might hear Matthew singing faintly on the breeze.

Monday, the Mermaid of Padstow…

January 10, 2011 06:35 - The Celts of Cornwall Part XII ~ The Mermaid of Padstow

Doom Bar is the site of another seafaring legend.

Doom Bar at River Camel courtesy Wikipedia

Three differing tales all have the same ending. Being scorned in love, the mermaid of Padstow put a curse on the harbor. She brought forth a great storm which created the sand bank still known today as the Doom Bar.

In one version, the mermaid sat upon a rock at Hawker’s Cove, guiding ships up the estuary into the harbor. She met a man, they fell in love, then she tried to lure him under the sea. To escape, he shot her.

Another legend tells of Tristam Bird, who fell in love with the mermaid and sought her hand in marriage. When she refused, he shot her.

The third version tells of a fisherman, named Tom Yeo, who shot her, thinking she was a seal.

At any rate, Doom Bar still stands before the River Camel, immortalized as Doom Bar Bitter, Sharp‘s flagship bitter, a leading brew from Cornwall.

Sharp’s Doom Bar Bitters courtesy Wikipedia

Thus ends the information on the Celts of Cornwall. Tomorrow, a few famous folks from the MacArthur clan…

January 11, 2011 11:23 - The Clan MacArthur Part I ~ Clan History

A reader contacted me asking that some known MacArthurs be added to Famous Scottish Americans page. While the research is being verified, a general history of the Clan MacArthur will help establish their identities.

One group of MacArthurs, recognized as one of the oldest clans in Argyll, was located on the shores of Loch Awe, opposite the island of Inishail. Inishail was the ancestral burial grounds for Argyll chieftains.

Loch Awe courtesy Wikipedia

The chief held Innestrarynich, for which there is no modern information. Some clan histories refer to Tirevadich, which comes from their ancient name, Clann-Artairr-na-Tir-a-chadich, meaning of the shore-land.

The clan was seated so long ago that even in earlier Celtic days the following couplet was known

Cruic ‘is uillt ‘is Ailpeinich
Ach cuin a thaning Artairich?

Translated meaning ~
The hills and streams and MacAlpine
but whence came forth MacArthur?

The title Mac-ic-Artair suggests the Clan Arthur of Tirracladich were originally a branch of a major line, indicating an ancestor was a son of King Arthur, an honor to which the clan does lay claim.

Tomorrow, more about Clan MacArthur…

January 12, 2011 07:34 - The MacArthur Clan Part II ~ Slogan, Badge, Septs, Chieftains

The MacArthur clan slogan, or war cry, O eisd, O eisd! translates as ’Listen! O Listen!’

The chief’s heraldic motto is Fide Et Opera, which translates from the Latin as ’By fidelity [or faith] and work’.

The clan MacArthur began to decline when Ian, Chief of the Clan Artair of Tirrocladich was among the Argyll chiefs put to death by James I.

Clan MacArthur Lands courtesy Clan Arthur

As staunch supporters of The Bruce, Mac-is-Artair received grants forfeited by the MacDougalls, but lost position a century later.

Another group of MacArthurs, the MacArthur-Campbells, a branch of Clan Campbell, are not an independent clan but a sept of the Campbells..

Thirdly, another family of MacArthurs were hereditary pipers to the MacDonalds of the Isles, also known as the MacDonalds of Sleat. With this hereditary title came a free grant of lands of Peingowen, Skye.

The MacArthur clan chief died in 1771 without an heir, leaving the clan leaderless until 2002, when John Alexander MacArthur was legally entitled, the first chief of Clan Arthur to be recognized in 230 years.

The Mac Arthur clan badge plant is Wild Thyme, or Cuilionn in Gaelic. Wild Myrtle and Fir Club Moss are also attributed to the clan.

Tomorrow, MacArthur tartans…

January 13, 2011 12:31 - The MacArthur Clan Part III ~ Tartans

There are six tartans attributed to the MacArthur clan, some ancient, others with modern roots, some are for general use, others are restricted ~

MacArthur Clan Tartan WR959, dated 1815

MacArthur Tartan WR959

MacArthur Clan Tartan WR1100
Same basic form as the MacDonald, Lord of the Isles, dated 1842

MacArthur Clan Tartan WR1100

Other MacArthur tartans, which you may wear if your name falls within the restrictions ~

MacArthur of Milton Hunting Clan Tartan WR700 ~
The oldest of the MacArthur setts, linked to Clan Campbell, dated 1823

MacArthur of Milton Tartan WR700

MacArthur-Fox Dress Personal Tartan WR459

MacArthur-Fox Dress Personal Tartan WR459

MacArthur-Fox Family Tartan WR1088

MacArthur-Fox Family Tartan WR1088

MacArthur-Fox Tartan WR1492

MacArthur-Fox Tartan WR1492

Only MacArthur of Milton Hunting Clan Tartan WR700, MacArthur Clan Tartan WR959, and MacArthur Clan Tartan WR1100 are listed with the Scottish Tartans Authority.

Coming tomorrow, variants of the name MacArthur…

January 14, 2011 06:45 - The MacArthur Clan Part IV ~ Name Variants

As with many Scottish names, the variants of the primary name and it’s septs can be overwhelming. While researching the name MacArthur, I came across some good explanations for some of these variables.

Mhic means son of, while Nhic means daughter of. Over the centuries, Nhic was shortened to Nc or Nik. These daughter titles are no longer in use.

Next are the M’, Mc, and Mac prefixes and the lower case root names. Though still used today, these modifications will be omitted from this list. To include them all makes the list much too long and almost impossible to read through. So only the Mac spellings will be listed, unless it’s a name with no Mac prefix.

To explain another way, M’Arthur, McArthur, and Macarthur will not be listed, only MacArthur. Arthur will be listed separately, as will Makarthur and Mecarta, as the Mak and Mec names, since they are no longer prefixes but part of the root name.

Artair - Gaelic, original form meaning Arthur

Dewar from the Gaelic Deoradh, meaning pilgrim or wanderer, but came to mean custodian. As with the original deoradh custodians of St. Fillan’s relics. Fillan came to Scotland from Ireland in the early 8th century, along with his uncle, St. Congan, and his mother, St. Kentigerna, who was the daughter of a Prince of Leinster. Dewar is also listed as a sept of Clan MacNab and Clan Menzies, who were also prominent with Clan MacArthur around Loch Tay.


MacCarthy, Irish Mac Carthaigh, is the most common Mac name in Ireland, prominent in the south. They were kings of Kingdom of Munster, now County Cork, with their main residence at Blarney Castle. MacArthur and MacCarthy have an ancestral relationship through the High Kings of Ireland.

Both coat of arms also display the link, as both display a shield bearing three gold crowns on an azure background. The three crowns reference back to King Arthur.

MacArthur Coat of Arms courtesy Wikipedia

Kingdom of Munster Flag courtesy Wikipedia


Monday, tracing the ancestors of Douglas MacArthur…

January 17, 2011 15:00 - The MacArthur Clan Part V ~ Douglas MacArthur and His Ancestors

General Douglas MacArthur, considered the most famous MacArthur in history, comes from a line of prestigious MacArthur’s. His successful command of the Pacific theater during World War II led to his being the best known bearer of the name MacArthur.

The journey began in Strathclyde, near the Clan MacArthur seat on Loch Awe. The first stop was in Glasgow, where two MacArthur’s married and bore a son named Arthur MacArthur (1815-1896). Arthur’s father died in 1815, 7 days before his son’s birth.

At the age of 13, Arthur’s mother remarried and followed a daughter to Massachusetts. He enrolled in college, but the recession of 1837 necessitated his finding work to help support his family. He began working as a law clerk. With the help of his father-in-law, Arthur established a successful law practice in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Arthur MacArthur Sr. courtesy Wikipedia

In 1845, Arthur Jr. was born and Arthur Sr. moved his law practice to New York City. They moved on to Milwaukee in 1849 where Arthur Sr. became involved in Democratic politics. Running for Lt. Governor, his Gubernatorial candidate was involved in an election scandal and stepped down after being sworn into office. Arthur held the governorship for 4 days, until the state legislature declared the election a fraud and seated the Republican opponent.

MacArthur escaped the scandal unscathed enough to become a judge. He was later named to the District Court of Washington D.C., where he spent the last 17 years of his judicial career, during which time he got to know and influence his grandson, Douglas MacArthur.

Next read about Arthur MacArthur, Jr., a rousing, successful soldier…

January 18, 2011 07:56 - The Clan MacArthur Part VI, The Arthur MacArthur’s

Arthur MacArthur, Jr. (June 2, 1845–September 5, 1912), pursued a military career which began with the Civil War, eventually rising to the post of Lt. General.

Arthur MacArthur Jr. courtesy Wikipedia

During the Civil War, enlisting at the age of 16, he rose to the rank of Colonel by the age of 20. He is credited with much of the success of Union forces on Missionary Ridge near Chattanooga, Tennessee.

After the war, Arthur was assigned to the West, to make settlement safe from the Indians. His sons were raised on a series of dusty Army posts.

In 1898 he saw combat in the Spanish-American War in Cuba, where he befriended Theodore Roosevelt, and in the Philippines. After the Philippines were ceded to the U.S., in 1900 Arthur became the military governor, introducing progressive legal and educational reforms. Due to political vs. military command manipulating, future President Hayes had MacArthur removed.

With a rigid sense of honor, this removal, plus being passed over for the Army’s Chief of Staff top position, even though he was the highest ranking officer, led to his retirement.

He had three sons, two who grew to manhood and continued their father’s legacy. They were Arthur MacArthur III and Douglas MacArthur.

Arthur MacArthur III (June 1, 1876 – December 2, 1923), older brother of Douglas MacArthur, had a naval career which spanned from the Spanish American War through World War I. As a submarine commander he protected convoys in the 1918 Battle of the Atlantic, for which he received the Navy Cross. He also participated in naval operations during the Philippine-American War and the Boxer Rebellion.

Tomorrow , the saga of the world’s most famous MacArthur begins…

January 19, 2011 06:28 - The Macarthur Clan Part VII ~ General Douglas MacArthur

Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964), was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, while his father was stationed at the Arsenal Barracks.

As his father moved between military forts in the wild, wild west, Douglas grew up with six-guns and horses. Though not the best of scholars, after three attempts, with hard work he graduated first in his class from the U.S. Military Academy in 1903.

His first duty assignment, was with an engineer battalion in the Philippines. Next he was appointed as aide to his father who conducted an extended tour of military forces in 11 Asian countries. This assignment convinced Douglas that his future lay in Asia.

In 1906, while back in engineering school, at the request of President Theodore Roosevelt, Douglas served as an aide, assisting at White House functions.

In 1916 Douglas became the Army’s first public relations officer and is credited with convincing the American public that the Selective Service Act of 1917 was necessary.

World War I found him on the Western Front in France, where he received a promotion to Brigadier General. Described as flamboyant, romantic, and courageous, MacArthur became the most decorated American soldier of the war.
He was awarded two Distinguished Service Crosses and seven Silver Stars.

After the war he became superintendent of West Point, with a mandate to modernize the academy and produce officers fit to lead the country in modern warfare.

While there he married a socialite who had been involved with Chief of Staff John Pershing. As retribution, Pershing had MacArthur reassigned to the Philippines. In 1925, while serving in the Philippines, MacArthur received a promotion, becoming the Army’s youngest Major General. After a divorce in 1928, he returned to the Philippines for a two year stint as commander of the Philippine Department, charged with training Filipinos for military duty.

In 1930 MacArthur became Chief of General Staff in Washington, developing a warm working relationship with President Franklin Roosevelt. In 1937 Douglas retired from the military to become the Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines.

He was already recalled to overall military command in Asia before the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Douglas set up his command headquarters in the Philippines. Within a few months, President Roosevelt ordered him to Australia. MacArthur was forced to leave his men, both American and Filipino, to annihilation by the invading Japanese. Declaring "I will return", he spent three years saving Australia from invasion and building the Allied forces in the south-western Pacific.

Douglas MacArthur War Memorial in Palo, Leyte courtesy Wikipedia

Tomorrow, MacArthur and his ride across the Pacific from Australia back to the Philippines…

January 20, 2011 05:56 - The MacArthur Clan Part VIII ~ Douglas MacArthur Returns to the Philippines

The Pacific theatre was primarily a naval and aerial war, fought from aircraft carriers by bombers. MacArthur developed the island-hopping technique that steadily defeated the Japanese, including ousting the Japanese from the Philippines after his return in 1944.

One of two world famous photographs, MacArthur’s return to Leyte ~

MacArthur Return to Leyte courtesy Wikipedia

When the Japanese finally surrendered in 1945, Douglas MacArthur participated in the treaty signing aboard the U.S.S. Missouri. The ship was under the command of Admiral Bull Halsey. Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser signed for Britain. MacArthur signed for the U.S. All three were of Scottish ancestry. MacArthur made the closing statement of the war, when he stepped to the microphone and pronounced, "The proceedings are now closed."

The other world-famous photograph of MacArthur aboard the U.S.S. Missouri ~

Japanese Surrender courtesy Wikipedia

MacArthur was appointed to direct the Allied occupation of Japan. Over the next five years, his policies set the groundwork to change Japan to a democratic nation with a huge economic success.

During the Korean War, Douglas MacArthur was appointed commander of the United Nations forces. Due to differences of opinion with President Truman, MacArthur was relieved of his command. and returned to an unparalleled hero’s welcome.

During his 50 year military career, MacArthur received over 100 military decorations from the U.S. and other countries…plus the admiration of people around the world.

Following surgery and complications, Douglas MacArthur died in 1964, leaving an unparalleled legacy, in both the military and political arenas.

The Wallace Award of the American-Scottish Foundation, annually presents an award to distinguished Americans of Scottish descent. In memoriam, General Douglas MacArthur, simply described as a soldier, has been selected.

A selection of movies, specifically about Douglas MacArthur. There are also others, unlisted, about the events of World War II.

American Experience - MacArthur, 2004, Stephen Ambrose
American Experience, 2006, Douglas MacArthur and David Ogden Stiers
The American Experience, MacArthur, 1999, David McCullough
Biography, General Douglas MacArthur, The Return of a Legend, 2005
Douglas MacArthur: Return to Corregidor, 2011, Gary Saderup
MacArthur, 1977, biography, Gregory Peck
World War II - General Douglas MacArthur: Return of A Legend, 2006

For those who wonder, the son of Douglas, Arthur MacArthur IV, changed his name and has remained anonymous, out of the spotlight created by his famous ancestors.

Tomorrow, another famous military MacArthur…

January 21, 2011 10:12 - The MacArthur Clan Part IX ~ William Surles McArthur, Astronaut

William Surles McArthur, retired U.S. Army Colonel, NASA astronaut, veteran of 3 space shuttle missions and one International Space Station expedition via the Russian Soyuz capsule.

2011 William McArthur NASA astronaut courtesy Wikipedia

In 2005, McArthur and Russian cosmonaut, Valery Tokarev, spent 6 months on the International Space Station, traveling there via the Russian Soyuz Capsule. On day 44, the pair received an historical call from earth.
While performing in concert at Anaheim, California, Sir Paul McCartney spoke with the men and sang two songs for their morning wake-up call. View a YouTube recording of the historical event, with Paul singing English Tea and Good Morning Sunshine . This was day 44 of a six month mission, with McCartney adding another first to his long career ~ he was the world’s first musician to beam music into space. [See the January 24th edition for a McArthur/McCartney connection]

In May 2009 McArthur was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Strathclyde in recognition of his contribution to space science and engineering, as well as his outreach work with the Scottish Space School.

William McArthur Honorary Degree courtesy University of Strathclyde

Once again, Strathclyde is near Loch Awe, the ancestral home of Clan MacArthur.

Coming Monday, is there a connection between Paul McCartney and the MacArthurs?

January 24, 2011 11:03 - The MacArthur Clan Part X ~ The MacArthur McCartney Connection

Is Paul McCartney Scottish? Any time he’s been asked, the family "traveled from Ireland in the mid-1800’s, then on to Liverpool" has been the standard answer.

But Paul’s younger brother, Mike, began tracing the family back and found a stop-over among the MacIntosh clan. As many an Irish and Scottish family traveled back and forth across the Irish Sea, almost any combination is possible.

As one example, the Kings of Cork and Princes of Desmond were part of the McCarthy Mor of Munster family. The fifth son of one Cormac Fionn (d.1248) was Donogh Cartnach, from whom the McCartney’s sprang.

Donogh’s eldest son traveled to Scotland with Edward Bruce, King of Ireland, and brother of Robert the Bruce, who was King of Scotland from 1306 to 1329. For his service, Robert awarded Donogh a land grant in Argyllshire, called Gleann Artanaig, or Glen Artney. The glen was immortalized in Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake.

Argyllshire also included the Mull of Kintyre, which will come into our story later.

Some descendents of Donog settled further south in Galloway [south of Mull of Kintyre, across Firth of Clyde]. Records show that in 1522 George Macartney married Margaret McCullough. Their grandson, Bartholomew McCartney, had one son, George Maccartney in 1626. He emigrated to Ulster from Scotland and is the original ancestor of many of the families of Macartney in Ulster and other parts of Ireland.

So there were McCartney ancestors living in Scotland in 1522. A grandson crossed the sea back to Ireland, re-establishing the Donogh Cartnach family with their Gaelic name, Maccartney.

Ask American-based genealogist, John McCartney, and he’ll show you the path of the McCarthy Mor family of Munster, Ireland, in the mid-1800’s from Munster to Galloway, Scotland. He’ll go on to explain MacCartney and MacArtney as common names that traveled earlier from Galloway and Ayrshire to the Northern Irish counties of Antrim, Down, and Armagh, many returning to Galloway, Scotland.

As further proof of the back-and-forth connection of McCartney with Scotland, there are two locations in Central Scotland. Strath Gartney, in Gaelic is Srath Ghartain. The second McCartney connection is Glen Artney, or in Gaelic Gleann Artanaig, the lands in Argyll awarded to Donogh Cartnach.

In turn, many Irish and Scottish families left their homes in poverty, as the Industrial Revolution drove them to cities. Liverpool, as a port city was a popular destination, sometimes just to get the family through the winter and next season‘s crops. Others moved permanently, hoping to better their circumstances. By 1800, 40% of the world’s trade passed across the Liverpool docks.

Taking the names MacCartney, Maccartney, Macartney, McCartney, MacArtney, Cartnach, Artanaig, and MacArthur ~ they all trace back to Artaine, son of Arthur.

As part of Homecoming 2009, the Scots invited the McCarthy brothers to further trace their Scottish roots. If they did, I’ve not found the published results.

And now, tomorrow on to that most famous of McCartney’s, Sir John Paul…

January 25, 2011 11:21 - The MacArthur Clan Part XI ~ Paul McCartney and The Beatles

The Beatles 1964 courtesy Wikipedia

Popularized in the 1960’s as one of The Beatles, John has gone on as a musician, singer, songwriter, and composer to become the "most commercially successful songwriter in the history of popular music" and "the most successful musician and composer in popular music history", according to the Guinness World Book of Records.

His works include 60 gold discs with sales of 100 million singles in the U.K. alone. His song "Yesterday" has been recorded by over 2,200 artists and been played 7 million times on American TV and radio.

BBC News Online readers have selected McCartney as "the greatest composer of the millennium".

Born in 1942 in Liverpool, his grandfather played the tuba. His father was a trumpet player and pianist in a 20’s jazz band. Encouraging his sons to be musical, Jim bought an upright piano from Brian Epstein’s store. Epstein later became manager for The Beatles.

Their father, Jim, would use the radio to identify the different instruments for his sons. And he frequently took them to local brass band concerts.

After acquiring a right-hand guitar, McCartney found them hard to play, being left-handed. Then he saw a poster advertising a Slim Whitman concert and realized Whitman played a right hand guitar, restrung oppositely from a right-handed player.

Between the Beatles and Wings, his compositions have spent 93 weeks at the top of the U.K. charts, with 24 number one singles. On the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, 32 of his singles have hit number one. In just the U.S., he has sold 15.5 million albums.

His company holds the copyrights to 3,000+ songs, including the entire works of Buddy Holly, Guys and Dolls, A Chorus Line, and Grease.

Coming tomorrow, Paul McCartney and Wings…

January 26, 2011 13:30 - The MacArthur Clan Part XII ~ Paul McCartney & Wings

In the late 60’s, McCartney had bought an estate and installed a recording studio on the Mull of Kintyre, in Argyll ~ out on the headland. In 1977, he and band mate, Denny Laine, wrote as tribute to the picturesque Mull, naming it Mull of Kintyre.

Mull of Kintyre courtesy Wikipedia

Wings, McCartney’s second band, had their 1977 single "Mull of Kintyre" become the first single to sell over two million copies in the U.K., remaining the top selling non-charity single.

After a decade of enjoying all that Mull had given him, he wanted to express his love of Scotland, saying, "It was a love song really, about how I enjoyed being there and imagining I was travelling away and wanting to get back there."

Released for the Christmas season, it became the number one Christmas hit and the first single to sell over 2 million copies in the U.K. Not only does McCartney and his wife, Linda, sing on the cut. Kintyre’s local pipe band from Campbeltown and many of the 5000+ local residents joined in, as can be heard and seen on this YouTube video.

Though not a hit in the U.S., the song was soon adopted by the fans of several U.K. football clubs. It’s still played both pre-game and during the games.

Paul doesn’t play the song on American tours. But that all changes when he tours in Canada. In his 2009 performance in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the 78th Highlander Halifax Citadel Pipe Bank played the bagpipe accompaniment. In the 2010 concert in Toronto, Ontario, the Paris Port Dover Pipe Band furnished the accompaniment. In his London, England 2009 concert the Balmoral Highlands Pipe Band played the accompaniment.

Coming tomorrow, Paul McCartney, a Renaissance man…

January 27, 2011 12:38 - The MacArthur Clan Part XIII ~ Paul McCartney, A Renaissance Man

Paul McCartney Dublin 2010 courtesy Wikipedia

In the 1990, Paul wrote and released two classical music scores. First was Liverpool Oratorio, written and recorded in collaboration with Carl Davis of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. The opera, originally written as a poem by McCartney, loosely follows his life - or that of any other middle-class working couple in Liverpool.

Liverpool Oratorio courtesy Wikipedia

Standing Stone, his second release of original classical music, premiered at the Royal Albert Hall in 1997. The cover was photographed by his wife, Linda.

Standing Stone courtesy Wikipedia

Both works were well received with both classical and popular audiences.

A third work, Ecce Cor Meum was released in 2006, written in English and Latin for an orchestra and both a boys and adult choir. Translated as Behold My Heart, Paul saw the inscription above a statue of Jesus in St. Ignatius Church in New York City.

Paul McCartney Ecce Cor Meum courtesy Wikipedia

When knighted and receiving his grant of arms, he adopted Ecce Cor Meum as his motto.

In recent years, Paul has written poetry, as exhibited in Liverpool Oratorio, produced animated and short films, and had over a decade of paintings successfully displayed. He has advocated for several noteworthy causes.

Tomorrow, more about the Mull of Kintyre…

January 28, 2011 08:59 - The MacArthur Clan Part XIV, The Mull of Kintyre & Paul McCartney

Mull of Kintyre,
Oh mist rolling in from the sea,
My desire is always to be here
Oh Mull of Kintyre

Far have I traveled and much have I seen
Dark distant mountains with valleys of green
Past painted deserts, the sunset’s on fire
As he carries me home to the Mull of Kintyre

Sweep through the heather, like deer in the glen
Carry me back to the days I knew then
Of the life and the times of the Mull of Kintyre

Smiles in the sunshine and tears in the rain
Still take me back where my memories remain
Flickering embers grow higher and higher
As they carry me back to the Mull of Kintyre

With McCartney’s song, Mull of Kintyre being so popular and such a famous personage living on the mull, learning some more about the mull seems appropriate.

The hazardous cliffs along the seashore display the remains of World War II airplanes. Note the height of the cliffs below the lighthouse.

Mull of Kintyre Seatours

Near the lighthouse, a RAF helicopter crashed in 1994, killing all 29 people aboard. Among the passengers were mostly senior Northern Ireland intelligence experts. The importance of the passengers led to an extensive investigation. The official conclusion was pilot error of flying too fast in too much fog. Some still question the findings.

RAF Crash Site Memorial courtesy Wikipedia

The remote lighthouse was built in 1788 and rebuilt in the 1820’s. The approach gives some idea of the forlorn beauty of the seaside. The keeper’s cottage is now a holiday rental managed by the National Trust for Scotland.

Lighthouse Approach courtesy Wikipedia

Ireland is only 12 miles across the sea, where cars and houses can be seen in Antrim County.

View Mull to Antrim courtesy Wikipedia

Ailsa Craig and the Ayrshire coast are also visible on clear days. Looking south, the British coastline can also be seen.

One last observation regarding the Mull of Kintyre. Looking at this drawing of the Kintyre Peninsula, you can see why the Broadcasting Standards Commission uses the "Mull of Kintyre Test" to judge the propriety for images of naked men. Only male members displaying the flaccidity similar to the Mull, in relationship to the mainland may be shown. Those in a state of greater extension are deemed inappropriate.

Kintyre Peninsula courtesy Kintyre

Coming Monday, some concluding thoughts about Paul McCartney and the MacArthur connection…

January 31, 2011 09:58 - The MacArthur Clan Part XV ~ Concluding Thoughts About Paul McCartney

On January 24th, a question was posed. Is there a McCartney/MacArthur connection?

To me, the evidence answers a resounding "Yes!", which makes the uplink from Paul McCartney’s concert to astronaut William McArthur January 21st] even more remarkable. If only he had sung Mull of Kintyre to his fellow MacArthur.

A similar incident occurred during the 1969 Apollo mission to walk on the moon.
After planting the American flag on the moon surface, with 450 millions listeners tuned in, President Richard Nixon spoke with Neil Armstrong. Both were of the Armstrong clan.


So, Paul McCartney has come full circle from the shores of Ireland, as a descendant of Donogh Cartnach in the 13th century, to the shores of Argyll. Once more, in the 17th century, when George Maccartney of Galloway sought the shores of Ulster, possibly in hopes of a better future on the Ulster Plantations.

An unsuccessful move for many, the 1800’s found McCartney’s migrating back to Galloway. In turn, economics drove many from Scotland and Ireland into England, particularly Liverpool.

Two centuries later, a young, successful musician name James Paul McCartney was able to buy an estate on the Mull of Kintyre. Unknowingly, he fell in love with his ancestral home.

Eventually he wrote a song to celebrate what he had found on the Mull of Kintyre, thus answering the MacArthur war cry th at had been heard there for many a century, O eisd, O eisd!, or ’Listen! O Listen!’

For those who may have missed the video, or would like to listen again, here’s the link to the YouTube video of Mull of Kintyre

Tomorrow, the February Highland Games, then on to the Macarthurs who founded the Australian Wool Industry…

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