Media Release: MacMhuirich symposium sheds new light on some of Scotland’s greatest poets

AN important symposium on the history and literary heritage of the MacMhuirichs, led by Professor Hugh Cheape, a leading authority on Scottish culture, takes place in Edinburgh on Saturday 23 July 2011.

The symposium takes place as part of a weekend of celebrations dedicated to one of Scotland’s greatest bards, Lachlan Mòr MacMhuirich (1370 – 1438).

The MacMhuirich symposium, being held in the Royal Scots Club, will bring a new perspective to the role of the MacMhuirichs in Scottish literary history.

The MacMhuirichs, a name later anglicized to ‘Currie’, served for over 700 years as professional poets to the Lords of the Isles, and later to the MacDonalds of Clanranald.

The prestigious programme for the symposium will see Professor Hugh Cheape of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI (and formerly of the National Museums Scotland) joined by speakers Dr John Purser of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Dr Donald William Stewart of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and University of Edinburgh, Dr Wilson McLeod, of the Celtic and Scottish Studies department of the University of Edinburgh, and Dr David Caldwell, National Museums Scotland.

The MacMhuirich Symposium follows after the installation of a new commemorative stone to be unveiled in the Makars’ Court of the Scottish Writers’ Museum in Edinburgh on the previous day, Friday 22 July at 11am – the public are cordially invited to attend this event.

The stone, sponsored by the Clan Currie Society, is dedicated to one of clan’s most celebrated Bards, Lachlan Mòr MacMhuirich.

The unveiling of the Makar’s Stone for Lachlan Mòr MacMhuirich will take place on the eve of the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Harlow.

It is said that Lachlan Mòr MacMhuirich’s Harlaw Brosnachadh, or ‘Incitement to Battle’, was delivered by him on the eve of the Battle of Red Harlaw on 24 July 1411 to inspire the army of the Lord of the Isles to victory in the following day’s battle.

The first lines of MacMhuirich’s war poem, The Harlaw Brosnachadh, have been etched on the stone.

Professor Hugh Cheape said: “This is an appropriate place and time to mark the achievements of one of the greatest of Scotland’s medieval poets.

“We know that such a distinguished gathering of speakers will do honour to Lachlan Mòr and the MacMhuirichs as a famous dynasty at the symposium in July.”

Robert Currie, president of the Clan Currie Society in New York, commented: “It is a great honour to have such an eminent group of Scottish historians come together to celebrate Lachlan Mòr MacMhuirich – I am humbled and thrilled to have their input.

“They will shed important light on the seldom heard story of the literary heritage of not only our clan but our country, and I look forward to learning from all our speakers at this event.

“The Lachlan Mòr MacMhuirich Symposium on 23 July is a date not to be missed, not only for anyone interested in the MacMhuirichs, but also for people interested in the history and literature of Scotland during the medieval period, and, in particular the Lords of the Isles.”

Robert explained: “It is intended that this will become an annual event, joining the ranks of other established symposiums contributing to the greater understanding of our literary heritage.

“As it grows and develops, hosted by cities and academic institutions across Scotland and beyond, there is also the potential for an associated research prize to be established.”

A warm invitation is extended to all events over the weekend of 22 to 24 July, including a celebratory dinner on Friday evening following the unveiling of the Makar’s Stone, and to take join a cruise to Incholm Abbey (on Incholm Island, Firth of Forth) on Sunday 24 July.

For further details and information on how to register for each event visit

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Contact: Alison Bell
Phone: 07765 242686