Clan Currie at the Bute Highland Games


The Clan Currie Society will host an information tent at the 2003 Bute Highland Games to be held on Saturday, August 23 in Rothesay. Society president, Robert Currie will travel to Bute from the United States to take part in the clan gathering. Curries from throughout the region are cordially invited to stop by the clan tent and visit with fellow clansfolk.

Clan Currie, anciently Clan MacMhuirrich, has a long and honorable history. They are one of the earliest constituted Clans of the Scottish Highlands. In his book "Scottish Clans and Tartans", Scottish author and historian Ian Grimble writes "The Herbridean name of Currie is the corrupt English form of the MacMureach, one of the most ancient and distinguished names in Scotland's history. Through the MacMhuirrichs, the Literary Torch in the Western Isles was preserved for generations. They were recognized as the most illustrious body of learned men who were specialists in the heroic literature and genealogy of the ancient Gaelic world."

The name MacMhuirrich [pronounced MacVurich] began to appear in many forms including MacMureach, MacVurich, and MacCurry and eventually took on the form of the present day Currie and other related spellings such as Curry and Currey.

Robert Currie (left) president of the Clan Currie Society, enjoys a visit with Laurence Blair Oliphant (centre) of Blairgowrie and Alan Currie (right) of Armadale during the Blairgowrie Highland Games in 2001.
Origins of the Clan

In his book, 'The Clans of Scotland,' noted anthropologist and author Dr. Micheil MacDonald outlines the early history of Clan Currie. "The founder of the race was Muiredach O'Daly [1180 - 1222 AD], an outstanding poet of his time, who had studied at the famous Irish Colleges. O'Daly's ancestry, which is fully recorded in the Office of Genealogies and Arms in Dublin Castle, show's his family's descent through the Royal race of Ireland back to Conn of the Hundred Battles, the 110th High King of Ireland in 177 AD. This officially acknowledged genealogy confirms the Currie family as one of the oldest traceable families in Europe."

According to Seumas MacManus in 'The Story of the Irish Race,' Muiredach was forced to flee to Scotland in 1213 after making an enemy of the powerful chief of the O'Donnel's, whose steward had arrogantly demanded rent from the Royal Bard. O'Daly's response was swift and final - splitting the steward's head in two with a battleaxe.

He arrived in Scotland in 1213 and settled in Islay, the stronghold home of Donald, Lord of the Isles and grandson of Somerled, the Celtic-Norse founder of the Kingdom of Innesgall. The addition of the famed Bard to his court brought Donald additional prestige and the two men became great friends. Donald became the founder and namefather of Clan Donald, and Muiredach of the MacMhuirrichs: the contracted Scots Gaelic patronymic Mhuireadhaigh son of Muiredach. Muiredach's fame and stature as a poet was without parallel in Gaelic Scotland where he held an honored and revered position. The native Scots claimed Muiredach as their own as shown by the title bestowed him Muiredach Albanach or Muiredach of Scotland.

Such were the already ancient origins of Scotland's longest learned dynasty. Naturally, it attached itself to the Lords of the Isles when these maintained a virtually independent Gaelic principality in medieval Scotland. Muiredach's sons and their sons held the office of Hereditary Bards and Historians to the Lord of the Isles, and later to Clan Donald through the fall of the Lordship in 1493. Niall Mor MacMhuirrich is the first who appears under patronage of MacDonald of Clanranald and the earliest dateable poem from his pen belongs to the year 1613. The Clanranald bards produced the largest collection of MacMhuirrich writings. Niall MacMhuirrich [1637 - 1726], the last of the bardic race, chronicled the wars of Montrose in the last body of Gaelic prose to be written in Scotland in the ancient Irish script style. When he died in 1726, the bardic order became extinct in Scotland.

Laurence Blair Oliphant, Robert Currie & Alan Currie
The Currie Tartan

The Currie tartan came into existence in 1822 at the time of King George IV's State visit to Edinburgh. That year, Lord Alexander MacDonald, 10th Baronet of Nova Scotia, Chief of the MacDonalds of the Isles, granted to James Currie of Balilone and Garrachoran, the right to use the Lord of the Isles tartan as the basis for his own family tartan. The tartan was adopted as the official tartan for the entire clan in 1992.

Clan Leadership

Colonel William McMurdo Currie of Glasgow, Scotland was last of the Balilone and Garrachoran line of Currie's. In 1959, a Bond of Allegiance, signed by over 400 West Highland members of Clan Currie, was presented to Col. Currie as their acknowledged Chief. This action combined with Col. Currie's formation of the first Clan Currie Society in Glasgow also in 1959, were the first steps towards igniting an interest in pursuing clan recognition from the Lyon Court in Edinburgh, a process that continues to this day.

Before his death in 1992, Col. Currie named Robert Currie of the United States as his successor and bestowed upon him the title of Clan Commander. Currie was chosen in recognition of his efforts in re-establishing The Clan Currie Society - an international educational and cultural organization.

The Clan Currie Society

In the tradition of their bardic ancestors, Clan Currie continues to deploy state-of-the-art communications tactics to draw together their far-flung clan. In October of 2002, the Society launched their Internet site on the worldwide web. "" continues to offer a growing array of clan information and genealogical research tools. In its relatively short life-span, the website has already collected over 700 members worldwide.

Today, the Clan Currie Society plays an active role in preserving and promoting their highland heritage at Scottish Games, ethnic festivals, as well as community groups and classrooms. In Scotland, Clan Currie was the Honoured Clan at the 2001 Blairgowrie Games and Robert Currie served as Honorary Chieftain of the 1995 Brodick Games on the Isle of Arran.

More recently, Clan Currie has partnered with the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh to host two highly-successful Tartan Day gatherings on Ellis Island in New York harbor. The Society also sponsors a number of highly successful concerts featuring Scottish music and Gaelic poetry and is now venturing into the field of documentary filmmaking with a concentration on Scottish themes.

For further information, visit the Society's website

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