We are the Clan MacColin of Glenderry (Gaelic: Mac Coilean na Gleannadoire).

Meaning and Derivation of the Name

Our Clan, like most in the Scottish Highlands, is named for its ancestral Chief. We were originally a cadet line (younger sons of chiefly lineage) of Clan Colin, whose Chief is styled "The Colin." Our chiefly line descended from the sons of Colin, or Mac Colins, and when our Clan was granted autonomy and moved from the Colin homeland to Glenderry, our Chief kept his designation as "The MacColin", adding his feudal style, Glenndoire, the name of the barony.

The Chief's Name and Titles

Each Chief of Clan MacColin has his own given name and patronymic, but as the Chief is considered the most direct "son" of the first Chief, he also uses the name "MacColin," or "The MacColin." By those of equivalent or greater rank, he may be addressed thus, or by the name of his clan lands (as the Duke of York would be addressed as "York); our Chief might be called "Glenderry" by the King. We of the Clan may call him "Taoiseach" (Chief), "Ceann Cinnidh" (head of the kindred), "mo Tighern" (my Lord), or if you forget the proper titles, at least "Sir."

The position of the Chief of a whole name is equivalent to the status of a Baron in the Scots peerage, so our Chief is presented at court as "Baron Glenderry." The present Chief also has a title in Ireland, and among the Irish peerage is known as Baron Clonmines (Under Sheriff, Wexford).


Glenderry, or Glennadoire, meaning "Valley of the Oaks," is the area chosen by the Clan, when it began, as our mythical Highland homeland. We use the name to refer to the whole area of East Loch Ewe, including the Isle of Ewe and the Gruinard Peninsula. In the 16th century, this area was most likely held by Clan MacLeod. At the present time, this geographical area is part of Wester Ross, in the Ross and Cromarty district of Scotland.


In the 16th century, our Clan persona includes descendants of the MacColin settlers, MacKenzies, from whom we spring, MacLeods, and other neighbors who have joined or married into the Clan, Irish relatives, and "broken men" (those with no Clan) who have pledged their loyalty to our Chief in return for his protection.

In the 20th century, membership is extended to those who share our historical work and keep their dues current. There is no requirement that members be of Scottish or Irish descent- only that they be interested.


The Clan was designed, and is run, on the model of a 16th-century Scottish-Irish Clan, and extended tribal family. The Chief's word is law. Officers are appointed and serve until they resign, die, or are asked to step down. All Clan members have access to the ear of any officers and the Chief, but the rights of rank are observed.

The Clan was designed, and is run, on the model of a 16th-century Highland-Irish Clan, and extended tribal family. The Chief's word is law. Officers are appointed and serve until they resign, die, or are asked to step down. All Clan members have access to the ear of any officer and the Chief, but the privilege of rank is observed.

Two inner mechanisms complement each other and frequently overlap- the Households and the working groups. Households are based on persona kinship and historical interests, while the working groups center on acquiring daily task skills necessary for presenting our shows and the maintenance of kindred (i.e.: dance troupe, first aid, quartermaster corps).

Above all, we are a family. We take care of each other; everyone contributes and everyone benefits.


We are here to learn, participate in, and portray theatrically the people, activities and culture of Highland Scotland and Ireland in the last quarter of the 16th Century. We specialize in costuming, crafts demonstrations, military drill, and music and dance shows. Our mission is ultimately educational- we want people to see and understand something of a time and a set of values that contributed to the development of the world today, and in many ways still exists. We are also here to find friends, new skills, and pleasant pastimes.


Rallying Cry
"An Darach Mor" ("The Great Oak")- much used in marches.
"Denimid iarract niós fearr" translated literally: "We do the attempt more better" or "We Try Harder!"
Plant Badge
The Oak. Anyone may wear oak leaves as a cap badge, and the oak leaf and acorn designs are favorites for crafts and decorations.
Animal Badge
The Selkie (or Silkie), legendary water creature who swims the sea in a sealskin but may take it off and walk upon the earth as a man. A selkie was the traditional ancestor of the Colin line, and therefore of our Clan. We neither kill nor eat seals, though others in the 16th century commonly did so.
We carry the flags of St. Andrew and St. Patrick on marches: St. Andrew's Cross, for Scotland, is a white saltire (diagonal cross) on a blue field; St. Patrick's Cross is a red saltire on a white field. The Chief has a personal banner bearing his motto and his personal arms.
Other Badges, etc.
Areas of responsibility within the Clan (catering, water carriers, medics, etc.) wear appropriate tokens or ribbons. The Clan has established awards of merit, but these and other awards are only worn at 20th-century events.
Patron Saint
Our patron is Saint Maolrubha, who continued the work of Saint Columba in Wester Ross and, retiring from that abby, established a cell on the isle of Maree in Loch Maree, the sight of his holy well. He is also the patron saint of the insane, being drug behind a boat around his island three times widdershins and drinking from this well is reputed to be a cure.

Saint Andrew's MacColin Silkie Badge Saint Patrick's

Celebrations and Events of Note

We celebrate Hogmanay (New Year) with an annual Victorian Ball, which doubles as our formal awards banquet. Burns Night is an event for poetry, and St. Patrick's Day never goes unnoticed. Our own patron Saint Maolrubha has feast days in both April and August, apropos to a Saint known for curing the insane. Every spring we remember our dead, as fits a family that Christens, marries, and buries its own, and every such occasion, marked by celebration.


There is none! Family tartan setts were not in use in the 1500's. The Chief favors green, brown, and white (our heraldic colors), but he and his Clan wear what they can make or get.


These were not used in the 1500's, either. Our personas, the theatrical characters we each develop, use patronymics ("mac Ciaran"-son of Ciaran; "nic Eoghann"-daughter of Eoghann) and descriptive names ("Iain Ruadh"-Red Iain; "Mairi Og" - Young Mary) in addition to our given names. Only the son of a man named Colin would use the name "mac Colin".

ClanLore Copyright © 11/11/2000 Steven Gillan