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2001 Memorial


The Piobaireachd Society of Antigonish



Second Annual

Pipers’ Memorial 


In Memory of

John (Iain am piobaire) MacGillivray
John MacQuarrie
Archie MacQuarrie
Angus Hector MacQuarrie
Ranald MacDonald
Peter MacDonald
Lauchie Gillis
John Dan MacLeod
Willie Angus MacDonald

 1:30 PM, June 9th, 2001
St. Margaret’s Parish Cemetery
Arisaig, Antigonish County, NS


and the Annual General Meeting of
The Piobaireachd Society of Antigonish
will follow at
The Arisaig Community Hall

All are welcome to attend!




 Dr. John Hamilton
President, ThePiobaireachd Society of Antigonish

Rev. Bob Day
 Parish Priest,
St. Margaret’s Parish, Arisaig


Recognition of Pipers


Jocelyn Gillis
Curator, Antigonish Heritage Museum

Marcy Macquarrie
Celtic Heritage Magazine


Performers and their tunes:

Carolyn Curry, Antigonish
“The Glen Is Mine” (Ground and Var I)

Laura MacLellan, Antigonish
“The MacGregors’ Salute”

Mary Ellen Baldner, Antigonish
“Salute To Donald”

Ian Juurlink, St. Andrews
“The Bicker”

Charles Baldner, Antigonish
“MacCrimmon’s Sweetheart”

Hector MacQuarrie, Halifax
“The Glen Is Mine”

Andrea Boyd, Antigonish
“Lament For Donald of Laggan”



 Copy of  The Kilberry Book of Ceňl Mór

Presented to Carolyn Curry
by Dr. John Hamilton, President

Copies of  The Book of the Bagpipe

Presented to Laura MacLellan, Mary Ellen Baldner, 
Ian Juurlink, Charles Baldner, Hector MacQuarrie, and Andrea Boyd
by Janis MacLellan-Peters, Vice President



Closing Remarks


(Reception and Annual General Meeting to follow at Arisaig Community Hall)


  Stories about the tunes being played today:


The Glen Is Mine
(‘s leam féin an Gleann)

             This well-known tune is said to have been composed by either Iain or Donald MacCrimmon, the last hereditary pipers to MacLeod of Dunvegan. Iain succeeded his father, Malcolm, the sixth hereditary piper to MacLeod, but did not enjoy the position and relinquished it to his brother Donald.

            Donald was born about 1743, and became hereditary piper in 1769. He is mentioned by John MacCodrum, the famous Gaelic poet, as being one of the three top pipers in Scotland at that time.  He was considered to be a dominent force in piping in the late 18th century.

            A dispute between Donald and the chief of the Clan resulted in his leaving Skye and emigrating to North Carolina in 1772. He joined the British army to help put down the American Revolution in 1776 but, having chosen the losing side, was forced to leave North Carolina when the war ended in 1783. He was one of the Loyalist settlers at Shelburne, Nova Scotia, and operated a ferry for a while, but was unable to make his living there. He returned to Skye when the Highland Society of London offered to pay his passage. An attempt at reviving the MacCrimmon’s famous College of Piping failed and Donald was, by 1811, living in Glenelg. He died about 1825.

            There is a tradition which states that Donald (or Iain) was inspired to compose “The Glen Is Mine” when he was passing through Glenshiel, in Ross-shire, with the Earl of Seaforth. The words associated with the tune are: “’S leam féin an Gleann, ‘s leam féin na th’ann” which can be translated to mean “The Glen is mine and all therein.”


MacCrimmon’s Sweetheart
(Maol Donn, no leannan Mhic Cruimein)

            “History is silent as to who Maol Donn was,” yet tradition says that the tune was composed on the death of a favourite cow bearing this name, which is a common term for a Highland cow.  D.S. MacDonald, a Sergeant Piper in the 1st Battalion Royal Scots wrote a letter to the Northern Chronicle of 13th May, 1888 in which he dates the tune to the fourteenth, and even possibly the thirteenth century. Angus MacKay says that Maol Donn was the son of Conal, King of Kintyre. According to historical accounts, however, he was actually the son of Conal II, a Scoto-Irish King, and he reigned, after his brother’s death, for a period of some sixteen years.


The MacGregors’ Salute
(Failte nan Griogarach)

             This tune is also known as “The MacGregors’ Gathering and appears as early as 1818 in the second volume of “Albyn’s Anthology”. Alex Campbell, the editor of that work, says, “This melody was taken down with all possible care from Captain Neil Macleod of Gesto’s MS. Collection of Pibrochs as performed by the celebrated MacCrimmons of Skye.... The process was tedious and exceedingly troublesome.” In the “Anthology” the words written by Sir Walter Scott are arranged under the notes taken down from Captain Macleod of Gesto. The editor adds a number of interesting notes regarding the MacGregors and the hardships which they endured. Well might Sir Walter Scott say of them, “They were famous for their misfortunes and the indomitable courage with which they maintained themselves as a Clan.”


The Bicker
(Port a’ Mheadair)
(or “The Extirpation of the Tinkers”)

             The Gaelic name for the tune shows that it is concerned with a drinking vessel, or meadear (literally, a container for mead). A “Bicker” is the same thing, and may be thought of as a “beaker”. The bicker was bucket-shaped, and came in two forms, the “luggie” with an upright handle, and the “cog” or “coggie” which had downturned curved handles which might be two or three in number.

            The second name for the tune is found in MacKay’s MS, namely “The Extirpation of the tinkers, by the King’s order”. (To ‘extirpate’ means to rout out or destroy.)

            Still a third name for the tune is “The Two Faced Englishman”.


Lament for Donald of Laggan

             Donald of Laggan was born in 1543. He succeeded to Glengarry in 1574, and died, at the age of 102, on February 2nd, 1645, the day of the Battle of Inverlochy. He was married to Helen Grant, the daughter of John Grant IV of Freuchy. He was called ‘Domhnull an Lagain’ because, during his father’s lifetime, he lived at Laggan, Achadrome, in Glengarry, not far from Invergarry Castle. After his succession to Glengarry, Donald continued to be known locally as ‘Domhnull an Lagain’. Patronymically, however, he was known as Donald MacAngus MacAlister, and he was always so distinguished in legal documents. (He was never known as ‘MacDonell’. This spelling of the name originated after his time.) His heir was Alexander, known as Alastair Dearg, but he died before his father. Alastair Dearg’s son Angus, succeeded his grandfather in 1645.

            Many traditions are recorded of Domhnull an Lagain. In an old MS history of the MacKenzies, he is accused of idolatry among his many other heinous sins. Mackenzie of Kintail raised an action against him in Edinburgh, and among other things charged against him, it was alleged that “he had a painter in Lochcarron (which then belonged to him) painting images; that he worshipped the image of St. Coan, called in Edinburgh Glengarry’s god, which was burnt at the dross.”

            The composer of Lament for Donald of Laggan was Patrick Mór MacCrimmon. Donald’s daughter, Isabella, was the wife of Sir Rory Mór MacLeod of Dunvegan, and for several years before her death she was lulled to sleep every night by MacCrimmon, in an adjoining room, playing “Cumha Dhomhnuill an Lagain”, her father’s lament.


L-R  Janis MacLellan-Peters (Vice-President  Piobaireachd Society of Antigonish), Andrea Boyd, Ian Juurlink, Hector Macquarrie, Carolyn Curry, Dr. John Hamilton (President,  Piobaireachd Society of Antigonish)




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