Annual Clan Currie Gathering and MacMhuirich
Symposium to be Held in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.
Clansfolk to Participate in the 150th
Anniversary Antigonish Highland Games.
An important symposium on the history and
literary heritage of the MacMhuirich bardic dynasty takes place in
Antigonish, Nova Scotia on Thursday and Friday, July 11 12, 2013. The
symposium takes place as part of a weekend of celebrations dedicated
to Scotlands greatest bardic dynasty, the Clan MacMhuirich or Clan
The MacMhuirich symposium, being held at the
Claymore Hotel in the village of Antigonish, will bring a new
perspective to the role of the MacMhuirichs in Scottish literary history
as well as their influence on Gaelic Canada. The MacMhuirichs, a name
later anglicized to Currie and in some parts of Scotland as
Macpherson, Murray and even MacMillan, served for over 700 years
as professional poets to the Lords of the Isles, and later to the
MacDonalds of Clanranald. Members of the public are cordially invited to
attend this event.
In addition to the two-day symposium,
clansfolk will rally at the Antigonish Highland Games on July 13 and 14
which celebrate their 150th anniversary this summer.
The prestigious program for the symposium
will chaired by the Rev. Dr. David Currie, Chaplain of the Clan Currie
Society joined by an A-list roster of speakers including Clan Currie
historian Angus MacMillan. Past participants have included Dr. Michael
Newton of St. Francis Xavier University, Canada, Dr. Alan Titley
of University College Cork, Ireland, Dr. Willie Gillies formerly of
Edinburgh Universitys Department of Celtic and Dr. Hugh Cheape of
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Isle of Skye, Scotland.
Robert Currie, President of the Clan Currie
Society in New York, commented: Nova Scotia is a most appropriate
place to mark the achievements of Scotlands greatest bardic dynasty. We
know that such a distinguished gathering of speakers will do honour
to the MacMhuirichs at the symposium in July.
The MacMhuirich Symposium on July 11 is a
date not to be missed, not only for anyone interested in the
MacMhuirichs, but also for people interested in the history and Gaelic
literature of Scotland during the medieval period and, in particular the
Lords of the Isles. On July 12, symposium attendees have the option to
take a field trip to the Gaelic College in St. Anns and to the Hector
Heritage Quay in Pictou.
A warm invitation is extended to all
clansfolk to attend the symposium, field trip and all the events over
the Antigonish Anniversary Weekend of July 13 and 14. For further
details and information on how to register for the program, visit
The Clan Currie Society, an American-based,
international, non-profit cultural and educational organization, is the
preeminent Scottish-American cultural society in preserving and
promoting Highland heritage at Scottish Games, ethnic festivals, as well
as community groups and classrooms.
The Society's signature events include The
Pipes of Christmas - a musical celebration of Christmas performed on
bagpipes and brass, harp and fiddle, and organ - and the annual
observance of Tartan Day on Ellis Island. The Clan Currie Society is the
Title Sponsor of the National Scottish Harp Championship of America.
Commissioned to mark the 10th Anniversary of
Tartan Day on Ellis Island in New York in 2011, the Society launched the
Ellis Island Tartan. An everlasting tribute to everyone who passed
through Ellis Island on their way to a new life in the United States of
America, the potentially world-beating tartan (Scotsman) has received
wide acclaim since its launch. It was featured on the runway at the
annual Dressed to Kilt fashion event on 5 April 2011, part of New Yorks
Tartan Week celebrations.
The Society's annual scholarship program
includes the Alex Currie Memorial Scholarship for Bagpipe, administered
by the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts in Nova Scotia; the Pipe Major
Kevin Ray Blandford Memorial Scholarship, administered by the National
Piping Centre in Glasgow, Scotland; the Col. William McMurdo Currie
Memorial Scholarship for the Clarsach (Scottish Harp) administered by
the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and the Private Bill
Millin Memorial Scholarship for Bagpipe administered by Lyon College of
Batesville, Arkansas. To mark their 40th anniversary, the Society
announced the "Duais Clann iMcMhuirich" bursary which they will give on
an annual basis to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Scotland's Gaelic college on the
Isle of Skye.
The Society was originally formed in
Glasgow, Scotland in 1959 to further the knowledge and appreciation of
the MacMhuirich (pronounced MacVurich) bardic dynasty. Today, the
organization is a respected producer of outstanding programs and events
to honor Scotland's rich culture and ancestry.
The MacMhuirichs served for over 700 years
as professional poets to the Lords of the Isles and later to the
MacDonalds of Clanranald among other prominent Highland clans and
families. The Red Book of Clanranald, one of Gaelic Scotland's literary
treasures, was penned by successive generations of the MacMhuirich bards
on South Uist.
In more contemporary times, MacMhuirich
poetry and short stories have been chronicled in Alexander Carmichael's
Carmina Gadelica, Angus MacLellan's Stories of South Uist, Thomas Owen
Clancy's The Triumph Tree (Scotland's Earliest Poetry 550-1350) and An
Leabhar Mor The Great Book of Gaelic. The ancient and historic
MacMhuirich name and its anglicized equivalent Currie can be found
throughout the Western Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
The Society has spearheaded the construction
of two permanent clan monuments in Scotland. A MacMhuirich Memorial
Cairn has been built adjacent to the ruins of Bale nam Bàrd, the
medieval home of the MacMhuirichs on the Island of South Uist. A
memorial stone, commemorating the bard Lachlan Mòr MacMhuirich, has been
installed at Makars Court alongside the Scottish Writers Museum in
2. The Rev. Dr. David A. Currie
Dr. Currie began teaching church history at
the Center for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME), the Boston campus of
Gordon-Conwell, in 1998 and joined the faculty full-time as Director of
the Doctor of Ministry Program in 2005. To all of his work, at each
Gordon-Conwells campuses and elsewhere, Dr. Currie has brought a
passion to nurture thinking Christian leaders. This passion has grown
out of over a quarter century of ordained ministry in the Presbyterian
Church (USA), including 15 years as the organizing pastor of a new
Dr. Curries research interests include the
history of evangelicalism, particularly in Scotland, South Africa and
China; pastoral theology; worship; preaching; spiritual formation,
particularly for clergy; mentoring; and discipleship. He was awarded a
Ph.D. in Ecclesiastical History from the University of St. Andrews in
Dr. Curries personal interests include
Steeler football; running; tennis; theater; hunting, particularly with a
bow and arrow; cooking; golf; hiking; canoeing; and Scottish games. He
also remains connected to his Scottish roots as chaplain for the Clan
3. Alex Currie
For some today who love the Scottish pipes,
Alex Currie is an anachronism from a bygone era, but to those who know
his story, he was the last of the true Scottish pipers. As far as Im
concerned, the most important piper I ever met was Alex Currie from Cape
Breton, said pipe maker Hamish Moore. He was part of that MacMhuirich
(Currie) tradition of the bards and the pipers. They were a very
important clan in that respect. And very important culturally with
respect to the arts. I think its just part of the clans heritage
thats been passed along, that very high cultural awareness that exists
in certain families. That is, its been passed down from generation to
Not only did his style of playing reflect
an undiluted Gaelic oral tradition dating back to 19th century South
Uist, but his knowledge of tunes some locally composed and others
forgotten in Scotland was unmatched by many of his contemporaries.
He was a living representation of one of the
many different styles that existed in Cape Breton among the highland
immigrants and their descendants styles that have disappeared from the
piping landscape of Cape Breton. Not long before his death, Currie was
honored for his contributions to traditional piping during the Celtic
Colours celebration at the Gaelic College in St. Anns, Nova Scotia.
The Clan Currie Society dedicated their
first Scottish heritage scholarship in 2006 in memory of this
exceptional musician and clansman.
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