Macintyre´, progenitor of the Badenoch Macintyres, has been
almost entirely forgotten, yet was once a poet of the very
highest standing. One day, looking at the work of Scottish
artist Will MacLean, I came across his enigmatic piece ´Bard
Macintyre´s Box´. This led me to wonder whether he could be
the 1496 bard who appears in every potted history of the
clan, (courtesy of the Kinrara MS, via 19th century
historian Charles Fraser-Mackintosh).
of the poem, and its very obscurity, historically, appealed
to Maclean, who suspected it to be from the 18th century.
Thanks to the artwork and its supporting text, I learned
that some of this poet´s work had survived intact - and
later that they graced the pages of Scotland´s oldest
collection of Gaelic verse! On obtaining full translations,
it became clear from clues in the poems that this was indeed
the same man, (much earlier than the artist had supposed),
and that, from a clan perspective, it was high time to bring
him out of the shadows. Duncan Ban Macintyre, two hundred
years after his death, enjoys an enduring reputation, though
the Badenoch bard in his day was held in equal regard. Using
his own words – the earliest surviving words of Clan
Macintyre - to unlock some of the poet´s secrets, this is a
glimpse into his life and times.
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