April 17, 2012
A new bursary for Sabhal Mòr Ostaig students to study the history and literature of Clan Currie
Robert Currie, President of the Clan Currie Society visited Sabhal Mòr Ostaig this week to launch the Clan Currie Bursary (Duais Clann MhicMhuirich), a new £500 annual award which will be given to students of the Gaelic college who undertake research on the literature, poetry and history of Clan Currie.
Mr. Currie, who travelled from the United States to launch the award, said: “The Clan Currie Society is delighted to be establishing Duais Clann MhicMhuirich with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, to support students who are specialising in the study of the MacMhuirichs and Gaelic poetry, literature and history. While much has been written of this great bardic dynasty, it is now recognised that much more remains to be revealed and interpreted through modern scholarship. As an example, there has been little study on the oral histories of the MacMhuirichs from the islands of Mull, Raasay and Colonsay. The Clan Currie Society takes great pride in supporting this research.”
Professor Hugh Cheape, Course Leader for the MSc Material Culture and Gàidhealtachd History, commented: “We are exceptionally pleased to welcome Bob Currie, President of the American-based Clan Currie Society, to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig to announce the creation of a bursary – the ‘Duais Clann MhicMhuirich’ – to be awarded by the Society annually to a student in Gaelic history and literature for a research project on the bardic dynasty of MacMhuirichs whose history goes back 900 years to the first of the name, Muireadhach Albannach. This gesture offers highly valued opportunities for research and writing through the medium of Gaelic and at the highest levels and also to engage with both national archives and with oral tradition still current in different communities. We are very proud to be instigating this on behalf of the Clan Currie Society and are looking forward to collaborating with the Society to bring knowledge of this great dynasty before the people of Scotland and our cousins and descendants overseas.”
Clan Currie became hereditary poets to the powerful MacDonald Lords of the Isles who reigned over a semi-autonomous Gaelic kingdom which at its height covered a large swathe of Scotland’s western seaboard.
The MacMhuirich poets were among the preeminent tradition bearers of Scotland’s Gaelic culture during this time, and produced many famed works in the bardic tradition. Despite the demise of the Lordship, the MacMhuirichs continued in their poetic tradition, and Niall MacMhuirich in the 15th Century was the first of several notable bards to Clan Ranald.