Clan Gregor Society
Honorary Bard/Seanchaidh for
Clan Gregor Society, since 2000.
Here on pdf attached is my latest poem for Clan Gregor Society:
Gun Ainm, Gun Chaisteal:
Gun Ainm, Gun Chaisteal:
Photo taken at Kinlochearn Highland Games and Clan Gregor Gathering 2016 with the Chief and other international Clan dignitaries
From an article in January 2001:
" Clan Gregor has reinstated the ancient post of bard after more than 200 years to ensure that our history does not fade in the 21st century. The Clan Gregor Society has appointed professional storyteller Paraig MacNeil of Dunblane to become its first bard since the 18th century. The appointment is, symbolically, the most important move in centuries.
Under the old Scottish clan systems, the bard – senneachie in Gaelic – was second in importance only to the chief, of whose household he was a part. He was responsible for the preservation of the clan tradition in a society which depended upon oral history. The bard would be used to praise the chiefly lineage, recite the genealogy of the clan and diminish the opposition through words in times of conflict. Paraig says the bard was so important that in battle, even opponents would “pass the sword over his head” to avoid killing off a clan’s history.
There was a time when bards were very highly valued. The bard was the oral custodian of the clan’s history and was exempt from combat. Bards would have to fulfill a 12 year apprenticeship before they qualified. They would also have to commit to memory more than 3,000 works of poetry. Much of the MacGregor history was lost after Culloden in 1746 – when the old system ceased to exist – although story telling persisted as a fireside tradition.
Paraig says: “It’s a great honour to serve the MacGregors as their bard.”
Repertoire of traditional material:
Paraig has a large oral repertoire of Clan Gregor traditional of tales and verse including:
Tales and traditions:
The MacGregor genealogy, the etymological significance, and the origin of the royal name.
Solus MhicPharlain - MacFarlane's lantern - a tale of cattle-rieving.
Fear Mor Liath - The Big Grey-haired man - a tale of Duncan MacGregor and hospitality
Roy Roy and the duel in Strathallan - a tale of Highland chivalry.
Rob Roy's part in the '15' Jacobite Rising.
Roy Roy's famous escapes.
Rob Roy's tricks at Kinlochard - A tale of wit and social justice.
Robin Og's part in the Appin murder and the killing of Maclaren of Balquidder
MacGregor's leap - Place name tale (Glen Lyon)
The MacGregor in Australia - A moral tale of wit.
Marbhrann do Rob Ruadh - Lament to Rob Roy (1735)
Catha Ghlinn' Freoin - The Battle of Glen Fruin (1603)
Griogair Chridhe - Lament to Gregor MacGreor of Glen Lyon (1571)
MacGriogair a' Ruadh Shriuth' - MacGregor of Roro
Oran Molaidh do Ghriogar Glundubh - A song in praise of Gregor Black-Knee (1746).
Cha Till Mi Tuilleadh - I Shall Return No More - The Song to the sound of the pipes played to Rob Roy on his death-bed on Christmas Eve 1734.
Published original compositions so far as Honorary
Bard/Seanchaidh, Clan Gregor Society:
These pieces below date from 2001 - 2009:
Marbhrann do Dhomhnall Deoiraidh Chapman 98 Remember Donald Dewar
(Lament to Donald Dewar)
Marbhrann do Dhomhnall Deoiraidh Clan Gregor `Society News Letter No. 52
(Lament to Donald Dewar)
Oran do Shine Clan Gregor `Society News Letter No. 56
(Song to Jean)
Cumha Chaisteil Leanraig (Griogair) Clan Gregor `Society News Letter No. 54
(Lament to Castle Landrick)
Marbhrann do’n t-Ailpeineach Clan Gregor `Society News Letter No. 58
(Lament to Sir Gregor MacGregor of MacGregor)
To see the composition with translation click here: This piece is to be archived for ever as an historical Clan Gregor piece to sit side by side with Marbhrann do Rob Ruadh, Lament to Rob Roy, Catha Ghlinn’ Freoin, The Battle of Glen Fruin , MacGriogair a’Ruadh Shruth - MacGregor of Roro etc.
Oran Mór Mhic Griogair - Clan Gregor Society newsletter No
(The Great Song of MacGregor) –.A salutation to the new chief.
Seabhag Chlann Ghriogair – Clan Gregor Society Newsletter No. 67
(The Falcon of Clan Gregor). A new generic choral anthem for the clan for the international homecomings 2009 and 2014. To view and hear this original piece click on the 2nd video below:
Gun Ainm, Gun Chaisteal
On the 200th anniversary of Sir Walter Scott's epic poem Rob Roy, celebrating that Clan Gregor Society now have museum space in Castle Menzies, and inspired by the artefacts house there, this piece of 5 verses echoing the assonances a, e., i, o, and u respectively exhorts all MacGregors to remember who they are.
Cho Luath ri Iolair air Sgiathaidh
On the 200th anniversary (2022) of the founding of Clan Gregor Society, this Gaelic panegyric, singable to a variant of the pipe tune 'The Hills of Glenorchy, celebrates the history of Clan Gregor throughout the ages, from it's remote founder, Gregor of the Golden Bridles, through war-like ages, and right up to the present day.
Paraig was interviewed by TV presenter and historian Paul Murton on the series The Clans (2007). Interviewed as Clan Gregor Society honorary Bard/Seannchaidh on his programme on the MacGregors, both spoke much amongst other things about remote MacGregor genealogy and its importance in traditional rhetoric, filmed here in Dalmally, Argyll. Scroll forward to 5 minutes 25 seconds for the interview:
Below is Paraig's 2009 composition for the society for the International Homecoming.
In order to view the lyrics in Gaelic with the translation in English, click on the You Tube box at the bottom right of the video and scroll down to the blurb below the video while it is running.
Seabhag Chlann Ghriogair - The Falcon of Clan Gregor:
Reviews of performances for Clan Gregor Society
.... "Later we were entertained by Paraig MacNeil, The Honorary Bard of the Society with Gaelic poetry and song including the Route of Glen Fruin".
Clan Gregor Newsletter, Number 52
.. " followed by the society’s bard singing some of his own compositions in Gaelic and English. He gave a memorable rendering of the epic Battle of Glen Fruin (1603)."
The Villagers, Balquidder, October 2001
..... "and an inspiring performance in story and song by our irrepressible Honorary Bard, Paraig MacNeil. What a wealth of tradition and what a memory this man has!"
Clan Gregor Gathering 2002 Report, Newsletter 54.
" I saw and heard our bard at the International Gathering this year and was deeply impressed by his performance. I have never before seen anything like this, it was like a window in time looking back at long lost memories. "
Peter Proksch, Clan Gregor Society Gathering, Dalmally, 2018.