Iain Ciar MacDougall

Among the tacksmen and shepeherds, the wee bairns and war heroes who lie at their eternal rest in Kilbride, rests the remains of the iconoic MacDougall clan Chief, Iain Ciar MacDougall. Buried alongside Iain Ciar (Dark John) is his wife Mary of Sleat. Undaunted by the absence of her Jacobite husband on the run following The Battle of Sherrifmuir, and the sneers of her neighbours when her Life’s fortunes were at a low ebb, Mary, retained her dignity, her love of family and Clan, and lived long enough to see the wheel of fortune turn yet again. A turn that saw her gallant husband take his rightful place back at the head of his clan, and back in their traditional home at Dunollie, a MacDougall household to this day.
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I dared to plagiarise Sir walter Scott thus.
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Iain Ciair MacDougall is come out of the West,
To Sherrifmuirs’s braes at King James’s request.
Brought his Clansmen and his kith and his kin.
Determined the crown for Jamie to win.
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Campbell o’ Argyll of the danger has warned.
But Campbell and his own seer, Iain Ciair scorned,
From Dunstaffnage, Campbell guns threatened as Iain crossed the heath,……………………………………………………………………………………..
But MacDougall retorted “Buaidh no Bas, Victory or Death!”
“My Lord Mar awaits us near Stirling Town.
And I’ve promised these claymores to win Jamie the crown.”
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In those claymores Iain blithely placed trust,
They were razored at edge and bore no speck of rust.
Taynuilt’s blacksmith had forged and honed beneath Castle Hill,
Till MacDougall steel could be wielded with a will.
To this day, inquisituive folk from afar they’ll still flock,
To where Iain Ciar’s claymores grew sharp on the Blacksmith’s Rock.
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So onward MacDougall and his clansmen they strode,
By Loch Awe-side, through Brander to Perth’s winding road.
Days on the March in the wind and cold rain,
Wondering if they’d ever see Dunollie again.
Till at last at Sherrifmuir’s hill, they wearily arrived,
My Lord Mar pleased to see the for battle arrayed.
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MacDougalls’ praises Lord Mar loudly did sing,
And with Clan Ranald he placed them on his right wing.
But even as Iain poised ready in that grim gap of death,
As he steadied his clan ready to give his last breathe,
Iain’s thoughts were of Dunollie, his wife and his kin,
For the Campbells besieged her, and soon would break in.
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“Stand firm, my comfort and dearest,” he posted to Mary of Sleat.
For soon with the enemy our brave army will meet.
We will fight to the daeth, and Hanover bring down,
And march proud with King James through Stirling’s old town.
When our king’s on his throne, homeward I’ll ride,
And drive the Campbell’s from Dunollie and Etive’s loch-side.
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Alas! All their plans and their hopes were in vain,
though neither side, Sherifmuir’s victory could claim,
And though bravely Iain Ciar and his clansmen had fought,
they won not the glory their courage had sought.
From Peterhead harbour in the dark of the night,
From Scotland to France, James “the Pretender” took flight.
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King George’s writ by Campbell was writ large.
Of Jacobite property and lives, Campbell took charge.
Some he hanged or imprisoned for life,
and he banished from Dunollie, Iain Ciar’s resolute wife.
With just her bairns, and her shawl and the clothes on her back,
She was banished to Kerrera, to subsist on Slatterach Farm tack.
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For ten long years, Iain Ciar wandered the land o’er,
France and Ireland, and hid in a cave on Gallanach’s shore.
His friends begged pardon for his courageous mistake,
Assured King George a loyal subject he’d make.
But Campbell?…Campbell was agin’ him, for he’d usurped Iain’s lands,
And it suited him fine to see MacDougall condemned.
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But at last the king’s regal mercy prevailed,
And homeward from Chatham one day Iain sailed.
Home to his wife, his bairns, his ain hearth,
To figure and count what his rebellion was worth.
To Dunollie the family were permitted to return.
To their castle, their ain cattle, and their ain fresh water burn.
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From then on, MacDougall was to bide quiet at hame,
A fine Hie’land chief, proud of his wife and his Clan.
his bairns grew up worthy daughters and sons,
But ne’er rose again with sword, targe or gun.
For the lessons of Sherrifmuir they had been hard learned,
And t’was for Britain’s empire MacDougall corn was to be earned.
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Then in December ’37 midst winter’s wild gale,
Clan Chief MacDougall laid down earthly travail,
The old warrior died, peacefully at home in his bed,
And heavenward, the brave chieften’s spirit it fled.
Then his wife, with his piper and his bard by her side,
Buried him, to rest eternal, in the kirk at Kilbride.
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May the spirit of Iain Ciar MacDougall and the spirits of all those who lie in Kilbride, do so in eternal peace. Pictured is Iain Ciar’s tombstone, within the McaDougall memorial aisle at Kilbride……………………………………
Liam Griffin….Friends of Kilbride..