Clan Donald Magazine Online Edition
The High Council
of Clan Donald Chiefs
Appoints a Piper
High Council of Clan Donald, being: The
Right Honourable Godfrey James Macdonald of Macdonald, Lord
Macdonald, High Chief of Clan Donald; The Much Honoured Sir Ian
Bosville Macdonald of Sleat, Baronet of Nova Scotia, Chief of Clan
Uisdein; The Much Honoured Aeneas Ranald Euan MacDonell of
Glengarry, Chief of Glengarry; The Much Honoured Ranald Alexander
Macdonald of Clanranald, the Captain and Chief of Clanranald; and
The Right Honourable Alexander Randal Mark MacDonnell, the Earl of
Antrim, Chief of Antrim;
is pleased to announce:
The appointment of Archibald
Duncan Ogilvie (Archie) McIntyre as Piper to the High Council of
Clan Donald Chiefs.
McIntyre is a long-serving member of Clan Donald. The McIntyres or
Macintyres (Mhic an t-Saoir) were originally Macdonalds. Tradition
tells us that the first man so named was one of the Chief�s
bodyguards who, together with his fellow bodyguards, were rowing the
Chief at sea when the bung came out and got hidden from view. With
the boat sinking, he instantly stuck his thumb in the hole, cut it
off with his dirk and went back to his oar and rowing, thus saving
all aboard from certain death. Thereafter he was named An t-Saoir,
the (ship�s) carpenter. His sons became Mhic an t-Saoir and so the
McIntyres were founded. 
As time passed, the McIntyres
became numerous enough to form their own independent clan and set
off to do so. They took boat and on making shore, the new Chief said
that where the lead white cow lay down to rest would be their land.
She took the herd and the Clan up the north side of Ben Cruachan
along Loch Etive until they came to Glenoe where she lay down to
rest. The McIntyres made that their home and there they remained for
the following many centuries.
The picture below is of Loch Etive
in Argyllshire with Ben Cruachan as the backdrop, taken from
Archie�s sister Kirsty�s house. The McIntyres fought alongside their
neighbours, the Stuarts of Appin, in the �45. The Suaicheantas
or Badge of the McIntyres is that of the Macdonalds, Fraoch Gorm,
A family of McIntyres were
hereditary pipers to the Chiefs of Clanranald and in 1983, Archie
was invited by the present Chief and Captain of Clanranald to take
up that position again. He did so, thus re-entering Clan Donald
Archie was brought up on the
mountain-side of Ben Cruachan, and on leaving school, he joined the
British Army and was a professional soldier from 1957 through 1964.
He was commissioned from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and
served with the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders and the Royal
Military Police. He soldiered in the United Kingdom, North Africa,
Cyprus, Portugal, and Kenya.
Archie has studied the pipes from
the age of six; initially taught by his father and later by
the renowned Pipe Major Donald MacLeod of the Seaforth Highlanders,
whose pupil he remained from 1957 until Pipe Major MacLeod's death
in 1984. Pipe Major MacLeod put Archie in for his first piping
competition and he won a number of prizes at the Highland Games.
On leaving the army, Archie went
into international business and travelled the world amongst other
capacities as Sales Director of British Telecom International,
always taking his practice chanter, and frequently his full
bagpipes, with him.
Archie has composed many pipe
tunes, a number of them for senior Clan Donald members. He is at
present composing a tune to be called The High Council of Clan
Donald Chiefs, to be played to announce the Chiefs' presence
when they meet in High Council.
After the Chief and his heirs,
Archie, as First Gentleman of the Household, is the senior member of
the Household of Clanranald, a position he has held for some
25-years. Two years ago was further appointed Head of Clanranald
On hearing the news of his
appointment, Archie said �I am very honoured with the appointment of
Piper to the High Council of Clan Donald Chiefs, which I believe to
be the greatest piping honour one could wish for.�
14 September 2005.
may have an example of McIntyre modesty here, or perhaps post-modern
coyness regarding what I would describe as commendable chicanery in
the service of one's King! Donald J. Macdonald of Castleton on the
marriage of Somerled and Ragnhild Olafsdottir relates that:
Olaf the Red must
have recognised that the rise of the young Somerled was a force
to be reckoned with. When the young Gaelic patriot sent messages
to him desiring the hand of his daughter in marriage, the proud
king at first refused disdainfully, telling him that the fair
Ragnhilda's hand was to be bestowed upon someone much more
important. Somerled bided his time�but not for long.
It chanced that on
an occasion when Olaf was on a voyage north with a few ships to
administer justice in Skye, his galley was at anchor in the lee
of the Point of Ardnamurchan. Somerled too was in his galley in
the same bay, probably by design. The story goes that in
Somerled's crew there was a skilful ship-wright, one Maurice
MacNeil, who suggested a plan to make Olaf see reason in regard
to the disposal of Ragnhilda's hand. The Gaelic chief agreed;
and the Saor Sleibhteach (Sleat Carpenter) swam across
under cover of darkness, bored several holes along the garboard
strake of Olaf's galley, stuffed them with tallow and retreated.
The two chiefs set
sail for Skye next morning, the galleys rounded the headland and
as they pitched and rolled in the Atlantic swell the tallow soon
gave way and Olaf's galley began to sink. The haughty King
hailed Somerled and requested help, but he refused any
assistance until Olaf agreed to the marriage of Ragnhilda.
Reluctantly the promise was given; and the carpenter of Sleat
dived over the side and plugged the holes with wooden pins which
he had thoughtfully provided.
Thus were the
fortunes of the Maclntyres assured, for Maurice was held high in
the esteem of the ruling family from that time. As late as the
18th century, the famous bard, Duncan Ban Macintyre (Mac an t-Saoir),
refers to the Saor Sleibhteach as his ancestor.
A romantic story,
perhaps, but like some others there may be a grain of truth in
it. In 1140 Somerled did marry his fair bride, and all
Macdonalds who claim descent from that union, and there must be
many thousands, may also claim to have the blood of this
romantic princess in their veins.
This would mean that the MacIntyres pre-date the
MacDonalds by 2 generations. The main house of the MacIntyres of
Glen Noe were certainly loyal to the MacSorley Kingdom and Macdonald
Lordship of the Isles throughout. RKWM Return to text.
If you have any comments, additions or corrections to this article,
please post them in the forum as a new thread
here. Please make the title of your post the title of the
article and put a link back to the article in your post. You will
have to register to join the forum.