Clan Donald

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Clan Donald Magazine No11 (1987) Online

The Clan Donald Centre

Greetings from the Clan Centre on the Isle of Skye. In the last issue of the Clan Donald Magazine (Vol. 10), I wrote about our progress here on Skye and I'm happy to report that since then as a visitor attraction we have continued to grow in quality and popularity.

This quality of our work was recognised last year when we received a total  of seven awards,  covering a wide range of categories. First for the Architecture of our Stables conversion we were in receipt of the supreme award for Scotland the Regeneration of Scotland Award. In the same category, we were given a Civic Trust Award by the Highland Regional Council for the work at the Stables.

hi Tourism, we achieved recognition from the British Guild of Travel Writers and the British Tourist Authority.

The Plasterwork at the Stables received the Scottish Region Award given by the British Guild of Plasterers. Lastly, our Museum Exhibition was runner-up in the Museum of Scotland Awards and our marketing efforts were recognised by the British Tourist Authority. This was just reward for the hard work and dedication of all of the staff here at Armadale and for the direction and leadership given to us by the Board of Trustees. All of this would not have been possible though, without the continued generous support of the Glencoe Foundation Inc. of the USA and every MacDonald or adherent owes this organisation a great debt of gratitude.

Unfortunately, in today's hectic ways, you can't get by on what youi did yesterday, but only on what you are doing today and what you will do in the future. I'm happy to report that our Board of Trustees are not a group to rest on their laurels and already further development plans are being looked at.

When we purchased the land in 1972, we had a great deal of work ahead of us. The gardens were in a particularly bad state. The buildings were ruined and unsafe, yet here we are today, a nourishing tourist development with one of the finest gardens in the Highlands and a Museum Exhibition that is enjoyed by 40,000 visitors annually. The Trustees are presently considering some restoration plans for the Bryce Section of Armadale Castle. Presently only a shell, this building could provide a home for our valuable collection of Estate papers, Library Books and Maps and perhaps allow us to offer Summer courses on the study of the Clan's history. The building could also provide us with a much needed auditorium, perhaps to seat as many as 250-300 people. Rooms will be provided for Exhibition expansion and Galleries, with the ground floor providing a great hall for Museums expansion and Clan gatherings. What's the price tag on all this you may ask, well we don't expect much change from a 1,000,000 investment.

Raising this sum will be an extremely difficult task and perhaps impossible, but we are going to try and we hope that many of the reputed 3,000,000 MacDonalds worldwide, will give us support.

The work of the Trust will be forever on-going, as there are so many Clan sites, both on and off Skye, in urgent need of attention. To add to this is our commitment to promote our Cultural heritage, this we do by our sponsorship of Pibroch seminars, for the John McFadyen Trust. Our sponsorship of the Writer's Awards at the An Comunn Gaidhealach Mod; our purchase of Clarsachs for the local school and the creation of a Clarsach School here at Armadale; to name but a few. In addition, we developed projects for the restoration of the Well of the Seven Heads Monument in Invergarry and the preservation of some historic stones on Islay.

Presently we are working closely with the Finlaggan Trust for the restoration of a cottage to house an Exhibition and to provide a cover for the carved stones on the Island, while the ruined Chapel is stabilized and restored. We will also be developing a project to repair and clean up the monument site, commemorating the Glencoe massacre, this we hope to complete in 1987.

If you feel you can be of some help in accomplishing the goals of the Trust, please don't hesitate to contact us.

To anyone coming to Skye in the near future, come down to the clan Centre and see for yourself how our Clan has once more assumed its rightful role of Ceannas Nan Gaidheal, the Headship of the Gael, setting examples for others to follow.

Yours sincerely,
Rob McDonald Parker.
International Director.

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