The Clan Donald has exercised a powerful influence on Highland history. Translated literally as ‘children of Donald’ it was named after Donald, grandson of the medieval Gaelic hero Somerled.
Donald gave his descendants and followers the name of MacDonald or the son of Donald. The Clan’s leaders were Lords of the Isles until the forfeiture of the Lordship in 1493, when the Scottish King took the title away. However, the influence of Clan Donald survived.
The seven main branches of the Clan (Antrim, Ardnamurchan, Clanranald, Glencoe, Glengarry, Keppoch and Sleat) held extensive estates from Ulster to Skye. Gradually, these lands were sold or confiscated. In 1971, the last remaining lands to be held by one of the Clan chiefs came up for sale. These were the lands in Skye of which Armadale is the heart. They were purchased by a charitable trust, the Clan Donald Lands Trust, founded by (and now supported by) Clan Donald members worldwide. Clan Donald is still the largest clan in Scotland and the descendants of thousands of MacDonalds who emigrated also make it the largest in the world.
“Na sloigh as feart san gcruinne A muirn a mire a bhfighnamh; Ni comhnairt bheith ‘ na bhfeagmhais: Ni h-eibhneas gan Chlainn Domhnall”
“The best people in the round world, their joyousness, their keenness, their effectiveness; without them is no strength; it is no joy without Clan Donald”