Ruadhnait inghean Ruaidhri


Ruadhnait inghean Ruaidhri was born in 1488 the only daughter of Allen Mac Ruaidhri and Florence MacIan of Ardnamurchan. She grew up in and around the castles of Borve on Benbecula and Tioram on Loch Moidart, where she learned to embroider, dance, sing and to manage a household. She comes from a family of strong and educated men and women, and so her hyper-curious mind came as no surprise to them, and they allowed her to follow her love for learning from a young age.

In 1508, Ruadhnait married Cúán Mac Colum, and left Moidert forever to start a life together with him in Loch nam Madadh. They had two sons.

In 1520, Cúán was killed in a fishing accident.

In 1521, Ruadhnait married Eol ua Tadhg of Larne, whom fortune had washed ashore following the same storm which had killed her first husband.

Family History-

Somerled MacGillebride MacGilladamnan, King of Argyle, King of the South Isles from 1156, was killed in 1164. Somerled's defeat of the Norse King of Man in 1156 gained independence for southwestern Scotland that survived for over four centuries.

They found Somerled fishing, and to him made their offer. Somerled replied, "Islesmen, there is a newly run salmon in the black pool yonder. If I catch him, I will go with you as your Chief; if I catch him not, I shall remain where I am." The Islemen, a race who believed implicitly in omens, were content, and Somerled cast his line over the black pool. Soon after a shining salmon leapt in the sun, and the skilful angler had the silvery fish on the river bank.

The Islemen acclaimed him their leader, and as such he sailed back with them "over the sea to Skye," where the people joyously proclaimed that the Lord of the Isles had come. Other accounts say that the scene of Somerled's first achievements was in Morven, and his conquest of the Isles later.

Beathag ingean Somerled, prioress of Iona from c 1203 until her death c.1230.

** Trinity Temple **Teampull na Trionaid (Trinity Temple) is the most famous ecclesiastical building in North Uist. The ruin stands on the summit of a knoll on the Carinish promontory. It dates from the early twelfth century and is supposed to have been founded by Beathag, who was the first prioress of Iona from c 1203. The thirteenth century saw the rebuilding and enlargement of the structure by Princess Beatrice and later by Annie ingean Ruaraidh (see below), who was a chieftainess at the time of Robert the Bruce. After the Reformation, the church fell into disuse, but in its time it was recognised as an important site in the Outer Isles and was for many decades a centre for the training of priests; in fact, it has been claimed as the oldest university in Scotland! Ronald, (a.k.a: Reginald, Thane of Argyll / Brother Ranald of Paisley)- King of the South Isles died 1207. He married Fiona (a.k.a: Sister Fiona of Paisley), daughter of the Earl of Moray.

In 1120, following his father's death he took the title of Thane of Argyll and inherited Kintyre Islay and all the other islands to the south of Ardnamurchan.

He quarreled with Dugall his brother after the death of their father over the possession of the Isle of Man; it reverted to Ragnvald the Norse king who continued to claim overlordship of the northern isles of Lewis, Skye and the Uists.

In 1180, he was granted a charter to Paisley Abbey.

At some time after 1196, bought a large portion of Caithness from King William I.

At some time before 1200, became a brother of the order at Paisley Abbey.

In December 1203, he founded the monastery of Saddell in Kintyre on the island of Iona.

Children of Ranald Mac Somerled and Fiona are:

Dhomhuill Mac Ranald, b. Scotland; d. 1250, Skipness Kintyre Argyleshire Scotland.

A daughter- name unknown

Ruaidhri Mac Ranald, d. 1268.

Angus Mac Ranald

Ruaidhri of the Isles, The Lord of Garmoran & the North Isles, Lord of Vist & Barra died 1268.

In 1207, after his father's death he inherited some estates in Northern Kintyre and Ugadale.

In 1210, after his Uncle Angus' death, he retained Angus' lands of Garmoran - from Ardnamurchan to Glenelg and the disputed claim to Arran and Butte which he was forced by the Crown to return to Angus' grand-daughter Jane, wife of Alexander Stuart.

In 1211, Invaded Ireland while allied with his brother Dhomhuill and Thomas of Galloway to plunder the town of Derry and the peninsula of Innisowen.

In 1266, he was allowed to keep his lands in Garmoran after the treaty was signed at the Dominican Priory in Perth.

In 1212, with his brother Dhomhuill, he returned to Ireland to pillaged the churches.

In 1249, Lost the islands of Bute and Arran when King Alexander, II invaded the Isles to quell the rebellion against him as King of Scotland.

In 1261, the kings of the Hebrides sent Ruairi to Norway with letters of complaint when Macantagart of Ross made a raid on Skye.

In 1263, he reclaimed the island of Bute from the Stuarts when he and the Norwegian forces attacked Rothesay Castle on Bute.

In 1266, he was dispossessed of Skye, Lewis and Bute but acquired the islands of Uist, Barra, Eigg and Rhum (which had formerly belonged to the king of Man) after the treaty was signed.

Children of Ruaidhri Mac Ranald are:

Alan Mac Ruaidhri, d. ca. 1285.

Dugal MacRuaidhri.

Alan Mac Ruaidhri (died ca. 1285)

In 1284, he represented the western isles at the Parliament in Scone to regulate the Scottish succession.

In 1315, He or his descendants were rewarded by King Robert the Bruce for services rendered; they received Lorne (forfeited by the MacDougalls), Garmoran, the North Isles and the remaining part of Lochaber.

Children of Alan Mac Ruaidhri are:

Ruaidhri Mac Ruairi.

Ranald Mac Ruairi.

Lochlan Mac Ruairi, d. 1318.

Christina Mac Ruairi

Ruaidhri Mac Ruari-

Children of Ruaidhri Mac Ruari are (of whom only Amie survived to adulthood):

Ranald Mac Ruairi

Amie Mac Ruairi, b. GarmoranScotland.

Aland Mac Ruairi.

Amie ingean Ruaraidh, Heiress of the MacRuaris. Married John - Lord of the Isles ( a.k.a: Eoin Morde Yle / Good John of Islay, 1st Lord of the Isles / Ian Fraoch). He divorced her and her land went to him in 1372.

Children of John Mac Dhomhuill and Amie ingean Ruairidh are:

John Mac Dhomhuill, d. Bef. 1380.

Ranald Mac Dhomhiull, d. 1386.

Godfrey Mac Dhomhuill.

Ruari Mac Dhomhuill ( a.k.a: Ranald Mac Dhomhuill, High Steward of the Isles), received his mother's lands by charter confirmed by Robert II, 1373. He was Lord of Garmoran, died 1386. He married a lady of the Stuart clan. She was born in Athol Scotland.

Ancestor of Clanranald and Glengarry

Children of Ranald Mac Dhomhuill and MISS STEWART are:

Alexander Macruari of Moydart d. 1429; m. a lady of the Steward clam from Appin, Scotland.

Donald Mac Dhomhuill b. Scotland; d. 1420; m. MISS FRASER; b. Lovatt, Scotland.

Alexander Macruari of  Moydart, Laird of Moidart died c. 1429 (was beheaded by order of James 1. ).

Allen Macruari, Captain of Clan Ronald, who became chief of the Clanranald in 1481, was one of the principal supporters of Angus Og, the young Lord of the Isles, at the battle of Bloody Bay, and he likewise followed Alexander of Lochalsh, nephew of the Lord of the Isles, in his invasion of Ross and Cromarty in 1491, when he received a large portion of the booty taken on the occasion. In 1495, on the second expedition of James IV to the Isles he was one of those who surrendered. In 1509 he was tried, convicted, and executed, in presence of the king at Blair Athol, but for what crime is not known.

He married Florence, daughter of MacIan of Ardnamurchan, and had four sons and a daughter -

1. Ranald Bane; obtained a charter of the lands of Moydart and Arisaig, Dec 14, 1540, and died in 1541. He married, and one son, Ranald Galda, or the stranger, from his being fostered by his mother's relations, the Frasers.

During the 1400's there were long running feuds between the various branches of Clan Donald. These culminated in 1544 with the battle of Blar-na-leine.  The battle was between the supporters of Ranald, son of the fifth chief and his cousin John of Moidart who opposed him. On Ranald's side were the Frasers of Lovat and siding with John were the MacDonnells of Keppoch and the Clan Cameron. In the end the Frasers were defeated and John of Moidart became the chief of Clan Ranald.

2. Alexander, who had three sons, John, Farquhar, and Angus, and a daughter;

3. Ranald Oig

4. Angus Reochson.

5.Ruadhnait inghean Ruaidhri, (born 1488) She moved to Lochmaddy, on the island North Uist in 1508 with her husband, Cúán Mac Colum, a merchant and fisherman and their two sons.

The Castles-

** Castle Tioiram **Castle Tioram-

Castle Tioram's primary importance is as a principal stronghold of the Kingdom/ Lordship of the Isles and seat of Clanranald for over 500 years from the late fourteenth century onwards.

The earliest dated reference to the Castle is in a confirmation by Robert II in 1373 of a charter with a date some time after 1346, granted by John, Lord of the Isles, to his son Ranald.

During its time as the seat of Clanranald, Castle Tioram existed as an administrative centre, where laws were enforced and judgements given. The Castle also served as a vital focal point of the Gaelic-Norse culture of the Gaidhealtachd. The Castle's central role ceased following its forfeiture, loss of military and commercial significance in the seventeenth century. As a consequence, the Castle was effectively abandoned as a habitable building in the late seventeenth/early eighteenth century.

Borve Castle-

** Borve Castle ** Borve (Buirgh in Gaelic) Castle is a tower-house or hall-house, which was built in the 14th century. At this time, the owners of Benbecula were the Clan Ranald and it is thought that Borve was owned by Ranald, son of John of Islay in the 1370s. It was also owned by another Ranald (known as Ranald of Castellborf) in 1625. Now in ruins, it is located 150 metres from the B892 road near Lionacleit. The remains can be seen of a rectangular structure measuring around 15 x 12 metres with very thick walls.

Disclaimer- All parts pertaining to Ruadhnait inghean Ruaidhri are fictionalized. Ruadhnait is the persona name of Brenda Tighe, an active member of the Shire of Panther Vale a sub-group of the Society for Creative Anachronism. All other people and events mentioned are historically accurate to the best of my knowledge. The information on this page comes from the following web pages:

Sources- Note: Extracts taken from Frank Thomson "The Uists and Barra" published by David and Charles 1974

Page updated on January 12, 2016.