To mark 373 years since the second Battle of Inverlochy, we've released our take on Iain Lom MacDonald's epic account of the battle, "Là Inbhir Lòchaidh" ("The Battle of Inverlochy").
We'll be performing this LIVE at our headline show for Celtic Connections 25th Anniversary Party on Sunday February 4th!
Although widely believed that Robert Burns was Scotland’s first Poet Laureate, Charles II named Iain Lom MacDonald as Scotland’s Poet Laureate during his 17th century reign. However as the Stuart line was unseated in 1689, and the subsequent Jacobite Risings failed to permanently restore the Stuarts, their status became a moot point. His stature has further been diminished by the fact that he composed exclusively in Gaelic, which even at that time was a language in decline.
Famously stating, when offered a sword to battle, “You battle; I’ll tell”, Iain Lom MacDonald sought out a high vantage point above the battleground below to record a blow-by-blow account (often in gory detail that would make the most hardened ‘Game of Thrones’ viewer flinch).
Set against the backdrop of the ‘War of the Three Kingdoms’, the Battle of Inverlochy took place on the morning of a freezing February 2, 1645 on a hill beside Inverlochy Castle, near Fort William. The battle saw a force of 1500 Irish & Highland Royalists fight against 3000 Scots Covenanters. Aside from its wider political importance, the battle was of enormous local significance as one of the largest and most decisive clashes in the centuries-long struggle for Highland supremacy between the MacDonald and Campbell clans. Ultimately the MacDonalds defeated a Campbell army twice their number and forced the Marquess of Argyll to flee in his galley before the fray had even started.
Iain Lom, bard to the Keppoch MacDonalds and later the first poet laureate of Scotland, played an important role in the build-up to the action, guiding the Royalist forces on the final stage of their heroic counter-march through 30 miles of wintery mountain passes and providing the crucial intelligence that helped surprise the Campbell force lying in wait at Inverlochy.
In marking the anniversary of the battle with this new single, Mànran hope to spark a new interest in this fascinating and important time in Scottish history while encouraging a renewed respect for the wealth of Gaelic historical sources and the role they have to play in creating a broader, more nuanced view of Scottish history.