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Tartan Tuesdays - MacKay Clan

Tartan Tuesdays - MacKay Clan
By Sophie 1 years ago 744 Views 1 comment

Forget Throwback Thursdays. Here, at Scotweb, we're doing Tartan Tuesdays!

This week we look at the MacKay Tartan and learn all about the clan.


The tartan pictured is our 16oz, double width, pure new wool MacKay Modern Tartan.

Find it here: https://www.scotweb.co.uk/tartan/MacKay-/40508?filter_searchterm=mackay%20modern

For other variants of the MacKay Tartan, click here: https://www.scotweb.co.uk/tartan/MacKay/20505?filter_searchterm=mackay


The Clan

The MacKay Clan is an ancient, and once powerful, Scottish clan. The clan comes from the far north, in the Scottish Highlands, but has roots in the old province of Moray.


The Name

The name “MacKay” comes from the Gaelic “Mac Aoidh,” meaning ‘Son of Aodh.’ or ‘Son of Fire’. The feminine form is “Nic Aoidh,’ meaning ‘Daughter of Aoidh.’ or ‘Daughter of Fire’.

See the bottom of this article for all septs connected to this clan.


Clan Crest

The motto for this clan crest is 'Manu Forti' which means 'with a strong hand'.




Origins of the Clan

The MacKays are believed to descend from the ancient tribes, that existed in Scotland, called the Picts. The name is also found from ancient times in Holland, where the MacKays became noted for their many branches in the region. Each house acquiring a status and influence that was envied by the princess of the region.

The MacKay name is also found in Ireland, from ancient times. Several tribes from the northern area of Ireland, which was once part of one of the ancient Scottish kingdoms known as Dál Riata, moved across the sea to Scotland.

The MacKays in Scotland were seated in Strathnaver, north of Sutherland.Although the exact origin of the Clan MacKay is unknown, it is generally accepted that they belonged to the early Celtic population of Scotland

The MacKay clan played a powerful force in politics, beginning in the 14th century, supporting Robert the Bruce. MacKays became famous for strength, courage and skill in soldiering and were involved in endless clan battles against the Keiths, Rosses, Gunns, Sinclairs, Sutherlands and others, and wars abroad.

In the centuries that followed, they were very anti-Jacobite. They played an important role in the military activities of both Scotland and Europe. The Highland Clearances had dire ramifications for the clan, but since then they have spread throughout the world and have provided it with many famous and influential descendants.


Varrich Castle

Varrich Castle was the ancient seat of the chief of Clan MacKay, but the chief later moved to Tongue House.

The MacKay homeland is Strathnaver, extending along the north coast from Caithness in the east, through Ross and Cromarty, to Cape Wrath in the west. The southerly extent was the country of Sutherland.

The pipes

The ‘Clan Tune’ is The MacKay’s March. The MacKay clan has been associated with piping since time immemorial and the MacKays were hereditary pipers to the MacKenzies. Kenneth MacKay became famous at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 by playing War or Peace in front of the regimental square of the Cameron Highlanders during a cavalry charge.

Although pipers were not officially recognized as such until 1854, a MacKay piper was the first piper known to have served in a regular British army unit. In 1633, the piper was transferred from the (continental) Scots Brigate to the (later) Royal Scots.


Clan Septs and Variant Spellings

The following surnames are historically related and may also wear these tartans.

Allan, Allanson, Aue, Ave, Ay, Aye, Bain, Baine, Baines, Bane, Bayin, Bayn, Bayne, Baynes, Baynne, Bean, Beanes, Beine, Bene, Bhaine, Caw, Coid, Fail, Fall, Heth, Kay, Key, Macallan, Macallane, Macaoidh, Macath, Macaw, Macay, Macbain, Macca, Maccaa, Maccaidh, Maccaoidh, Maccaw, Maccawe, Maccay, Maccey, Maccoid, Maccoy, Maccrie, Maccue, Maceda, Maceth, Macethe, Macfaell, Macfail, Macfal, Macfale, Macfall, Macfaul, Macfauld, Macfaull, Macfayle, Macfoill, Macfyall, Macgaa, Macgaw, Macgee, Macghee, Macghie, Macheth, Machie, Maciye, Macka, Mackaa, Mackaay, Mackai, Mackau, Mackaw, Mackawe, Mackay, Macke, Mackeay, Mackee, Mackeiy, Mackew, Mackey, Mackie, Mackphaill, Macky, Mackye, Macpaill, Macpaul, Macphael, Macphaell, Macphail, Macphaile, Macphaill, Macphale, Macphaul, Macphaull, Macphayll, Macphell, Macphial, Macphiel, Macqha, Macqua, Macquade, Macquaid, Macque, Macquery, Macquey, Macquhae, Macquid, Macquiod, Macquoid, Macvail, Macvain, Macvale, Macvane, Macwhaugh, Macwhaw, Macwhey, Macwhy, Macye, Makaw, Makay, Makca, Makcaw, Makcawe, Makcoe, Makfaill, Makfale, Makfele, Makie, Makkaw, Makkcae, Makke, Makkee, Makkey, Makkie, Makphaile, Maky, Morgan, Morgund, Murgan, Neelson, Neillsone, Neilson, Neilsone, Neilsoun, Neilsoune, Neleson, Nelesoun, Nelson, Nelsone, Nelsonne, Nelsoun, Neylsone, Nickphaile, Nielson, Nilson, Nilsone, Nilsoune, Nylson, Pal, Paul, Paule, Paull, Paulson, Paulsoun, Poilson, Poilsone, Poilsoun, Pol, Pole, Poleson, Pollard, Pollsoun, Polson, Polsone, Polsoun, Polsun, Polyson, Polysoun, Poulson, Quaid, Quay, Quoid, Reay, Scobie, Strathnaver, Vail, Williamson.

Grace (Mackay) Bird 1 years ago at 21:33
One of the famous Mackays who left Caithness after the Highland Clearances was Robert Mackay who emigrated to Canada with his brother. Robert went on to become a senator. His daughter, Cairine Reay (Mackay) Wilson, was appointed the first female senator of Canada in 1930.