Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Thus Culloden....

My journey to Culloden Muir started several years ago when I stumbled upon a series of books written by Diana Gabaldon called "The Outlander Series." I was fascinated by Jamie and Claire Frasier and lapped up  the historic accountings of their struggles to survive as Jacobites in Scotland. Actually, when I began reading this series I had absolutely no earthly idea what a Jacobite was.  The books are absolutely dripping with historic facts about Scottish and American history, and if you are paying attention and do a bit of exploring beyond the series, you become keenly aware of why North Carolina has the strong Scottish roots that it has.

If you've read any of my blog postings at all (especially the earlier ones where I explain my fascination with Celtic culture and my Celtic heritage) then you know that my journey of celtic discovery started as a child when I was curiously fascinated by my odd relatives. Through the years, with the help of my cousin Mike, we were able to finally able to find our several-times-removed grandfather John Murphy, who crossed to America from Ireland at the tender and stupid age of 26 long before the famine in 1807. Uncovering this young lad as the instigator of my life in America and my heritage was pivitol and sparked the curiosity for all things Celtic. 

Thus the Outlander Series, which taught me about Scottish history. Thus Culloden.

The Invitation....

It was about a year ago that I stumbled upon a group on Facebook called "The Circle of Gentlemen." I was  voyeuring through their photos when I happened to "like" (fb lingo) one of them. I was very shortly contacted by one of the Circle, who asked to "friend" me. (fb lingo for friends who aren't really real friends...sad really..but that's another post.) So Matthew Donnachie and I became friends and from there it snowballed. Scottish gentlemen and Jacobites started coming out of the woodwork - it was fun and entertaining and educational all at once. They are, after all, an educated, witty, charming and raucous lot. 

Matthew Donnachie
They are also passionate.

Their passion centers - as best I can tell - around two things. First, ensuring that Scottish history is never forgotten. Secondly, they are very passionate about the continued struggle to gain independence from England. I see both of these as the catalyst and motivational center of everything they do. 

One of those historic moments that should never be forgotten is the Battle of Culloden. This battle took place on Culloden Muir on April 16, 1746, between the army of the Hanoverian British government, led by the Duke of Cumberland, and the Scottish Jacobite forces of Charles Stuart, or as you may know him, Bonnie Prince Charlie. I encourage you to look this battle up - the bottom line result that is absolutely heartbreaking and tragic is that the thousands of Scottish clansmen who fought that day to restore Bonnie Prince Charlie to the throne, lost their lives in one of the bloodiest battles ever fought in Scotland. The fields of Culloden are commemorated to this day for this battle. And it is the Annual Lament of Culloden that I will be attending in just a few days time, at the invitation of The Circle of Gentlemen. 

I have a very tender heart where history is concerned. I can run over squirrels and barely look back (sorry)...but put me in the middle of an emotional historical moment and I'm a sap. Go figure. 

So standing on this sacred land is going to be moving, I just know it. Because as I stand there my thoughts will be of all of the men who fought so hard for something they wanted so badly and still to this day have not achieved. 

1 comment: