(Former Month's Feature) - February, 2007
For a discussion of the origin, history and use of tartan, see our previous article on "MacDonald Weapons And Dress." We wish to take this opportunity to introduce the new MacDonnell Of Leinster tartans. We also would encourage other Irish clans to design their own. The oldest records of tartan cloth extant are from Ireland and it is a pleasant and colorful means of expressing clan pride, as well as boosting the Irish economy. In order for us to produce any of the MacDonnell Of Leinster tartans, we will have to have ten confirmed orders, with deposits, of each tartan before we can order from the weaver. When we have determined sufficient interest, we will obtain a current price from the weaver. So far, we have interest in 4 orders of the Association tartan (but no deposits), and one of MacDonnell Of Leinster Dress.
Source: Wilson’s of Bannockburn ‘1819'
Thread Count: B22, R4, B4, R8, B30, R4, K30, G30, R8, G4, R4, G22
This was Wilson’s rendering of the original MacDonald tartan found at Culloden and became the standard MacDonald regimental sett worn during the 19th Century. Clan Donald of Skye uses a tartan of scarlet with bands of pale green, while Islay uses this more ancient pattern with the very narrow black line (to indicate the Line of the Tanister of Islay).
Source: Designed in 2006 by John E McDaniel for
The MacDonnell of Leinster Association.
Sindex OWO, GWG
Thread Count: O16, W2, O4, W6, O24, W2, K24, G24, W6, G4, W2, G16
This sett uses the ancient pattern of TS419, but substitutes the colors of Ireland, Orange, White and Green, as found in the Irish National Flag, while retaining the black line that designates the line of The Tanister of Islay, or Clan Donald South. This tartan may be used by members of The MacDonnell Of Leinster Association, whether MacDonnells by blood or not.
Source: Designed in 2006 by John E.
McDaniel for Clan MacDonnell Of
Thread Count: B16, R2, B4, R6, B24, R2, K24, G24, R6, G4, R2, G24, K24, G24, R6, G4, R2, G16
This design is based on TS419, the oldest surviving MacDonald sett, so as to be clearly identifiable as a MacDonald Tartan. However, whereas 419 is based on alternating blocks with green and blue backgrounds in a 1 to 1 ratio, the Leinster sett alternates green to blue blocks in a 2 to 1 ratio so as to create an overall green caste, which is deemed to be appropriate for an Irish branch of the Clan. TS419 is generally thought to be the sett used by MacDonalds in Islay. It includes the black line which is believed in Islay to denote the line of the Tanister of Islay, Ián Mhór, progenitor of The MacDonalds Of Islay And Kintyre and of The MacDonnells Of Dun Naibhig And The Glens. Although Leinster’s progenitor was the uncle of Ián Mhór, we deem it appropriate to also base our tartan on TS419, the earliest known sett of Clan Donald.
Source: Designed in 2006
by John E. McDaniel for
Clan MacDonnell Of
Thread Count: B16, R2, B4, R6, B24, R2, K24, W24, R6, W4, R2, W24, K24, G24, R6, G4, R2, G16
The MacDonnell Of Leinster Dress Tartan is created by using the MacDonnell Of Leinster “Cath Dath” sett, and substituting a white block for one of the two green blocks, to achieve a light and beautiful sett.
2006 by John
Thread Count: Br16, R2, Br4, R6, Br24, R2, K24, G24, R6, G4, R2, G24, K24, G24, R6, G4, R2, G16
The MacDonnell Of Leinster Hunting Tartan is created by using the MacDonnell Of Leinster “Cath Dath” sett, and substituting a brown block for the blue block, to achieve a very effective and attractive hunting sett.
Source: Cockburn Collection No 25
sIndex: BRB, GRG
Thread Count: B16, R2, B4, R6, B24, R2, K24, G24, R6, G4, R2, G16
Forty two MacDonald tartans are currently listed by Lyon Court, while more than sixty are recorded by Wilsons, not including the four tartans designed by The MacDonnell Of Leinster Association, even though, with the exception of TS419, none of them have any heraldic significance. TS419 is the oldest fragment of MacDonald tartan extant, was from 1746 and was found buried on the field at Culloden. Needless to say, the colors were badly faded after it had “lain in the ground for all those years.” We can not be certain which branch of the clan is represented in this sett, although apparently it was worn by a southern MacDonald, due to the inclusion of the black line designating the line of the Tanister of Islay.
Source: W & A K Johnston
Thread Count: B24, R6, B4, R2, B16, R2, B4,R6, B24, R2, K24, G24, R6, G4, R2, G16, R2, G4, R6,G24, K24, W4, K8, W32, K2, R8, K2, W32, K8, W4, K24, R2
Not of ancient derivation, dress tartans came into use in the Victorian era and were originally worn by the women of the Clan who preferred lighter colored patterns. They had a white background and were variations of the clan pattern.
Source: Not attributed
Thread Count: DG24, W2, E4, W4, E4, W2, E24, W2, E4, W4, LG4, W2, LG48
This sett is accepted by some as authentic, but others disagree. Hunting tartans are worn for sport and outdoor activities. Brown, green, or some other dark color usually predominates in these informal tartans. When a clan has a brightly colored tartan, it is deemed unsuitable for hunting, even though the game are color blind, and hunting setts are intended to make the wearer less conspicuous, apparently to other hunters. Perhaps the true purpose of hunting tartans is man hunting, or combat!
Source: Vestiarium Scoticum
Thread Count: R6, B20, K24, G6, K2, G2, K2, G60, W8
This design first appeared in the Vestiarium Scoticum, a source produced by the Sobieski Stuart brothers and generally thought to be spurious. They claimed to be the heirs to a manuscript once in the hands of Prince Charles Stuart himself, but the original was never produced for public examination. Sir James MacDonald of Knockrinsay, 16th and last Lord of The Isles, died in 1626, before tartans came to be identified with clan allegiance. However, it is an attractive design and, perhaps, when we elect the next Lord of The Isles, he may wish to adopt the sett.
Thread Count: R16, LG2, G4, R4, A2, R2, W2, R2, A2, R4, G6, R2, W2, R12, A2, R2, G24, R2, A2, R32, A2, R2, G24, R2, A2, R12, W2, R2, B8, R2, W2, R4, G6, LG2, R4, LG2, G6, R6, W2, R2, B4, R2, W2, R16
This is the MacAlister tartan certified by their chief in 1845. William and Andrew Smith’s “Authenticated Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland” included sources of George Hunter, an Army clothier who searched the Highlands for old tartans prior to 1822. Hunter may be the source of this sett. Accounts of Flora MacDonald in 1746 suggest that MacAlisters wore the MacDonald tartan until after Culloden.
Source: Lord Lyon and A & W Smith
Thread Count: B12, R4, B4, R6, B24, R4, K22, W4, G22, R6, G4, R4, G12
This is the count from the Lord Lyon’s records multiplied by four. It corresponds to the sett given by A & W Smith in “The Authenticated Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland” (1850). The tartan is distinguished from the MacDonald standard sett by the two white lines. There is a certified sample of this sett in the Highland Society of London collection.
Source: Fort William Museum, Cargill fragment.
Thread Count: GB, LR2, C8, G4, C96, A2, B26, C12, G80, C4, B4, LR2, C12
All of the several MacDonald of Glencoe setts derive from a piece labeled “found in Glencoe” with no suggestion of it being MacDonald.
Source: J G MacKay No 9
Thread Count: B16, R2, B4, R6, B24, R2, K24, G24, R6, G4, R2, G8, W2
This sett is listed by W & A Johnston (1906) as No.112. There is a sample certified by ‘Glengarry’ in the collection of the Highland Society of London from the period 1815-16, but it is not known whether the thread count corresponds to MacKay’s record illustrated here. The Glengarrys are cadets of Clanranald and it is noteworthy that, as opposed to Clanranald’s two white lines, Glengarry’s sett displays only one.
Source: W & A Johnston
Thread Count: B2, R8, G24, R6, B12, A2, R48, B2, R4, G4
The Scottish Tartan Society pictures this sett in gray, rather than red. Setts are sometimes woven in different colors, but we believe that red is the correct color for this Keppoch sett, as indicated by the thread count, and by the great majority of Keppoch tartans we have seen.
Thread Count: R72, G4, R10, G32
The Sleate tartan originated in the 18th Century, after Culloden and the conquest of the Highlands. As supporters of the crown, the Sleate chiefs were given supremacy within Clan Donald and this sett was called MacDonald of Sleate, Lord of The Isles, a pretension that only the Sleate chiefs and the crown recognized. The pattern was taken from an old MacDonald painting in Armadale Castle, although it appears to differ somewhat from the painting. Whether intentional or a mistake, it is no more authentic than its’ pedigree.
It would seem to this writer that we owe our ancestors the duty to validate this and other traditions of the Clan so as to place honor in its proper place, the duty, rather than privilege, of all Domhnallaich.
Marcach MacOengus Ogh, progenitor of The MacDonnells Of Leinster, left Scotland long before clans were identified by their tartan. He and his descendants adopted the traditions of their patrons, the ÓKellys and FitzGeralds, and therefore never adopted a clan tartan or badge. We believe that it is appropriate to do so and have given considerable thought to design according to the traditions that we know about.
And so the tradition of the tartans of Clan Donald and its septs continue to evolve. New tartans are created, recorded and displayed, while others fade from memory. The concept itself is changing. The Flora MacDonald, shown above, is the first recorded “dancing” tartan.” Even The University Of Tennessee recently voted on a school tartan Other tartans have been created by those eager to declare their “nobless,” while many other more noble descendants of Somhairle, living outside Scotland, have no tartan at all, nor do they pretend to be better than their neighbors.
TS1506 MacDonell of Keppoch
TS1020 MacDonald of Glencoe
TS873 MacDonald of Sleate
Other MacDonald Tartans
Information on these tartans, such as thread count, is
available from the Scottish Tartans Authority Website.
WR1387, MacDonald of Staffa
Source: Wilson’s of Bannockburn
Thread Count: R19, B4, R5, B4, R5, K4, G4, R5, G4, R22, G4, R5, G19, W2, G19, R21, W4, R21, B22, R4, G4, R22, G4, R4, K2, G22, K2, R4, G4, R20, G4, R4, G4, R4, G4, R4, G4, R22, B4, R24
TS971, MacDonald of Lochmaddy
Source: Capt. MacDonald of Lochmaddy
Thread Count: G6, R4, G2, R32, W2, A4, R4, B8, R4, A4, W2, R4, G28, R4, A4, W2, R26
TS1562, MacDonald of Kingsburgh
Source: Old and Rare (1893)
Thread Count: R6, G6, Y2, R36, W2, G42, Y2, G2, Y6
D W Stewart recorded this pattern from a relic worn by Prince Charles Edward and hidden in a cleft of a rock. It was later recovered and eventually preserved in the Advocates’ Library in Edinburgh.
TS79, MacDonald of Glenaladale
Source: Specimen at St Peters
Thread Count: B3, A1, R30, B32, R3, W1, R3, G23, R31, B3, W1
Said to have belonged to Alexander MacDonald of Glenaladale at the time of Culloden and taken to Canada when he and his son emigrated in 1772.
TS 1668, MacDonald Of Boisdale
Source: Cockburn Collection
Thread Count: R32, W2, B12, W2, R8, LG2, G12, LG2, R8, LG2, G32, LG2, R48, W2, B64, W2, R12, W2, B12, W2, R32
This was sett No 118 of the Highland Society of London.
TS877, MacAlister of Glenbarr
Source: MacGregor-Hastie Collection
Thread Count: R8, P6, R68, P4, R4, G28, R4, P4, R16, G8, R8, G8, R4, G26
This sett has been adopted by MacAlister societies in America and Australia and is related to the MacDonald group of tartans. The tartan may be purchased from the Clan MacAlister Centre at Glenbarr to aid the restoration fund for the family seat.
TS904 MacDonald Of Sleate
TS511 MacDonell Of Keppoch
TS471 MacDonell Of Glengarry
TS1012 MacDonald Of Glencoe
TS1366 Lord Of The Isles
TS927 MacDonald Hunting
TS1997s MacDonald Dress
TS419 - Oldest MacDonald Sett
MacDonnell Of Leinster Hunting
MacDonnell Of Leinster Dress
MacDonnell Of Leinster "Cath Dath" (Battle Colors)
The MacDonnell Of Leinster Association Tartan
MacDonald of Islay & Kintyre and MacDonnell of Dun
Naibhig & The Glens
“Cath Dath” (Battle Color) of Clan Donald (WR420)
(Tartans Of The MacDonalds)