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May in Minginish

Fairy Pools

May Days

May 16

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"One-eyed woman on a one-eyed horse
Lead by a one-eyed man
On they went to Castle MacLeod
To do the best they can"

~ Matt McGinn

Armchair travel your way through dance and history to Minginish, and reel through this beautiful region located on the western side of Isle of Skye, known for its stunning landscapes, including the Cuillin mountain range, picturesque villages, dramatic coastlines, and bloody Clan history. Notable sites within Minginish include the Fairy Pools, Glen Brittle, and the Talisker Distillery. Located on the northern slopes of the magnificent Black Cuillin range, Skye’s famous Fairy Pools are beautiful crystal-clear blue pools on the Allt Coire a' Mhadaidh (Burn of the Dog), which can be seen snaking down the hillside of Coire na Creiche into Glen Brittle where it becomes the River Brittle. In 1601 this area was the scene of the last of Scotland’s Clan battles, and one of the bloodiest ever recorded in clan history. It is here the MacDonalds of Sleat and the MacLeods of Dunvegan saw the end of the long and brutal campaign called the "Wars of the One-Eyed Woman", sparked by unfortunate marriage between the clans! 🧚‍♀️ 🌊 👁️

May in Minginish

The Battle of Coire na Creiche, which marked the culmination of the "War of the One-Eyed Woman," took place in the summer of 1601.  This battle was the final significant conflict between Clan MacDonald and Clan MacLeod on the Isle of Skye.


"Coire na Creiche" is a Scottish Gaelic term that translates to "Corrie of the Foray" or "Corrie of the Spoils." In this context, "coire" refers to a corrie or a hollow in the mountains, and "creich" translates to foray, plunder, or spoils. This name is fitting for the location of the battle due to its historical use as a hideaway for stolen cattle during raids!


The "War of the One-Eyed Woman" was a conflict between Clan MacDonald of Sleat and Clan MacLeod of Dunvegan that took place around 1601. The war was sparked by an incident involving Margaret, the daughter of Rory Mor MacLeod, who married Donald Gorm Mor MacDonald as part of a peace agreement between the rival clans.


In Highland tradition, their marriage had a trial period of one year, known as "handfasting." During this period, Margaret lost an eye. When the trial year ended, Donald Gorm Mor MacDonald sent her back to her family, accompanied by a one-eyed man, a one-eyed horse, and a one-eyed dog, which was considered a grave insult by the MacLeods. This led to a violent response from Rory Mor MacLeod, culminating in the Battle of Coire na Creiche, also known as the Battle of Benquhillan, in 1601. This battle marked the last significant clan conflict on the Isle of Skye


For more on this legend and battle, click the picture of the area of the battleground.

May in Minginish

Click the dance cribs or description below to link to a printable version of the dance!

May in Minginish

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