Battle of Gruinard
The Battle of Gruinard was a famous, ferocious Islay battle. The Clan
Maclean of Mull and the Macdonalds of Islay each claimed to be the
rightful owner of the Rhinns of Islay, the peninsula that lies across Loch
Indaal from the distillery at Bowmore.
Maclean decided to come to Islay to get the land back. Before leaving
Mull, Maclean consulted a wise woman. She gave him three warnings: never
land in Islay on a Thursday, never drink from Strange Neil's Well, and
never fight on the shores of Loch Gruinard.
will leave Islay alive. Ignore these, and you will die from one single
Maclean set off. He had planned to land on a Wednesday,
but because of terrible weather was delayed, and had to land on a
Thursday. Maclean has disregarded the first warning. On landing, Maclean
asked for a drink. He was given what was called
best water in Islay’.
Then, he was told it was from Strange Neil's Well. Too late, he remembered
the wise woman's warning! Nevertheless, Maclean persevered. He chose a
battle site and hoisted the Maclean flag. As the men gathered for battle,
he was told this was Gruinard - the very place the old woman had warned
Maclean had disregarded the woman's words of wisdom in
every respect. Despite this, Maclean carried on, preparing for battle.
Just before the battle began, a small, dark hunch-backed dwarf, called
Dubh Sith, came to Maclean to offer his services. Dubh Sith was
not only the son of a fairy mother, he was well known as an archer. But
Maclean scorned and mocked him. Furious, Dubh Sith sided with
Macdonald in the battle, with one aim: to kill Maclean. He hid in a rowan
tree waiting for Maclean, and then took careful aim with his bow, and
killed Maclean with one single arrow.
Maclean had disregarded the three warnings and was
dead; the Macdonalds won the Battle of Gruinard, thus regaining the Rhinns
Legend Tin Box -
This Limited Edition Tin illustrates
an artist's interpretation of the story of The Battle of Gruinard.
From this design no
Italian version has been produced.