First speakers in society’s new lecture series confirmed

The Royal Celtic Society’s lunchtime lecture series, which runs monthly from September to March, will resume later this year.

Taking place in the stunning surroundings of the Dome Room in Edinburgh’s New Register House, these events are open to members Society and to members of the public alike.

The first event, scheduled for 1pm on Wednesday 12 September, will see Peter Eslea Macdonald deliver an illustrated talk on some of the more esoteric aspects of the history of tartan and Highland dress.

With more than 30 years’ research and handloom weaving experience, Peter Macdonald is Scotland’s leading tartan historian, with an impeccable track record in historically accurate research leading to the preservation of many of the ancient patterns.

He is head of research for the Scottish Tartans Authority and an advisory board member for the Scottish Register of Tartans. He is equally known as a consultant on tartan design and many of the newer tartans have originated on Peter’s loom.

This is followed on Thursday, 11 October, with Dr Hugh Dan MacLennan will lead a session entitled The Book of the Club of True Highlanders and the Littlejohn Album – wherein lies the truth about shinty.

Hugh Dan MacLennan’s family liked virtually on the site of the Battle of Inverlochy, where the Society of True Highlanders was formed in 1815. His first language was Gaelic; his first degree at Glasgow University and his subsequent PhD at Aberdeen University, where the Littlejohn Album is now held.

He is a Professional Fellow in the Academy of Sport of the University of Edinburgh and was the first ever sportswriter in residence at the National Library of Scotland. He broadcasts on sport in Gaelic and, sometimes, English.

On Monday, 3 December, Dr Joseph Morrow CBE QC, the Rt Hon the Lord Lyon King of Arms, will speak on the heraldry of the clans, looking at the very distinctive armorial bearings used by families in the west Highlands and Islands of Scotland, which is in most respects quite different from the classical heraldry of the Lowland families.

Dr Morrow is known as a powerful and entertaining speaker, and as something of a polymath; not only is he Lord Lyon and a QC, he is a judge, serving as President of the Mental Health Tribunal, an ordained clergyman of the Episcopal Church (currently the incumbent at Glamis Castle Chapel, but formerly Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral Dundee), as well as Vice Lord Lieutenant of Dundee and a former chairman of the Dundee Waterfront Development Board, which brought the Victoria and Albert Museum to the city.

The cost of these events, which are open to all comers, is £5 (£2 concession) and each takes place at the Dome, Room New Register House, 3 West Register Street, Edinburgh EH1 3YT at 1pm on the aforementioned dates.

Details of the lecture programme for the New Year will be available later in the summer.