The Dunvegan Castle - Skye Island, Uk » by Uzerty
Rory Mor’s Horn
This drinking horn is the centre of a colourful tradition of the clan, a reminder of the feasting and abundant hospitality which where so much a part of Highland life in Rory Mor’s time.
From the earliest period it was essential to the clan’s survival that a Chief prove his fitness to lead his people. So it is that, even today, the Chief’s heir is required to perform a symbolic test of manhood, at his coming of age. The horn is charged with Claret to the brim - it holds nearly half a gallon! - and must be drained at one draught “without setting down or falling down”*.
The present Chief, John MacLeod of MacLeod**, performed this rather hazardous feat at a banquet on 14th August 1956, in the fast time of one minute and 57 seconds.
The Silver rim with its Celtic designs of monsters and floral patterns dates from the 16th Century. Legends surround the bull’s head crest of the MacLeods. The oldest concerns the 3rd Chief, Malcolm, who built the great keep of Dunvegan in 1360. While visiting Campbell Country in Argyll he was called upon to witness a contest between a great wild bull and a Campbell who had offended his Chief. As a protest at this brutal punishment, Malcolm stepped into the arena himself, grappled with the bull and brought it to its knees. The crowd shouted: “Hold fast Macleod!” and the clan thus acquired its crest and motto.
* This is why I love the MacLeods heeeee!
** John has since passed away and the title of Clan Chief is now held by his son, Hugh.