The Clan MacIntyre
Information History Chiefs Tartan Crest


War cry "Cruachan" (A mountain near Loch Awe)
Clan pipe music Pibroch and march: "Gabhaidh sinn an rathad mor"
("We will take the highway")
Salute The Macintyre's Salute  
Badge "Fraoch" (Common heath)


The surname Macintyre is in Gaelic "Mac-an-t-saoir" - the Carpenter's Son. The traditional history of the clan states that they are a sept of the MacDonalds of Sleat, Skye, and countenance is given to this by the fact that they make use of the MacDonald badge - heather. On one occasion, the legend goes, the chief's galley sprung a leak. The hole was discovered and a clansman, forcing his thumb into it, cut off his thumb and left it there, so that he might be at liberty to assist in the work of sailing the galley. By so doing he saved the crew from drowning, and was ever afterwards called "Saor na H-ordaig" - the Thumb Carpenter, or Wright.

Some time afterwards a son of this carpenter, who was known as "Mac-an-t-saoir" - the Carpenter's Son - leaving Sleat in his galley, resolved to seek his fortune elsewhere, taking a white cow with him, and vowing that wherever the cow would first lie down to rest after landing, he would settle there. This she did at Glenoe, Loch Etive side, a place still known as Làrach na Bà Bàine - the Site of the White Cow. It is a well-known fact that the Macintyre's of Glenoe occupied these lands for a period of 500 or 600 years prior to 1806. The tenure by which they held Glenoe from the Campbells of Glenorchy, afterwards of Breadalbane, was a payment annually in summer of a snowball and a white fatted calf, reared on the land, which was delivered over at the stone called "Clach an laoigh Bhiadhta" - the Stone of the Fatted Calf. The snowball could easily be got at the back of Cruachan, and as they always kept a white cow or two, a white fatted calf was also procurable. This arrangement continued till about the beginning of the eighteenth century, when the tenant of Glenoe, at the time, foolishly agreed to the payment being commuted into money, which then became rent, and was increased to so large a sum that the Macintyres could not pay it and make a comfortable living, and in 1806 they were under the necessity of parting with the home of their fathers.

There was a strong colony of Macintyres resident for many generations at the village of Claidich, Loch Awe, where they carried on an extensive weaving industry. A specialty with them was the production of very finely woven hose and garters, which were made in the various clan tartans. No Highland costume, however expensive, was complete at the time without a pair of Claidich garters.


The Macintyres of Glenoe were the chiefs of the Macintyres.

Duncan Macintyre (I) of Glenoe, chief of the Macintyres, married Mary, daughter of Patrick Campbell of Barcaldine, "Para Beag", by whom he had Donald, his successor. Duncan died in 1695.

Donald (II) of Glenoe was married twice. By his first wife, Janet, daughter of Archibald MacDonell of Keppoch, he had a daughter. By his second wife, Catherine, daughter of MacDonald of Dalness, he had three children - James, Catherine and Mary.

James (III) of Glenoe was born about 1727. He studied Law for some time, but gave it up after his father's death, to take charge of Glenoe. He was an excellent Gaelic scholar, and the author of several Gaelic poems. He married Ann, daughter of Duncan Campbell of Barcaldine and sister of "Caelein Ghlinn Iubhair". He had three sons and six daughters - Donald, Martin, Duncan, Ann, Isabel Mary, Lucy and Jean.

Duncan, the third son, was a captain in one of the Highland regiments, and the last Macintyre who held Glenoe. He died in London in 1808.

Donald (IV) the eldest son, succeeded his father in the chieftanship of the clan. He was a doctor. He went to New York in 1783. He married Easter Hames, by whom he had four sons - James, Donald, Thomas and Martin. He died in 1792.

James (V), eldest son of Dr Donald Macintyre, was born in Newburgh, Orange County, New York, 1785. He came to Scotland in 1806 and married in 1817, Ann, daughter of Peter Campbell of Corries, Glenorchy, by his wife Joan, daughter of John Campbell of Fassiefern. He returned to the United States in 1822, and settled on a farm in Fulton County, New York. He had six sons - Donald, Peter, James, Ewen, Archibald and Martin. He died in 1863.

Donald (VI) settled on a farm near Fonda. He married Phebe Shepherd by whom he had one son - James - and four daughters. He died in October 1887.

James (VII) was born in January 1864, and (at the time of writing) is the present chief of the Macintyres.

Mr Duncan Macintyre, Leith, one of the Camus-na-h-Eireadh branch, and fourteenth in descent from the first chief of whom there is any authentic record, has probably the best claim to the chieftanship of anyone resident in this country. He is the son of the late Rev. John Macintyre, LL.D. of Kilmonivaig. He has in his possession the Glenoe ring, having engraved on it the Macintyre crest, with the motto "Per Ardua". The ring was carefully examined by Duncan bàn Macintyre, the famous hunter bard of Glenorchy. On that occasion the bard composed some Gaelic verses descriptive of the ring and the armorial bearing of the clan.

There were Macintyres in Badenoch who were attached to the Clan Chattan, while a family of Macintyres in Perthshire were hereditary pipers to Menzies of Menzies.

The Macintyres fought under the banner of the Stewarts.


The Macintyre tartan is generally regarded as a district one. Glenorchy was adjacent to the Macintyre country, and consequently a good many of the clan settled there, among them the famous bard, Duncan bàn Macintyre, who was born in the district in 1724, and spent the best part of his life as forester around his much beloved Bendorain.


The crest of the clan bears the legend 'Per Ardua', which is the first half of the Latin phrase 'Per Ardua Ad Astra' - 'Through adversity, to the stars'.


For more information about the clan, visit the homepage of the Clan Macintyre Society.