Comann Eachdraidh Ionadail Phortrigh


Portree Local History Society

Chair: I. G. MacDonald

Secretary: Marilyn Clarke
Treasurer: Rita Campbell

Programme of Meetings: 2008 - 2009

  • October 14, 2008
    High Pasture Cave and developments at Fiskavaig
    Stephen Birch

  • November 11, 2008
    MacLean family of Raasay.
    Iona MacDonald
  • December 9, 2008
    NB VENUE: Dunvegan Castle
    - The Castle, The Clan, The Homecoming
  • January 13, 2009
    All Creatures Great and Small- 50 Years as a Vet on Skye.
    D.J. Maclennan
  • February 10, 2009
    UHI History Department.
    Dr Jim Hunter
  • March 10, 2009
    St Maolrubha & St Columba.
    Norman Newton
  • April 14, 2009
    Col. Jock Collection and Museum of Isles Collection.
    Maggie MacDonald

Programme of Meetings: 2007 - 2008

October 9 - Ian Suddaby - The Excavation at Home Farm
November 13 - Dr Jeff Stone - St Kilda: Two Decades of Digging and Scraping
(in association with Aberdeen University Centre for Lifelong Learning )
December 11 - Dr Martin MacGregor - The Lordship of the Isles
January 8 - Seonachan MacLeod - Deserted Villages of Skye
February 12 - Professor Brian Sykes - Vikings in the Blood?
March 11 - Murray MacDonald - Mobile Banking by Land and Sea in the Highlands and Islands
April 8 - AGM, with guest speaker - Ronnie Armstrong - Para Handy and the Clyde Puffers

Michael Davitt

Michael Davitt

Land Reform is one of the best-rehearsed topics in the history of the Isle of Skye in the second half of the Nineteenth Century. It is fascinating to reflect on the possible parallels between that aspect of the history of Skye and the history of the Irish struggle for Reform.

The commemoration (in November 2006) of the visit of Michael Davitt to Portree in 1887 underlined the fact that the parallel nature of the campaigns was more than simple coincidence.


Previous Meetings: 2006 - 2007

October 10 - Bill Cowie - Kirk Cave, Rona
November 14 - Alister Ross – Education – PHS100
December 12 - Norman Newton - Skye and Raasay
(in association with Aberdeen University Centre for Lifelong Learning )
January 9 - Pat Myhill - Telford’s Stein
February 13 - Fiona MacKenzie – Miri Mhr nan Orain -
A song-lecture
March 13 - Ian McCrorie - The MacBrayne Story
April 10 - AGM, with guest speaker - Roger Hutchinson - “Calum’s Road”

All meetings are held at Tigh na Sgire, Portree,
at 7. 30 p.m.,
on the second Tuesday of each month.

Contact us:


Michael Davitt was born at Straide, Co Mayo on 25th March 1846. When only six years old he witnessed the terrible sight of his family being evicted and thrown out on the road and their little home flattened to the ground. He came to prominence as one of the founders of the Land League in Ireland and was imprisoned for his outspoken speeches. At a trivial level, he was partly responsible for introducing the word "boycott" to the English political dictionary.

The 2006 Commemoration was marked by the unveiling of a plaque at the Portree Hotel and a re-enactment of the speech made by Davitt from the Hotel.
A full account of the events of that weekend may be found in the West Highland Free Press but it is perhaps worth repeating here a few words from Davitt's speech:

... my advice to the people of Portree and the people of this island is, not to be satisfied with half measures of change, but to go in for what is your just and your natural right, the ownership of the land of Skye for its people.

The issue of Land Reform is well dealt with, both in printed and electronic form. These are but 2 examples:

- there are many, many more.

Michael Davitt, typically of so many in the story of Irish independence, does not receive a universally-adulatory coverage, but these links, again among many, may be of interest:

It is perhaps worth noting too that, in looking for parallels between the reform movements in Ireland and Scotland, there are other similar expressions of nationalism. One example is in the arena of sports: in Ireland, the growth of the Gaelic Athletic Association in the 1880s and 1890s was closely tied to the Celtic Revival; in Scotland, the modern form of Shinty dates to the same period, including the formation of the Camanachd Association in 1893. A coincidence perhaps, but significant?


Published by Stephen Clarke, on behalf of Portree Local History Society - September 2006.
Photographs, unless otherwise stated Dualchas 2006
The publisher and the Society publish this information in good faith, but cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions.
Meeting dates and topics are subject to change.