MacKinnon / McKinnon

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About us

The early history of Clan MacKinnon is lost in the mists of time. However, it is generally accepted that the clan is descended from Loarn, one of the sons of King Erc, founder of the ancient Irish kingdom of Dalriada, whose lands included the area of modern Lorn, as well as the islands of Mull, Coll, and Tiree.

The long struggles between the tribes of Dalriada, however, considerably weakened the kingdom and in about 700 A.D. it fell to Viking raiders. For several hundred years nothing further is recorded about the tribe of Loarn, but it had not disappeared.

Finguine, founder of Clan MacKinnon, was a historical figure and a prominent warrior known to have lived during the last years of the 12th century. Finguine, the grandson of Aibertach of Lorn, gave the clan its Gaelic designation: Mac Fhionghuin (“Son of Fingon”). Eventually the name was anglicized to “MacKinnon” by a MacKinnon chief during the 18th century, an occurrence which came relatively late in clan history.

As the Kingdom of the Isles developed into the Lordship of the Isles during the latter part of the first millennium, there was a flowering of Gaelic arts, literature, building, and trade. Clan MacKinnon was active in all aspects of this growing and uniquely Gaelic culture. MacKinnon chiefs were respected members of the Council of the Isles, and the clan supplied the abbots and priors for the monastery on Iona. Under the Lordship of the Isles, the MacKinnons obtained the lands of Strath on Skye, a farm called Sliddery on the island of Arran, and consolidated their hold on Mishnish, a district on the north of the island of Mull.

It was during the civil wars that enveloped Scotland, Ireland, and England in the 1640s that first saw the MacKinnons support the Stewart/Stuart kings. The Stewart/Stuart cause gained much support in 1707 with the passage of the unpopular Act of Union that forged England and Scotland into one country. Clan MacKinnon was out in all attempts to restore Scotland’s sovereignty in 1715, 1719, and 1745.

The period following the ill-fated Jacobite risings saw the once prosperous Clan MacKinnon reduced to poverty. Unable to pay all of the debts for which he was responsible, Charles, the penultimate MacKinnon chief, sold the last of his patrimony in 1791. The clan, which was now living on land that was owned by others, lost much of its leadership to emigration. The brutal but well-known clearing of the Highlands saw the MacKinnons, after more than 1000 years in the Hebrides, scattered around the globe. 


This project is affiliated with Clan MacKinnon Society. More information about the Society can be found here: www.themackinnon.com, and you can email membership.themackinnon@gmail.com for additional inquiries.