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Glen Coe

The name Glencoe is often said to mean 'Glen of Weeping', perhaps with some reference to the infamous Massacre of Glencoe which took place there in 1692. However, 'Gleann Comhann' does not translate as 'Glen of Weeping'. In fact the Glen is named for the River Coe which runs through it, and bore this name long prior to the 1692 incident. The name of the river itself is believed to predate the Gaelic language and its meaning is not known. One possibility is that it was named for a tribe once living in the area; however this remains speculation. It is also possible that the name stems from an individual personal name, Chomain or Comhan.

The Massacre of Glencoe occurred in the early morning of 13 February 1692, during the era of the "Glorious Revolution” and Jacobitism. In Gaelic, the event is named 'Mort Ghlinne Comhann' (murder of Glen Coe). The massacre began simultaneously in three settlements along the glen—Invercoe, Inverrigan, and Achacon—although the killing took place all over the glen as fleeing MacDonalds were pursued. Thirty-eight MacDonalds from the Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed by the guests who had accepted their hospitality, on the grounds that the MacDonalds had not been prompt in pledging allegiance to the new king, William of Orange. Another forty women and children died of exposure after their homes were burned.

Rannoch, by Glencoe

 

Here the crow starves, here the patient stag
Breeds for the rifle. Between the soft moor
And the soft sky, scarcely room
To leap or soar. Substance crumbles, in the thin air
Moon cold or moon hot. The road winds in
Listlessness of ancient war,
Langour of broken steel,
Clamour of confused wrong, apt
In silence. Memory is strong
Beyond the bone. Pride snapped,
Shadow of pride is long, in the long pass
No concurrence of bone.

 

by T. S. Eliot