A little background

Before I start posting MacAlister-related history, perhaps I should start with a bit of background.

The MacAlister clan — more properly the Clann Alasdair — originated in the early 14th century as the senior cadet branch of the Clan Donald. They were located primarily on the Kintyre penninsula, although there were some in northern Ireland from the very beginning, fighting as galloglasses in the Irish wars. 

After the forfeiture of the Lordship of the Isles (1493), they became an independent clan, although they continued to be closely associated with the MacDonalds of Dunyvaig and the Glens (Clan Donald South) for centuries. If many of my posts seem a bit MacDonald-centric, this is why. One branch, however, held their lands from the Campbells of Argyll (along with Tarbert Castle, of which the MacAlisters were hereditary Constables in the 16th-18th centuries), which illustrates that relations between the west coast clans were less cut-and-dried than we tend to believe.

The MacAlisters eventually had several branches, not all of which still exist (though presumably their descendants do). You can read about them on the page labelled ‘Branches’.

Copyright (c) Lynn McAlister, 2011



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