The Battle of Gruinard


The Battle of Gruinard was a famous, ferocious Islay battle. The Clan Maclean of Mull and the Macdonalds of Islay each claimed to be the rightful owner of the Rhinns of Islay, the peninsula that lies across Loch Indaal from the distillery at Bowmore.

Maclean decided to come to Islay to get the land back. Before leaving Mull, Maclean consulted a wise woman. She gave him three warnings: never land in Islay on a Thursday, never drink from Strange Neil's Well, and never fight on the shores of Loch Gruinard. Heed these, she said and you will leave Islay alive. Ignore these, and you will die from one single blow!

Maclean set off. He had planned to land on a Wednesday, but because of terrible weather was delayed, and had to land on a Thursday. Maclean has disregarded the first warning. On landing, Maclean asked for a drink. He was given what was called the best water in Islay. Then, he was told it was from Strange Neil's Well. Too late, he remembered the wise woman's warning! Nevertheless, Maclean persevered. He chose a battle site and hoisted the Maclean flag. As the men gathered for battle, he was told this was Gruinard - the very place the old woman had warned him against.

Maclean had disregarded the woman's words of wisdom in every respect. Despite this, Maclean carried on, preparing for battle. Just before the battle began, a small, dark hunch-backed dwarf, called Dubh Sith, came to Maclean to offer his services. Dubh Sith was not only the son of a fairy mother, he was well known as an archer. But Maclean scorned and mocked him. Furious, Dubh Sith sided with Macdonald in the battle, with one aim: to kill Maclean. He hid in a rowan tree waiting for Maclean, and then took careful aim with his bow, and killed Maclean with one single arrow.

Maclean had disregarded the three warnings and was dead; the Macdonalds won the Battle of Gruinard, thus regaining the Rhinns of Islay.


Legend Tin Box - Released 2006

(Limited Edition)


This Limited Edition Tin illustrates an artist's interpretation of the story of The Battle of Gruinard.

From this design no Italian version has been produced.


  Updated 10-12-2018


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