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A Flag, a Cup and a Horn

By Linda Tancs

Located on the Isle of Skye, Scotland’s Dunvegan Castle has been the seat of Clan MacLeod since the 13th century. As the country’s oldest, continuously inhabited castle, you might imagine that some family heirlooms have accumulated. Those include a flag, a cup and a horn. The Fairy Flag is a treasured clan possession, associated with a handful of tales concerning fairies and magical powers. Another relic is the Dunvegan Cup, a ceremonial cup gifted by the O’Neills of Ulster as a token of thanks to one of the clan’s most celebrated chiefs for support against the marauding forces of Queen Elizabeth I. A third historic treasure is Sir Rory Mor’s Horn, a drinking horn allegedly derived from a bull killed by Rory to save a man’s life. Capable of holding over six cups of liquid, custom has it that each successive clan chief should fill it with wine and drink it in one sitting to prove his manhood. Explore the clan’s history and legends by taking a guided or self-guided tour of the castle.

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