September, 2012

In this Issue:

 President's Message  Coming Events
 The Flowering of Celtic Christianity  September Celebrations
 Book Review  Caledonian Society Officers
 St.Andrew's Day Celebration  General Meeting Minutes
Know the Clans  Important Dates in September

President's Message

Thursday 9th August saw a number of very happy people gathered at the ICC for an evening hosted by Jason Temple.  We were well entertained by a number of people who had been participants in the athletics at the last Highland Games.  Jesse Lopes was our compare explaining the history of the various events that took place.  This, in fact, went back to around thirteen hundred, when the first highland games which took place between the clans in Scotland.

It was an interesting and fun talk, questions to the athletes resulted in information being given as to the actual training, which is not for the faint hearted!  Why we toss the caber and how the actual caber is made was so informative.  If you want to known more, come to another gathering where we will further explore this subject.  Date to be announced.

Many thanks must be given to Jesse Lopez who must have spent many hours researching all the information and to Teresa Potts who skillfully manned the visual part.  Adam Brezina, Mark Phillips, Marney Redmond and Michelle Crownhart were so well informed about their particular sport and shared with us many insights into their extremely hard training throughout the year.  Many thanks to all of you.

We are delighted that the attendance is growing with new members coming along.  We know that there will be further evenings where everyone can enjoy the advertised topic and the social time, which appears to be very popular.  The tables were attractive with their blue cloths, water bottles and mugs from the games and trays of snacks which appear to be enjoyed by everyone.  Thank your Teresa and Jesse, our hospitality group!  The bar was open late into the evening, apparently quite popular.

Next month Mark Clark is our host with an evening of music which one would find in a Pub in Scotland.  This sounds to be another night where everyone can enjoy music and a social time together.  Snacks will be provided, the bar will be open.  Please see the events section for further information on this site.

October will soon be with us, cooler evenings when we can be outside in the court yard.  We have a new program for our own style of Octoberfest!  The date and time will be published soon with the exciting details. . . . . .

November will see us into celebrating the Saint of Scotland, St. Andrew.  We will be holding a somewhat formal evening of dinner and music at the ICC.  This will not be the second Thursday of the month.  Of course, kilts may be worn with pride, ladies, time to dress up too, can't let the men be the peacocks of the evening!

The web site will soon have a new look, keep in touch, we need your feedback and all our events will be published with details.  Should anyone feel they need to contact me, please do so, I will be happy to talk with you.

Looking forward to our Pub night and seeing you all there.

Wendy Hurley, President
Live! Laugh! Love!

Celtic Culture: The Flowering of Celtic Christianity

Celtic Christianity was that form held by much of the population of the British Isles from about the end of the fourth century, until some time aster the year 1171.  Like any church it varied in form, from place to place, and time to time.  However, there is a constant stream that runs it that identified it as an unique entity.

The classic period of Celtic Christianity ran from the fifth through the ninth centuries.  It ran throughout the "traditional" Celtic Lands of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany.  It also was found on the continent throughout France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, and Germany-- even stretching far North to Iceland.  Celtic Christianity was characterized by extreme holiness—a love of God and man.  It included the need to bring the light of Christ to the rest of the world.  Many issues that the Celtic Christian dealt with are amazingly contemporary.  Things like: the position of women in the Church, nature and our environmental surroundings, dealing with others of different customs and beliefs. 

Tradition holds that the faith was brought to the British Isles by Joseph of Arimathea and Aristobulus in AD 55.  Modern scholarship, however, places the introduction in the middle of the second century.    Little is known of the first several centuries, however, Christianity was firmly established in Roman Britain by the time of the council of Aries (314 AD) as two British bishops were in attendance. 

However, the true flowering of Celtic Christianity occurred after the pagan Romans left Britain.  The Celts found themselves along, surrounded by hostile barbarians.  This is the time of the great Celtic Saints: Patrick, David, Brigid, Columba, Brendan and many, many others.  This period was characterized by great holiness, love of learning and nature.  It reached it's peak in the seventh century.  Celtic Christianity survived for the next five centuries.  Due to many forces, demographic changes, Viking raids and the expanding Roman rite; Celtic Christianity slowly retreated.

Yet this was the period when the Celts reached the pinnacle of their artistic genius.  During this period they created metalwork, illuminated manuscripts (such as the Kells) and stone carvings that amaze us even today. 


Book Review

Max Power and the Bagpipes
By Suse Moore and Andy Elkerton

This new children's book is designed to show kids just how great bagpiping can be.  Join young Max Power and his sheepdog Haggis for a fun-filled, action packed adventure on his Scottish farm when he tries to conjure up the wind with an old pair of bagpipes.

A 40% discount is being offered on each book ordered (RRP $17.99)

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: 
Susan Saville  1-323-384-7847.

St. Andrew's Day Celebration

We will be celebrating the patron saint of Scotland with a dinner in November. Although the official date of St. Andrew's Day is the 30th, we will be hosting the dinner in the middle of the month due to celebrations of Thanksgiving.

John Good and his band will be entertaining us with music and there will be an exceptional buffet and a cash bar.

The wearing of the kilt or other tartan is encouraged. The time and date will be announced shortly.

Please plan on attending this fun event.



Know the Clans:
What's in a Name?
By Ron Dempsey, FSA Scot


The name Armstrong is one from a description of a person's attributes.  It was a common name in Northern England in the 12 century.  The Armstrongs had periods of difficulty with the crown and their neighbors.  Also times when they were in the monarch's good graces.

The main clan was reputed to be descended from Siward Beorn, an 11th century Earl of Northumberland of Banish Viking ancestry.  A family of this name settled in an area north of what was to become a stabilized border between Scotland and England.  It was said that they could raise 3000 horsemen for their raids, a formidable party for forays.

As mentioned the fortunes of some with the name were mixed.  Gilbert Armstrong was steward to King David II, and became ambassador to England in 1363.  While Johnny Armstrong of Gilnockie was hanged by order of James V.  This Johnny was a noted reiver (cattle rustler) and caused many problems in the Borders.  Johnny and his like, who raided by the moon, could not have fathomed that one of their descendants, Neil Armstrong, would be first man to set foot on that same moon.


The MacMurtrie name was found primarily in Lanarkshire and Ayrshire and is a form of MacKirdie.  The MacKirdie form is principally from Arran and Bute.  Like so many Gaelic names it has transformed itself in many ways into English.  The Gaelic form today is MacUrardaigy, which translates to "sea ruler".

Both MacMurtrie and MacKirdie are septs of Clan Steward.  There is a MacKirdie tartan.

Coming Events

Sep 1-2 Games—Pleasanton, CA (San Francisco)
Sep 6-9 Games—Estes Park, CO
Sep 13 Membership Meeting at ICC 6:45pm
Oct 11 Membership Meeting at ICC 6:45pm
Oct 12-14   Games—Ventura CA (Seaside Games)
Nov 2-4      Tucson Celtic Festival & Highland Games

September Celebrations
We are attempting to up-date our Celebration list to add information for new members and remove those from the list that are no longer relevant. If you are a dues-paying member or just a “friend” of the Society and would like your special date recognized in our monthly newsletter, we need to hear from you. Please let us know your correct birthday and anniversary information on our voice mail – 602-431-0095 – or email it to and it will be included in our Celebration list.

Sep 11    Alan Ramsdell—Birthday
Sep 13     Jerry Minnis—Birthday
Sep 14     Robert LaVar—Birthday
Sep 15     Monte Patterson—Birthday
Sep 16     Marilyn Veich—Birthday
Sep 21     Michelle Campbell—Birthday
Sep 26     Harold Stewart—Birthday
Sep 30     Ginni Caldwell—Birthday     


Society Meetings
Regular membership meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at 6:45 pm at the Irish Cultural Center located at 1106 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix. Come join us, or log on to, or call 602-431-0095

Caledonian Society Officers
Area Chairperson
President: (2012 – 2014) Wendy Hurley
Past President: (2010 – 2012) Jean Latimer
1st Vice President: Mark Clark
Games Chair
Jason Temple
Membership and Programs Chair Don Finch
Treasurer: Alex Cheek
Secretary: Corresponding and Recording Michael Fraiser
Trustee: Mark Peletier
Trustee: Andy Walker
Newsletter Editor: Jo Ramsdell

The Caledonian Society of Arizona
General Meeting Minutes

September 2012

See President's Message above.

Michael Frazier, Secretary 

Important Dates in September
Sep 3 Labor Day
Sep 9 Grandparent's Day
Sep 22 Autumnal Equinox