March 2016

In this Issue:

 March Gathering  Ghillie Dhu
 Letter From the President  Entertainment @ the 2016 Games
 Highland Games Preview  Coming Events & Celebrations
 Arizona Celtic Month Proclmation  Society Officers
 March Historical Events  A Word from our Advertisers

March Gathering

A Behind the Scenes Look at Competitive Highland Dance

Maschino Dancers

Join us Thursday March 10 at the Irish Cultural Center, 1106 N. Central for this presentation by Kari Maschino and her students from the Maschino School of Highland Dance.

6:30 - 7:00 PM - - Social Time
7:00 - 8:00 PM - - Dance Program
8:00 - 8:30 PM - - Announcements & Games Update
8:30 PM - - 50/50 Drawing

Free for members - $5 donation from non-members

Letter from the Editor, Don Finch

Dear fellow Caledonians:

It’s Celtic Month and the Governor of Arizona has proclaimed March as Celtic Month in recognition of the Caledonian Society of AZ’s role as the single largest Celtic organization in Arizona and, the Annual Scottish Gathering & Highland Games being the longest running event and having the greatest economic impact to the Celtic community. We’re honored that Governor Ducey is continuing the tradition started by former Governor Jan Brewer.

March is important to our fellow Celts with the Welsh celebrating St. David’s Day on the 1st; the Cornish celebrate St. Pirans’ Day on the 5th; and the Irish of course recognize St. Patrick on the 17th. And then there’s that 52-year-old tradition – the AZ Scottish Gathering & Highland Games now celebrated on the 3rd weekend of March!

St. David St. Piran St. Patrick

Please come out to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Faire on Saturday March 12th to watch Nessie sashay down 3rd Street in her new Spring outfit. Ooh lah lah!
The Glenmorangie™ Tasting & Pipe Jam kick-off event will take place in Scottsdale on Friday the 18th. Our sponsor Glenmorangie™ has teamed up again with the Westin Kierland to introduce their newly released Glenmorangie Milsean (Scots Gaelic for ‘sweet things’ and pronounced ‘meel-shawn’). The cost is just $49 which includes food, entertainment, Glenmorangie tastings or two drinks, plus all taxes and gratuities. A portion of the proceeds is donated back to the Caledonian Society of AZ.

Heavy Athletics competitors are invited to join Athletic Director Michelle Crownhart for a ‘Meet & Greet’ at Rosie McCaffrey’s on Camelback that same evening.

Breaking News!!! The Governor has also proclaimed April 6th as Tartan Day in Arizona. We are putting together a committee to properly celebrate on the State Capital lawn at noon that day. We envision Highland Dancers, Pipe Bands, Athletes, and Scots from all walks of life wearing their tartan to raise the Scottish community’s awareness across the State. If you’d like to help, please contact Mike Fox at:  or myself:
Are you ready for the Games? Mark the weekend of March 19th and 20th to attend, or better still, volunteer at the AZ Gathering & Games. Helping out for just a half day gets you free admission and a t-shirt. If you commit to an 8-hour shift, you get all that plus lunch! Register at:

Don Finch Final request – please renew your Annual Membership, or join if you’re one of the CSA’s ‘friends’ so you can vote for the new Board which will serve you for the 2016-2018 term. Here’s the link:


Don Finch, Editor

Highland Games Preview - 2016

Learners’ Arms     
Mike Fox, Chair

Visit the Learner's Arms big tent,
to experience and engage,
to explore and enjoy
all things that are truly Scottish!
From the cerebral to the musical,
from Scottish traditions of the past
to enjoyment of all things Scottish today,
tap into your inner heritage!

Our own Jim Morrison on Burns and haggis!
Iain Walinck & Stoneybank !
Craig Davis Magic !
John Allan Bag Pipes !
De Mairt Ceol Traditional Celtic Folk Music!
and MC/singer Sarah Noble !
ASU's Duane Roen on Writing Family History !
... plus Historical Swordsmanship, SCA and
C.R.O.F.T. - the Warriors, the Craftsman
and the Clans!

Come one by one, or arm in arm,
Explore it all in Learner's Arms!

Pipe Bands
Michael McClanathan, Chair

Highlights of the piping area, wow...well, this year I have been fund raising to get more money in prizes to attract more bands, especially those from a distance. I have raised $2,200 so far ($1,000 from myself, that was the easy one.)

I googled pipe band organizations in every region of the US and Canada and send them an invitation to participate in our games. I had some good response including a band from Cincinnati which is interested in coming next year, and the RCMP told me they weren't ready now, but we're interested in the future. He also told me that Arizona has the highest number of retired RCMP people in the US.  A small bit of trivia I didn't know.

We had 5 bands compete last year, and 11 so far this year with 35 solo competitors registered. I am working on the perpetual trophies just now and got the keepers ordered. Len Wood is working on the Sunday event and expects several ‘first responder’ bands (local fire and police departments) to participate.

Don Finch, Chair

The Ghillie Dhu Pub Stage will be rocking again this year with a real ‘battle of the bands’. California’s Wicked Tinkers and Europe’s Celtica Pipes Rock are returning in 2016 with new material, renewed energy, and non-stop Celtic Rock Music. They’ll be introduced by funny guy Patrick Halloran who’s back for his 3rd year in the Ghillie Dhu!

Local favorites Stoneybank will be performing in the Ghillie Dhu both Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 pm each day. They’re also performing in the Learners’ Arms at 11:00 am Saturday and 2:00 pm Sunday.

Don’t forget the Ceilidh on Saturday evening beginning at 5:00 pm in the Ghillie Dhu. The Tinkers, John Allan, Stoneybank, and Celtica Pipes Rock will play individual sets and will join together at about 6:40 pm for a rockin’ version of ‘Auld Lang Syne’. New this year is the Four Peaks VIP Tent where you can enjoy the Ceilidh with food and 4 of your favorite Four Peaks’ brews for just $35. Does that lift your kilt!

Several of our musicians will also be roving the grounds this year, entertaining wherever crowds are gathered, such as the entrance gates, the food courts and the Wee Lads and Lassies area.

Kirkin’ O’ the Tartan
Don Finch, Editor

Clans and anyone else who’d like to have their tartan and its heritage blessed are invited to form up in the Clans area at 8:45 am Sunday morning. You’ll follow the SAMS Color Guard and the Pipes & Drums to the Ghillie Dhu Tent where Rev. Paul Lewis of Palm Valley Church in Goodyear will lead a traditional Kirkin’ O’ the Tartan ceremony. The service itself will be from 9:00 -9:30 am.

British Car Show, Sunday March 20th
Shirley Blahak, Chair

We have enough registrations to make up several classes. If your marque is NOT included, it means you will be in the "One-of-a-Kind" unless you can convince at least one owner with a car like yours to sign up.

We need more of these marques: Jaguar, Morgan, Triumph, Austin Healey, Rolls Royce, Metropolitan, Land Rover and Lotus. Time is running out, and there is just 1 week to the deadline!

Classes already formed are:
- - Classic Mini’s,
- - Modern MINI’s,
- - Early MG’s

We’re in the same easy entrance/exit location as last year and your entrance fee includes 2 tickets to the event. Have your car in a ‘photo opp’ with the roving musicians, pipe bands and entertainers!

Mark Pelletier, Chair

Fifty Clans and Celtic organizations will be arrayed in the Clan village for you to visit. Find your family, or just explore the colorful tartans, banners and badges. Ask to join your Clan in the Parade of Tartans. You’ll be welcomed.

Visit our photo booth, where you can wear a kilt and fill your phone with pictures. There’s a lot of food and drink at the event and of course athletics too; but we are the place to immerse yourself in the history and pagentry of Scotland.    

Souvenir Merchandise
Ginni Caldwell, Chair

The 2016 Glenmorangie Scottish Gathering and Highland Games will feature a Souvenir Merchandise tent located near the Ghillie Dhu Pub Main Stage.  We are making your souvenir purchases much easier this year with our convenient location!  

Get your hoodies, t-shirts, license plates, patches, pins, flash drives, and much more while supplies last!

There’s nothing better than a souvenir from the Caledonian Society of Arizona Highland Games.


Arizona Celtic Month Proclamation
by Jackie Carro
Proclamation 2016


The Clans of Scotland
by Jo Ramsdell

Words like ancient…enigmatic…colorful…complex have all been used to describe the Scottish clans.  The clans are an important part of Scotland’s history.  The clan system plays a big role in Scottish culture and tradition and has its roots in the ancient Celtic tribal system.  A clan has been many things over hundreds of years, including a family group, a political system and a means of defending territory and ensuring survival in harsh condition and difficult times.  Clans have survived (and thrived) throughout centuries littered with bloody battles as well as many attempts to destroy them. 

Buchanan mapThe Scottish clan system seems to have been well established by the 11th and 12th century but signs of their existence go back as far as the 6th century.  The original clans of Scotland were basically extended family groups.  The majority of members were related by blood and descended from a common ancestor.  They may also have contained a number of “Septs” which were families who didn’t have direct blood ties to the Clan Chief but were still associated with it.  Other individuals sometimes joined a clan to show their support or to seek protection.

In the beginning clan names were usually tied to specific areas known as ‘clan territories’.  They were created to bond residents of that area and to protect it from being invaded or stolen by other groups.  Each individual Scottish clan was tightly bound together by blood or by loyalties, and they tended to develop their own very specific customs, traditions and laws.  Loyalty and devotion ran deep and feuds with rival clans were often passed down through the generations.  Many bloody battles were fought over clan territories. 

9 Clan badges

In 1746 a Scottish rebellion, led by Bonnie Prince Charlie, was defeated at the Battle of Culloden by the English Army and the Scottish clan system was almost destroyed.  But die-hard groups refused to bow to the English regulations imposed and so the clan system was never fully wiped out.  

Scots are nothing if not determined and hardy, and they clung to their traditions and beliefs and in the 19th century they saw the popularity of their clans begin to see a revival.  Overall, the clans have played a huge role in shaping the culture, traditions, attitudes and sentiments of the Scottish people. 

The clans of Scotland have survived for centuries and although belonging to a clan today is a quite different experience to the one you may have had 300 or 400 years ago, many of the traditional values and feelings are the same.


Ghillie Dhu
from Wikipedia

Ghillie DhuEtymology

Ghillie is an English equivalent of the Scottish Gaelic word Gille; Edward Dwelly, a Scottish lexicographer, lists gille as a lad, youth or boy with dubh translating as dark or dark haired. Gille dubh is articulated as gillie dhoo.

Description and common attributes

According to folklorist and scholar Katharine Briggs the Ghillie Dhu was a gentle and kind-hearted mountain spirit, or a "rather unusual nature fairy."

The Ghillie Dhu was an individual male modern day fairy described by Osgood Mackenzie, a Scottish landowner and horticulturist, in his memoirs that were published in 1921. The fairy was generally timid, yet he could also be "wild".

Residing in the birch woods near Loch a Druing, in the north-west Highland area of Gairloch, he was mainly seen in the latter part of the 18th century. The woods are in a dip alongside a hilly area around 2 miles from where Rua Reidh Lighthouse was later built. One summer evening a young local child named Jessie Macrae wandered into the woods and became lost. Jessie was found by the Ghillie Dhu who looked after her until the next morning when he took her home. Over a period of four decades the fairy was frequently seen by lots of different people but Jessie was the only person he conversed with. Generally, of a disheveled appearance, he used green moss and leaves taken from trees as clothing. As implied by his name, he had black hair; he was of a small stature. His fondness of children is similar to that displayed by the little known Hyter sprite of English mythology.


Shortly after the episode with Jessie, a group of Mackenzie dignitaries were invited by the landowner, Sir Hector Mackenzie of Gairloch, to get together to hunt and capture the Ghillie Dhu. The team of five hunters congregated at the home of one of Mackenzie's tenants where they were provided with an evening meal before setting off on their mission to shoot the Ghillie Dhu. Despite searching extensively throughout the night, the hunters could not find their prey; according to Patricia Monaghan, a writer on Celtic mythology, the Ghillie Dhu was never seen again.

Entertainment at the 2016 Gathering and Games
2016 Entertainment

Upcoming Events and Celebrations
If you 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 by email to and it will be included in our Celebration list.

March 2 Games Meeting - Steele Indian School Park
March 10 March Gathering - ICC - 6:30 PM
March 12 St. Patrick's Day Parade & Irish Festival
March 12-13 Scottish-Irish Fair - Midland TX
March 12 St. Patrick's Day Parade & Irish Festival, Phoenix
March 18 Pipe Jam & Whisky Tasting - Westin Kierland Resort
March 19-20 Arizona Scottish Gathering and Highland Games
  Save the Date

Membership Renewal Reminder

Dues are still only $25 Single and $40 Family. This admits you to all our wonderful monthly events with food and entertainment provided.

It’s easy to pay by credit card or PayPal, just jump to the Membership Page

Society Gatherings
Regular membership gatherings are held the second Thursday of each month at the Irish Cultural Center, 1106 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ. beginning at 6:30 pm. Come join us or log on to

Caledonian Society Officers
President: Don Finch
Immediate Past President: Mark Clark
Past President: (2010 – 2012) Jean Latimer
Vice President & Membership Chair: Ian Warrander
Secretary Vicki Phegley
Treasurer: David McBee
Games Chair
Paul Bell
Trustee 1: Mark Pelletier
Trustee 2: Michelle Crownhart
Trustee 3: Thom von Hapsburg
Newsletter Editor:

Don Finch
Statutory Agent: Dan Miller

A Word from our Advertisers

Kilt Rental USA

Bagpiper USA
Len Wood

Lois Wallace


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