Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Carraig Mhic a' Phi - The MacPhee Stone - Colonsay

John McPhee opens his book 'The Crofter and the Laird' with a description of how the MacDonalds hunted down Malcolm MacPhee, the last MacPhee chief of Colonsay: 'captured him, refused him mercy, saying that a man who had never showed mercy should not ask for it, tied him to a standing stone, and shot him.'

Coll Ciotach MacDomhnuill (AKA Colkitto) captured MacPhee in 1623 near Eilean nan Ron (Seal Island) at the far southwestern tip of Oronsay. He was then tied to a standing stone near Balerominmore (perhaps the big marshy farm?), a stone that would become known as Carraig Mhic a'Phi, and shot. The stone is now a pilgrimage site for all the MacPhees who visit Colonsay.

In 1623 the stone was 8-feet-tall, and stood about 30 feet northeast of its current location. Sometime after MacPhee was shot the stone fell and broke. In 1977 it was pieced together with iron straps and erected in an enclosure. (Unfortunately it was mounted upside down.) 

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