About Us

Chiefs of Clan Donald At A Glance

Left to Right (front row):
Ranald Macdonald of Glengarry;
Sir Ian Macdonald of Sleat;
The Right Honorable Godfrey Macdonald of Macdonald;
Ranald Macdonald of Clanranald;
The Right Honorable Alexander McDonnell, The Earl of Antrim

he Clan Donald Foundation is dedicated to the celebration and
preservation of Scottish history, heritage, culture and customs.

Mission Statement:

The Clan Donald Foundation furthers education and preservation. The Foundation empowers individuals to study Scottish heritage by awarding scholarships. The Foundation supports museums, libraries, charitable and educational organizations to preserve Scottish history, heritage. culture and customs by awarding grants.

Tax Deductible Donations:

The Clan Donald Foundation, Inc. is a charitable, not-for-profit corporation. The Foundation has IRS 501(c)(3) status, which means that contributions to the Foundation are tax deductible for any American citizen desiring to contribute.

Clan Donald History

Historical highlights from a 1,500 year Scottish legacy.

Clan Donald is one of the oldest, largest and most famous of all the Highland clans.

Celts: Its Celtic roots goes back into antiquity, beyond the 6th Century AD, to the great clans in what today is Ireland: Conn of the 100 Battles; Cairfre Riada, founder of Dal Riada in Antrim, Eire, and Colla Uathais.

Vikings: Our Viking foundation goes back to Ingiald "Ill-Ruler" and Olaf "Tree-Hewer" in 7th Century Sweden and Norway.

Best of Two Worlds: All of these traditional blood lines came together in the 12th century in Somerled MacGillebride MacGilladamnan, the historic founder of Clann Domhnaill. Our ancestors were regarded as the heads of the ancient race of Conn, and the lineal heirs of the kings of the Dalriadic Scots.

Norse–Gaels of mixed Gaelic and Norse ancestry and culture dominated much of the Scottish and Irish Sea regions from the 9th to 12th centuries.

Greatest and largest of the Highland Clans, Clan Donald itself begins its recorded history with Somerled, a descendant of Conn of the Hundred Battles and Clan Colla. Somerled's defeat of the Norse King of Man in 1156 gained independence for southwestern Scotland that survived for over four centuries.

What’s in a Name: The clan takes its name from Donald, the 3rd Lord of the Isles and grandson of Somerled who lived until 1269. Donald's son was the original "Mac" (meaning “son of” in Scottish Gaelic). It was Donald's great-grandson, Angus Og, the 6th Lord of the Isles who sheltered Robert the Bruce at the lowest ebb of his career. Later, leading a small band of Islemen, Angus Og was instrumental in Bruce's victory over the English at Bannockburn. This battle won independence for Scotland. In recognition of Clan Donald's part in the victory, Robert the Bruce proclaimed that Clan Donald would forever occupy the honored position on the right wing of the Scottish Army.

Lordship of the Isles: Angus Og's grandson, Donald, the 8th Lord of the Isles, married the heiress of the Earldom of Ross and in 1411 fought the Battle of Harlaw to keep his wife's inheritance from being usurped by the Regent Duke of Albany. His army of 10,000 men included the forces of almost every clan of the Highlands and Isles. All these clans were willing vassals of the Lord of the Isles, as they regarded the MacDonald Chiefs as the heads of the ancient "Race of Conn," and lineal heirs of the ancient kings of the Dalriadic Scots going back to the 6th century and beyond.

Best of Scots & Irish: Donald of Harlaw's son and grandson were both Earls of Ross and Lords of the Isles, controlling not only the Hebrides from Islay and Kintyre to the Butt of Lewis, but most of Argyll and the modern County of Inverness, along with the County of Antrim in northern Ireland. The Earldom was lost in 1471, but the Lordship of the Isles was not absorbed

by Scotland until the middle of the 16th century. A MacDonnell (a variation of the surname MacDonald) is still Earl of Antrim.

Alba gu Brath / Free Scotland Forever: The power of the clan survived and formed the backbone of the army of the Marquis of Montrose, fighting for the survival of the Stewarts in the 17th century. Although divided, it was an important factor in the Jacobite Rebellions of the 1700s.

Independence in America & Beyond: Following Culloden and through the Clearances, Macdonalds of every chief’s line have traveled the world over in search of independence and self-determination. Many found it in North America, as patriots for the successful American Revolution or farther north in Canada, many others on the shores of Australia, New Zealand, and the four corners of the earth beyond.