It was a time filled with great beauty and horrible pain. A time when you could look to the South and see rolling green hills, but then look to the North and see nothing but dead grass and red-stained earth. I have no memories of this time, for I was not born yet. My memories come from my father and his tales. The tale of him and his two younger brothers as they sought out their seed in Scotland. It is a tale that has been told to me many times over in my nineteen years of life. Each time the story reaches my ears, it fascinates me. To hear and picture what my own family has done, all in the hope of a better life, the 12-mile voyage in three boats from Ireland to the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland. It is a tale that will forever live on and be passed down to generation after generation.
The year was 404, a rough time for Scotland. The country had been at war with the various tribes all around the country and neighboring countries. Tribe after tribe would pull up to the shore side towns, killing and taking whatever they pleased. And what they wanted were the lands. The tribes did not care how many lives they took. They did not care about the women and children that would soon starve and perish. They did not care for the land to continue to grow and be healthy. No, all they cared for was to conquer and lay claim to a new land. For the more land you claimed, the stronger and more powerful your tribe must be.
For centuries Scotland had been at war with different tribes. The Picti Tribe had been locked in a battle against the Romans over their land. With Scotland being unconquered, there was much land to take, but not one tribe wanted a single piece, they wanted all of the lands. The Romans sought out the land as well to lay claim to. Bit by bit, parts of tribes made the journey from Dal Riata Ireland over to the Mull of Kintyre. With it only being twelve miles apart from what was called the Emerald Aisle, it was no surprise that the Irish folk was moving their family to the unclaimed land. Amongst those people were my family. My father, Aiden, my mother, Agness, my uncle Calhoun and my uncle Dillion.
With Scotland so vulnerable and open for the taking, my father and uncles decided it would be best to split the country into three areas for each one of them to conquer. Their thinking was that Scotland was being defeated in small portions by individual tribes. No tribe was looking to conquer the whole country. My father and uncle decided that they would separate and go to three different locations within Scotland and build their army and fortress. My father, Aiden MacInnes, took the Kintyre Peninsula within the Highlands. An area of Scotland that was at the top of the country and often being invaded by the Romans and enemy tribes. He was confident that he would be able to build an army capable of protecting the Highlands from the constant flood of invasions.
My uncle, Calhoun MacInnes, took the island of Jura within the Grampian Mountains region. It was close to the bay of the Irish Sea and also close to the mainland of Scotland. My last uncle, Dillion MacInnes, took the island of Islay. It was not much far from Jura. My father and my uncles believed that if they both took control of the islands, they would be able to stop the flow of enemy ships from getting further into Scotland. With having only threats coming by land, they could better defend their area. It would also put them in a position of power with having such strong control over the bay of the Irish Sea. Due to the closeness of the islands to Ireland, more and more of our tribe and family came to Scotland and settled within the islands or with my father in the Kintyre Peninsula.
The biggest concern my family faced was the ongoing war between the Romans and the Picts Tribe within the Lowlands of Scotland. It was another reason why my father and uncles had decided to avoid settling down within the Lowlands. Their journey to their dedicate region of Scotland was not a comfortable journey to be had. They had reached my father’s location first before my uncles continued on their way. By the time my uncle Dillion had reached the island of Islay, he had become an expert in evading the enemy’s eye. My father and uncles wasted no time building their army and constructing their homes. When I ask my father how they had managed to outwit the warring tribes while still maintaining relationships with new tribes, he informed me it was a balancing act. He always told me, you must never forget that a man has to look ten steps ahead of him if he wishes to reach his destination. My father and uncles were very good at looking to the future and planning accordingly. They were patient men, political men, and also warriors. It had brought them a great deal of respect, something they never took for granted.
Their journey started in 404, much later that year is when I was born, and my journey started. Though it was not the same journey as my father’s and uncles’, it was mine to take. I never expected it would take me on the path that it did, and I can only hope it will not cause the death of those that I love.