Midwinter at Glenbarr Abbey

Guests in the entry hallWe continued a grand tradition at our Ceilidh held on January 5, 2014. It was the custom of a generous laird to open his home and his larder during the winter festivals to feast his servants, neighbors and friends. In this spirit, we hosted a ceilidh at Glenbarr Abbey. We hope that this event will become part of a larger series of programs that will breath new life into Glenbarr and preserve the tradition of patronage of Highland arts. (View a slideshow of photos here)

Here’s a summary of the event from Lori McAlister, the Event Organizer:

A Merry Midwinter at Glenbarr Abbey: Sunday, January 5, 2014

GB Blazing FireA welcoming fire was warming the tartan-decked entry hall at Glenbarr Abbey on this cold, bleak winter day as we observed an old custom of celebrating 12th Night (or the eve of the 12th Day of Christmas). The abbey still bore its holiday finest as guests gathered from as far away as Lochilphead (90 minutes north). The tea room was abuzz with 31 neighbors chatting.

Archie McAllister, renowned fiddler from Campbeltown, was joined by Sileas Sinclair on accordion and piano providing lively and sweet traditional music. Historian and poet, Angus Martin, read from his work and told local stories relating encounters with the “broonies” (brownies) said to inhabit the islands. The artists enjoyed themselves so much, they played on for nearly two hours! Then it was time to gather at the fireside for tea and shortbread before braving the weather for the trip home.

Everyone left energized having participated in a first-class afternoon. As event organizer, I am delighted by the response to this first-time effort – particularly on such a “driech” weather day. A retiring offering was encouraged resulting in a donation for Glenbarr of 108 pounds! Expenses for the day were generously covered by donations from supportive clansmen and women received by the Clan Macalister Trust on behalf of Glenbarr Abbey.

Volunteers Linda Bryce, Eric Edwards and Cynthia Butter.Many thanks to event volunteers Linda Bryce, Eric Edwards and Cynthia Butter (pictured tidying up in the kitchen). Dave and Sue Brown worked tirelessly to assist Jeanne in festooning the abbey from tip to stern. (Dave also portrays Santa during the Christmas Teas sitting in a beautiful “throne” that he built!). My husband, Stephen, recorded the event in still and video images. At the heart of the hospitality of Glenbarr is Billy Currie (property manager) and Lady Glenbarr herself, Jeanne Macalister.

My highest hope is that more creative programming will follow continuing to involve the wider community in the life of Glenbarr Abbey.

Lori McAlister, Event Organizer (Lincoln, Nebraska)

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