CC BY-SA, © Patrick Mackie

Location: Mid Argyll and Inveraray
gaelic language and placenames, piping, gaelic culture

The pibroch Colla Mo Rún

Colla Mo Rún is the name of a famous Gaelic pibroch (a form of bagpipe music) that tells a story about a piper with no hands.

In 1644 Duntrune Castle was besieged by the MacDonalds under Alasdair Mac Colla, fighting for the Royalist cause during the War of the Three Kingdoms. According to the story, as they approached the castle by sea he and his crew heard a bagpiper playing a tune. As they got closer they realised he was playing ‘Seachain an Dun’ (‘Avoid the Castle’), warning them that they were sailing into an ambush. They turned back, and the trap failed.

As punishment, the bagpipers hands were cut off so that he could never play again. His ghost is said to haunt the castle.

Allegedly, during renovations on the castle workers unearthed a handless human skeleton under a stone path. This is believed to be the piper of Duntrune.

As contributed by the Oban Choir Conductors Archives

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