Stranraer – Belfast – Sorbie, 24-28 May 2000
The Millennium gathering was attended by over 85 members and friends of the Hannay Clan, many of whom enjoyed the entire 5 days of events. We started off on Wednesday evening with a Welcome Buffet at the North West Castle Hotel in Stranraer. Our chief greeted everyone: old friendships were renewed, and newcomers were introduced. Prof David distributed “Welcome Packs” detailing the gathering Programme as well as local events. During the evening the company was divided into “Focus Groups” for discussions on subjects relevant to the well-being of The Clan Hannay Society. This led to a lively discussion, making everyone feel involved. Each group leader was instructed to report decisions to the General Meeting on Friday.
On Thursday, twenty-six of us set sail for Belfast aboard HSS Stena. We were met by the Northern Ireland stalwarts and whisked by bus to lunch at the Belfast Castle, situated on a hill-top and surrounded by lovely gardens. Maynard Hanna welcomed us all, and then off we went on a tour of Belfast. This was an eye-opener to those of us from mainland Britain as we saw for ourselves the divisions and barriers that still exist there. Returning to the ferry, we were treated to a High Tea of fish and chips and another smooth crossing. Our thanks are due to Ian Wort for his careful planning and organisation of this excursion. In the picture to the left, constable David (L) and Chief Ramsay (R) stand in the gardens of Belfast Castle. Of possible interest to Clan members is the book recently written on Northern Ireland by Dr. W.A. Hanna, one of our hosts in Belfast.
Friday was the coach tour arranged by Constable David through the beautiful Machars countryside. We enjoyed a delightful walk alongside a stream down to the beach, then a scramble over pebbles to visit St Ninian’s Cave. After a good lunch at “The Steam Packet” we had a stroll round Isle of Whithorn, and spent a couple of hours browsing round the Scottish Book Town of Wigtown. David gave us an interesting commentary on local history before we returned to Stranraer for the evening events. Our Chief welcomed members and friends to the Clan Dinner. To mark the 40th anniversary of the Society, Barbara Hannay had generously donated a magnificent cake, which Evelyn, our Clan Membership Secretary, had the honour of cutting. The leaders of the Focus Groups made their reports to the entertaining and helpful General Meeting which followed. Several group photographs were taken, and we all retired happily to bed.
Saturday was our annual Buffet Lunch in Sorbie Village Hall. Afterwards, Following a very satisfying lunch, provided by the Pheasant Inn, a crowd of 65 assembled at Sorbie Tower (Picture to Left). With the Clan are Louise Brown and Jodie Montgomery (inset) with their prizewinning entries in their school history competition. Both local girls elected to write about Sorbie Tower and the Hannay Clan. Copies of their entries were given to the Secretary and each of the girls received a Clan Hannay ‘T’ shirt for their efforts.
Professor David R Hannay played ‘The Hannays Return to Sorbie’, ‘Sorbie Tower’ and ‘Bonnie Galloway’ on the bagpipes (Picture to Right). Attendees admired the splendid new hut which, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, now replaces the old shed. Janet (Keeper of the Tartan) and her helpers sold Clan goods, and Packard Harrington our archaeologist talked about the motte and its secrets. We were allowed to go carefully inside the Tower, which has since unfortunately been sealed off for safety reasons. It all looked heart-warmingly magnificent and many photos were taken in the pleasant sunshine.
(Left) Resplendent in the family regalia, Standard-Bearer Douglas Hannay & his children and Membership Secretary Evelyn MacArthur pose on the lawn of the Tower grounds.
Saturday evening the ceilidh at Stranraer Rugby Club went with a swing. After a really delicious meal the Dumfries and Galloway Ceilidh Band enticed us onto the dance floor. An auction of donated gifts raised £295. Several talented members performed, and Barbara and Douglas were thanked for arranging a great evening.
On Sunday morning a few members attended Sorbie Parish Church, Janet and Prof David provided a delicious lunch at Kirkdale House, and conducted tours of the house and gardens. In the afternoon there was a meeting of Council.
The warm hospitality shown by our Chief and his family made us feel at home and we had such a happy few days together! The weather was remarkably good and once again the Hannays were blessed with sunshine almost every day.
Edited from reports by
Evelyn MacArthur, Janette Hannah and Frank Lawler