The day I fell in love with Sorbie Tower

My name is Louise Julia Hannah, and I have always been interested in my own family history.  My Granda Sam (Hannah) used to tell me stories about when we was growing up in Port Glasgow in Scotland all about his time in the Merchant Navy and the shipyards. It always made me think of all the other ancestors I had.

One day last term in school I was in primary 5. There was an article on Children’s BBC Newsround about family trees. I then researched a BBC article online with my Mum. We read about Clan Hannay and discovered an article about Sorbie Tower, and David Hannah, the constable of Sorbie Tower, was in it. We saw the Clan tartan and loved it. I wanted to find out more.

I then told my Mum and Dad that I wanted to visit Sorbie Tower and find out more about my family history. They agreed to take me during the September school weekend. I was very excited about my visit.

We arrived at Castlewigg Caravan park on Friday 22nd September 2023. We drove through Sorbie on the way, then back to the Tower to check where it was. The next day, Saturday, we visited the Tower.  We were very lucky to meet Steve. He was cutting the grass and said hello to us and that he’d give us a tour in ten minutes. We also met two very nice sisters who were visiting the Tower all the way from America. They were called Hanna and were very nice to us.

Steve shows my family and me around the tower

Here I am with my parents and our tour guide, Steve, who always makes Tower visits special.

Sorbie tower was an amazing experience to see centuries of our family history. It is absolutely beautiful inside and out I would definitely recommend it for a holiday. I got a fabulous tour from Steve; I would go again to see this fantastic place. It is a magical experience inside and out. It truly transports you to another world. I cannot wait to see it when it is fully renovated and I hope all Hannah, Hannay, Hanna and Hanneys can enjoy it, as well as tourists, visitors, and locals. Please help and donate to the cause of transforming the tower back to what it was.

My Dad, Mum and I are now members of Clan Hannay, and I love it.

Thank you for reading my article. Over and out, Louise Julia Hannah, age 10.


2024 Clan Gathering – tickets now available!

The 2024 Gathering of the Clan Hannay Society will take place on 24-26th May!

The timetable for the Gathering is:

Friday 24th May

19:00 – 21.00 hrs. Reception at Sorbie Tower. £15 per head including wine (or soft drink) and nibbles. A chance to see the Tower by candlelight with the fires lit. Clan members and their guests welcome.

Saturday 25th May

10.30 hrs for 11.00 hrs. AGM. Garlieston Village Hall. Clan members and their guests welcome. Free of charge, no ticket required.

13.00 hrs. Light buffet lunch following AGM. £17 per head. Clan members and their guests welcome.

15.00 hrs. Clan Gathering and Piping in the Colours at Sorbie Tower. Free of charge, no ticket required, all welcome.

18.30 hrs for 19.00 hrs prompt. Clan Dinner Dance at the Creebridge House Hotel, Newton Stewart. Tickets £32 per adult, £16 per child up to 12 years. Please note that under 12s will receive a child’s portion dinner. Dress code: feel free to dress up if you wish, or smart casual if you don’t. Clan members and their guests welcome. Space is limited for the Dinner Dance. Please make your reservation as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

If you have any special dietary requirements or food allergies, please contact the Membership Secretary.

Sunday 26th May

12.00 hrs onwards. Picnic with Clan games at Sorbie Tower. Bring your own picnic and watch or take part in the Clan games (donations welcome), which are open to all, adults and children. Free of charge, no ticket required, all welcome.

Note that you must be logged in as a member to have access to the tickets page.
Click here for tickets.  Click here if you need to log in.  Not a member? Click here to find out more about membership

Captain James Hanna(y), Explorer and Trader of the Canadian Northwestern Coast, d. 1787

2023 Newsletter now available

The 2023 Clan Hannay Newsletter is now available!  Membership login is required to access. If you are a member and you have requested a printed copy, it should already be on the way to your mailbox!


360 Degree Video – Reception at Sorbie Tower 2023

Watch a 360 degree video immersing you in the evening reception held at Sorbie Tower during the 2023 Gathering weekend.

For the best experience, expand to full screen. Click and drag your mouse to move the view in any direction. If you have a scroll wheel, you can also zoom in and out.

360 Degree Video – Piping The Colours 2023

Watch in 360 degree video as David Hanna, the Clan Piper, leads a procession to Sorbie Tower at the 2023 Gathering.

For the best experience, expand to full screen. Click and drag your mouse to move the view in any direction. If you have a scroll wheel, you can also zoom in and out.

Kilkeel Gathering – Mourne Observer

The Mourne Observer followed up on their previous month’s preview article with this report on the Hanna(y) trip to Kilkeel!

Visitors from around the world enjoy exploring the past during trip to Kilkeel

By Julie Mclaughlin (julie @

KILKEEL warmly welcomed a group of international visitors last week. Hosted by the Clan Hannay Society, there were two days of special events that anyone with the surnames Hannay, Hannah, Hanna or Hanney was welcome to attend. Local people had the chance to catch up with distant relatives and make new friends at the gathering, last Monday and Tuesday (29 and 30 May)…

See the full article (PDF).

Clan Hannay genealogist Dr Keith Hanna (centre) with clan member and tour guide Maynard Hanna and Heritage project officer Laura Johnston

Hanna Gathering in the News

The Mourne Observer printed the following article on p. 23 of the Wednesday, 3 May, 2023 issue.

Kilkeel will play host to international gathering of the Hannas

By Julie Mclaughlin (julie @

An international gathering of people with the surname Hanna will be taking place in Kilkeel towards the end of this month. The Clan Hannay Society is hosting a special Hanna gathering to enable people with the surname Hanna to get together and meet one another. The Clan Hannay Society is an organisation “dedicated to global fellowship and friendship of all those bearing or descended from the family names Hannay, Hannah, Hanna or Hanney”, their website,, says. The organisation was founded in 1960. The society even has published a history of the Hanna family, “The Hannays of Sorbie” by Stewart Francis, which is available on Amazon. All people with the surnames Hanna, Hannay, Hannah, Hanney and similar are invited to attend two special days of events taking place at the end of May.

An international gathering of people with the surname Hanna will be visiting Hanna’s Close in Kilkeel at the end of May to learn more about the Hanna family in south Down.

People do not have to be members of the Clan Hannay Society to attend. The Northern Ireland event is timed to take place directly after the annual Clan Gathering, which is taking place in the village of Sorbie, Scotland, the last weekend in May. According to the organisers, “This is therefore a unique opportunity to meet with kinspeople with a shared historical and genetic connection and to find out more about one of the most active Scottish clan societies.”

The main focus of the two days of events will be Kilkeel, which according to the Clan Hannay, has the highest concentration of the surname Hanna in the world. The two-day schedule starts with a coach tour of County Down on the afternoon of Monday, 29 May. That evening at 6pm will be the Clan Hannay Town Meeting at the Kilmorey Arms Hotel in Kilkeel. This will be followed by a Clan Hannay Ulster-Scots dinner with entertainment by the Schomberg Society.

“We will use this opportunity to have an American-style town hall meeting for the clan leadership to present where the Clan Hannay Society is after over 50 years of existence and the future direction at both Sorbie Tower, our ancestral home, “and with our sister societies around the world,” a spokesperson said. “This will be a wonderful opportunity to meet and share with Hannas, Hannahs, Hanneys and Hannays from across the British Isles and beyond as well as a time for an open Q and A session with the clan leadership and to meet with the clan historian and clan genealogist. “Many of the original founders of the Clan Hannay Society from Northern Ireland have sadly passed away but we think this event will offer a chance to discuss future directions and to see if there is interest in rekindling local Clan Hanna activities in Ulster and across Ireland.”

The Clan Hannay Society will stop to see the Robert Hanna statue in Kllkeel during a tour of local sights.

On Tuesday, 30 May, there will be a visit to Hanna’s Close from 9 to 10am. At 10am there will be an introduction to the Schomberg Ulster-Scots Society, which will include a stop at the Sgt Major Robert Hill Hanna statue at Lower Square, Kilkeel. He received the Victoria Cross for his heroism in World War I.

On the Tuesday afternoon, there will be a scenic tour of the Mourne Mountains, Scarva and Hillsborough. For those who wish to attend the town hall meeting, it is free and no tickets are required.

Tickets for the dinner at the Kilmorey Arms are £33 for adults and£8.50 for children. They can be purchased online at and the deadline for booking is 22 May. There is an £8 supplement payable on the night for those who order the sirloin steak meal.

Tickets for the entire two-day Scotch-Irish/Ulster Scots Historical and Cultural Trip to Kilkeel, which includes the dinner at the Kilmorey Arms, is £75 per person. Tickets can be purchased online at

For more information, contact Keith Hanna by email at postmaster @