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  1. #1
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    clan crest-MacSweeney

    Recently, I stumbled across a listing on Scotweb for Irish clan crests and among those listed was the MacSweeney (MacSuibhne) crest. I was excited. I immediately emailed them to see what the difference was between the MacSweeney clan crest and the MacQueen clan crest and received and email stating that they had discontinued the MacSweeney clan crest. What a revolting development!

    Aside from asking if anyone knows of an alternative source, I still wonder if there is a difference. Scotweb says the MacQueen clan crest features a rampant lion but the MacSween "animal" was the boar. I am under the impression that MacQueen is a variation or derivation of MacSween and I would expect (hope?) the clan crests to be similar.

    anyone?
    DWFII--Traditionalist and Auld Crabbit
    In the Highlands of Central Oregon

  2. #2
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    I was always under the impression that the two names were the same clan. Check out the Clan Chattan website:

    http://www.clanchattan.org.uk/catalo...s/macqueen.php

    There's probably more to it than that, though.
    "Touch not the cat bot a glove."

  3. #3
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    There are three branches of the Sweeney clan: Fannadh, Bannagh, and Doe. (Spellings may be a bit off on the first two.) Sweeney Doe is the chiefly line and it would be his crest that clansmen would wear (assuming of course that Irish and Scottish practices were the same, although there doesn't seem to be a great deal of historical support for this supposition). As far as the Fannadh and Bannagh branches are concerned these have died out well over a hundred years ago, despite the claims of the two recent "representers" who conjured up their "titles" some 30 years ago.

    I believe that the name is, ultimately, of Norse origin, from Argyll-shire in Scotland.

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    I'm sure the badge they had was one of the Irish crest cap badges that Gaelic Themes is (or was) offering. I say was, because back when our gift shop was stocking Gaelic Themse products, we had the hardest time getting in any shipments of these items. Half the time we were told "out of stock" and then after a long wait, we were ultimately told "this name has been discontinued." Eventually we had to drop the line just because of problems getting them to our customers -- sounds like Scotweb might be having the same problems. I think we have a few left on hand, but I don't think we have any MacSweeny (I'll check for you, though).

    I have my doubts, though, as to how heraldically correct they are. The badges showed the crest (presumably of the cheif of that name, assuming there is one), encircled not with a belt & buckle as on a Scottish clansman's badge, but with a cladadh desgisn, upon which is not the clan motto (as on a Scottish badge), but the Gaelic rendition of the name.

    Neat concept, and great looking badge, but I just don't know enough about Irish heraldry to know if this is correctly done or not, or indeed if there is any tradition in Ireland at all of using a chief's crest as a badge in this manner (as has developed in Scottish heraldry).
    Matthew A. C. Newsome, GTS
    Kiltmaker & Tartan Scholar
    US Distributor for House of Cheviot kilt hose
    Visit www.NewHouseHighland.com for custom kilts & knitwear.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by M. A. C. Newsome View Post
    I have my doubts, though, as to how heraldically correct they are. The badges showed the crest (presumably of the cheif of that name, assuming there is one), encircled not with a belt & buckle as on a Scottish clansman's badge, but with a cladadh desgisn, upon which is not the clan motto (as on a Scottish badge), but the Gaelic rendition of the name.
    Matt,

    I have another source in the UK that is doing these (just found it yesterday) but they are as you describe.

    The problem...and undoubtedly I'm obsessing a bit here...is that, as I understand the history of Clan MacSween (aka MacSweeney, MacQueen, Sweeney), Clan MacQueen (a branch of the family or an alternative spelling and a possible alternative that is often substituted particularly with regard to tartans) actually post dates the forced immigration of Clan MacSween back to Ireland--where they became MacSweeney and, ultimately, Sweeney. If I read it right, there is no Clan MacQueen pre-Bannockburn and no Clan MacSween post-Bannockburn.

    So, if you are of Irish descent most recently (Sweeney), then MacQueen isn't really in a direct line. Or is it?

    Maybe I'm looking at it wrong but if that's the case the MacQueen tartan and the MacQueen clan crest aren't quite right. Or are they?

    Of course it's all hokum with regard to tartans but it seems Clan MacSween disappeared from Argyll before tartans and tartans associated with a particular clan caught the fancy of Victorian society. So presumably, there was no clan crest specific to MacSween/MacSuibhne, either, although what history I have been able to ferret out indicates Clan MacSween did have it's own chieftain.
    DWFII--Traditionalist and Auld Crabbit
    In the Highlands of Central Oregon

  6. #6
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    Maybe I'm looking at it wrong but if that's the case the MacQueen tartan and the MacQueen clan crest aren't quite right. Or are they?
    One thing to point out, though: the clansman's badge displays the crest of the clan chief, which is part of the chief's arms -- it is not a "generic" symbol for the clan per se. When a clansman/woman wears the badge, it is saying I "belong" to the Chief, who is the head of the clan.

    Given that the Irish never really adopted the Highland clan system per se, I'm wondering if the makers of said badge found a coat-of-arms for someone named McSweeney and used the crest as they would a Scottish clanman's badge?

    T.

  7. #7
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    Shedding a Little Light on the Subject

    Quote Originally Posted by cajunscot View Post
    One thing to point out, though: the clansman's badge displays the crest of the clan chief, which is part of the chief's arms -- it is not a "generic" symbol for the clan per se. When a clansman/woman wears the badge, it is saying I "belong" to the Chief, who is the head of the clan.

    Given that the Irish never really adopted the Highland clan system per se, I'm wondering if the makers of said badge found a coat-of-arms for someone named McSweeney and used the crest as they would a Scottish clanman's badge?

    T.
    Insofar as it was possible, the crests depicted within the claddagh are those of the recognized Irish chiefs, or the crest (when known) of the last known or presumed chief.

    For precisely the reason cited by Cajunscot the decision was taken to make the badges similar to, but different than, those worn by Scots. The claddagh being traditionally Irish and similar in design to the Scottish buckle and strap, it was the obvious choice for the Irish clan badge. The decision to place the name (in Irish) on the claddagh was taken after learning that it was the consensus of the Irish chiefs that they viewed the motto as personal, rather than generic. The spellings chosen are those most commonly encountered.

    The original artwork was done by Romilly Squire and licensed exclusively to Gaelic Themes in Glasgow.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMillan of Rathdown View Post
    Insofar as it was possible, the crests depicted within the claddagh are those of the recognized Irish chiefs, or the crest (when known) of the last known or presumed chief.

    For precisely the reason cited by Cajunscot the decision was taken to make the badges similar to, but different than, those worn by Scots. The claddagh being traditionally Irish and similar in design to the Scottish buckle and strap, it was the obvious choice for the Irish clan badge. The decision to place the name (in Irish) on the claddagh was taken after learning that it was the consensus of the Irish chiefs that they viewed the motto as personal, rather than generic. The spellings chosen are those most commonly encountered.

    The original artwork was done by Romilly Squire and licensed exclusively to Gaelic Themes in Glasgow.
    Scott: thanks for the clarification on this. I have seen these badges before, but I wondered what the source was for them.

    Todd

  9. #9
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    MacMillan,

    Thank you that really eases my mind about the Irish crests.
    DWFII--Traditionalist and Auld Crabbit
    In the Highlands of Central Oregon

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