accounts over the years:
- Currie and Curry Today
- McMhuirrich and Currie
- Jean Currie and Clachan Glendaruel
- Dr. John Curry of Dublin
- James Curry’s Voyage to America
- John Curry’s Voyage to Australia
Currie and Curry Today
McMhuirrich and Currie
Clan MacMhuirrich was one of the earliest constituted
Clans of the Scottish Highlands. In his book Scottish
Clans and Tartans, Scottish historian Ian Grimble wrote:
“The Hebridean name of Currie is the
corrupt English form of the MacMureach, one of the most ancient and
distinguished names in Scotland’s history. Through the MacMhuirrichs,
literary torch in the Western Isles was preserved for generations. They
recognized as the most illustrious body of learned men who were
the heroic literature and genealogy of the ancient Gaelic world.”
founder of this clan was Muiredach O’Daly, an outstanding Irish poet of
time who, however, was forced to flee to the west coast of Scotland in
1213. His descendants attached
themselves to the MacDonald clan who ruled as Lord of the Isles.
MacMhuirrich (pronounced MacVurich), the last of the bards, chronicled
of Montrose in the last body of Gaelic prose to be written in Scotland
ancient Irish script style. When he died in 1726, this bardic order
the Jacobite defeat at Culloden in 1746, many Gaelic names became
The name MacMhuirrich could be seen in a variety of forms before
Currie tartan came into existence in 1822 at the time of George IV’s
visit to Edinburgh. That year Lord Alexander MacDonald, Chief of the
of the Isles, granted to James Currie of Balilone and Garrachoran the
use the Lord of the Isles tartan as the basis for his own family tartan.
Jean Currie and Clachan Glandurel
The bard who composed this Gaelic love song is sad, because
he has parted
from the girl he loved. The song (in
“My girl of the smooth fair
complexion and the beguiling eyes
Who has grown healthy and active,
Sad were my
steps when we parted
At the village of Glendaruel.”
He then thinks of the time they spent together,
and says that even if King George gave him a place among the nobility,
prefer to be near her. He knows that the kirk session might not
approve of him,
but says that no matter what happens he will be true to the girl.
The words of
the song were composed by a young unmarried minister, Angus Fletcher of
Dunoon. The woman who was the subject of
the song – Jean Currie – owned the farm of Coire-Chathaidh near Dunoon. She later married and became Mrs Black.
Dr. John Curry of
was a distinguished Catholic physician and writer born in Ireland
early in the 18th century. He was
descended from the O’Corra family of Cavan who lost their estates in
of 1641-1652, and 1689-1691. His
a cavalry officer in James’s army, fell at the battle of Aughrim.
by his religion from obtaining a
degree in Ireland (on account of the stringency of the Penal Laws
Catholics), John Curry went to Paris where he studied medicine for
years. Returning to practice in Ireland,
he rose to eminence as a physician; and he took up his pen in defense
impelled him to do so was thus related by his editor, Charles O’Connor:
“In October 1746, as he passed through
the castle yard on the memorial day of the Irish rebellion of 1641, he
ladies and a girl of about eight years of age.
Stepping on a little before them, she turned about suddenly and,
hands and horror in her countenance, exclaimed:
‘Are there any of those bloody
Papists in Dublin?‘
incident, which to a different hearer would be laughable, filled the
with anxious reflections. He immediately
inferred that the child’s terror proceeded from the impression made on
by the sermon preached on that day in Christ Church, from whence these
had proceeded. Having procured a copy of
the sermon, he found that his surmise was well founded.”
combated such bitter prejudices in a Dialogue,
the publication of which created a great sensation. It was
replied to by
Walter Harris. Dr. Curry rejoined in
his Historical Memoirs. In 1775 he published
Historical and Critical Review of the Civil Wars in Ireland.
Mr. O’Conor, and a few more, Dr. Curry was one of the founders of the
Catholic Committee, which in 1760 met privately at the Elephant Tavern
Essex Street in Dublin. This was the
forerunner of the powerful Catholic Associations which seventy years
afterwards, under O’Connell, achieved Emancipation.
died in 1780. Two of his sons were army officers
in the Austrian service.
James Curry’s Voyage to America
family embarked at Belfast for America on board the ship Good
Return sometime in 1762. A large colony accompanied, including
several brothers with their families and other relatives.
The ship was a fast sailer which had once
made the voyage in five weeks. But this
trip the vessel had been overloaded so that, what with head winds and
counter-currents, her passage across the Atlantic was prolonged to
Disease, starvation and death meanwhile made sad havoc among the
passengers and crew. The greater part died and were buried at sea,
the four youngest children of James Curry. The ship finally made
and the James Curry family stepped ashore with but three, where seven
have been in number.
The family seems then to have at once started with other
relatives for Virginia. One of the
brothers went to Pennsylvania and another, from which the Methodist
Rev. Daniel Curry was reportedly descended, settled in New York.
John Curry’s Voyage to Australia
was a Durham coalminer. At the age of
39, he departed in 1870 with his wife Margaret and young family on the Percy for a new life in Australia.
The Percy sailed from England to Pernambuco,
Brazil before heading southeast past the Cape of Good Hope and,
assisted by the
Roaring Forties, the vessel arrived in Melbourne after 104 days.
However, not all was well onboard. There had been nine deaths on the voyage from
suspected typhus, fever and the effects of overcrowding. The ship was placed in quarantine at the
sanitary station on arrival in Melbourne for a period of eight days. Margaret Curry in fact gave birth to a baby
boy during this period and was held there for
another week after the rest of the passengers had been towed on board
the Percy to Hobson’s Bay.
Family legend has it
that John Curry tried his luck at the Victoria goldfields.
But he then moved onto the coal mining in
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