The Royal Celtic Society's annual Summer Lunch took place on Sunday 10th June at the New Club in Edinburgh.
The guest speaker was Professor Emeritus Sir Thomas Devine, OBE, HonMRIA, FRSE, FBA, Scotland's leading contemporary historian, who enthralled his audience with a talk on the theme, 'Were the Clearances confined to the Highlands during the 18th and 19th centuries?'
In a tantalising foretaste of his forthcoming book, Sir Tom discussed the reasons for the relocation and resettlement of rural populations in response to industrialisation and changing economic conditions, posing an intriguing question: why have the Lowland clearances been so entirely forgotten, when the clearance in the Highlands continues to evoke strong passions and a great deal of residual resentment? We look forward to the publication on 4th October of Sir Tom's latest book, The Scottish Clearances 1500-1900: a History of the Dispossessed.
Sir Tom's academic credentials are universally acknowledged and respected; The Herald newspaper, in its feature on the 100 most powerful people in Scotland, described him as, 'the nation's pre-eminent historian. A towering and fearless intellect, an academic tornado from early in his career, who has re-shaped the way Scotland's past is seen.'
This is the latest in an output of over 40 books in a lifetime's career dedicated to historical scholarship Predictably, members were keen to hear what Sir Tom had to say about this enduring issue in our history and demand for places was high. It was the Society's great privilege to host him at this event and we are grateful to him for giving so generously of his time. We look forward to welcoming him back.