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Clan gathering

It was a case last week of when Mary met Norman or, as the Gaels will have it, when NicIlliosa met MacGhilliosa.

We are referring, of course, to the meeting of the two Gillies's - Mary, President of Ireland, and the much more famous Norman, head of Sabhal Mor Ostaig college on Skye.

President Gillies (sorry McAleese) was helicoptered into the college's stunningly located campus to deliver the annual lecture of the University of the Highlands and Islands Millennium Institute (that name has to go; perhaps the Gaels might have a word for it). And Norman, naturally, lost no time in welcoming a fellow clansperson to his fastness.

Alas, she is not a real NicIlliosa at all but a Lenaghan by birth. It is husband Martin whose name she bears. That is probably why, as a former hurling stalwart at Queen's University in Belfast, he was given a splendid shinty stick.

Whatever happened to the tradition of giving spouses flowers on such occasions?

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