The 32nd Congress was held in Glasgow from 02 -05 August. Several members of RQG featured at this grand event – and in many ways it was grand. Highly international, at least 27 countries were represented. Held in the Adam-designed ancient Trades Hall, we were surrounded by history.
From RQG, Bruce Durie kicked off with the Arms of Glasgow. Tahitia McCabe gave us the improbable tale of immigrants from the USA to Scotland. Ali Macdonald and Graham Holton did an astonishing double-act on DNA (from the Bannockburn viewpoint). Speakers had been asked to include translations of key points on their slides in French and German as well as English. Ali and Graham’s slides were purely in French and German while they spoke in turns in English – a tour de force (whatever language that might be). Jenny Swanson gave us Pittenweem fishermen and Ian Macdonald went through 500 years of one family (well not quite all of it).
Heraldry is a major part of this event and that was the main interest of most of those from other parts. We were invited to a civic reception at the Council Chambers (itself an astonishing feast of marble interiors) so a heraldic procession was organised led by a piper and dignitaries from various international heraldic organisations with their chains of office, followed by many armigers carrying heraldic banners (and then the raggle-taggle rest of us, some under un-heraldic umbrellas as it was a bit damp).
Police cleared our way through the traffic and round the George Square one-way system (processions have to stay on the road and have to stick to a single lane – they are designated as a ‘vehicle’). The lady Provost was on holiday but one of her Baillies welcomed us with some good stories of Glasgow before we dived in to our haggis suppers with the traditional bashed neeps and tatties. For the more culturally uncouth the haggis could be replaced by pasta bake – with bashed neeps and tatties.
There was a closing banquet on the Friday. Instructions to gentlemen were that formal dress was not required – but medals could be worn! Heraldic insignia were display on the tables. What more could anyone ask for?