Because he needs me. And you, ye bastard, never did.

Laoghaire MacKenzie (LEE-ree) is a character first introduced in Outlander, later appears in Voyager and An Echo in the Bone, and is at least mentioned in the rest of the novels. She debuts in Outlander as a fair young maiden at Castle Leoch, infatuated with Jamie Fraser and hugely jealous of Claire.

Laoghaire has two daughters, Joan and Marsali, from her second marriage, and four grandchildren – Germain, Joan, Félicité, and Henri-Christian – whom she has never met.

Personal HistoryEdit

Not much is known about Laoghaire's early life. At sixteen, she remembers Jamie from when he lived at Castle Leoch as a teenager, when she herself was no more than ten.[2] Her father, who brought her to Colum requesting she be punished for loose behavior, was likely a tenant of the MacKenzie, and so Laoghaire probably grew up near the castle and its inhabitants.

Events of the NovelsEdit


Laoghaire ostensibly falls in love with the strapping young Jamie when he takes her place in a public beating. When Jamie weds Claire, Laoghaire not only places an ill-wish under Claire's pillow, but also sends Claire to meet Geillis Duncan just as the fiscal's wife is about to be tried for witchcraft; consequently, Claire gets dragged into the proceedings as well and is almost killed.

Dragonfly in AmberEdit

In October of 1745, Colum tells Claire that Laoghaire married one of his tacksmen, Hugh MacKenzie of Muldaur, six months earlier. Colum offers to arrange a punishment for Laoghaire to right the wrong she did to Claire in Cranesmuir, but Claire declines.  


Laoghaire bore no children by her first husband, Hugh MacKenzie, but had two daughters with her second husband, Simon MacKimmie, who died in prison after the Rising. After Jamie returns from prison and indentured servitude, Jamie's sister, Jenny, arranges a marriage between Laoghaire and her grieving brother. The marriage, however, is a failure, and Jamie leaves Laoghaire.

Upon Jamie and Claire's return to Lallybroch, Laoghaire appears and claims Jamie as her own husband, shooting him in the arm and demanding that he divorce Claire. After the dust has settled, and with assistance from Ned Gowan, Jamie's marriage to Laoghaire is declared invalid – as Claire was clearly still alive – and he agrees to pay her a yearly fee and provide a dowry for each of her two daughters.

Drums of Autumn Edit

Laoghaire is present when Brianna first visits Lallybroch in June 1769, trying to wheedle money out of Jenny and Ian. She is told by Amyas Ketterick that Jamie was seen riding near Balgriggan, and though she tells Jenny and Ian this they don't believe her. Once she sees Brianna and hears that she is Jamie's daughter she becomes spiteful and furious, demanding to know who Brianna's mother is and suggesting that Brianna could be playing them false in an attempt to obtain money from Jenny and Ian. After Brianna's mother is confirmed to be Claire, Laoghaire accuses Brianna of being a 'witch's spawn' and warns the Murrays to be wary of her. A furious Brianna reveals Laoghaire's role in Claire's arrest for witchcraft in Crainsmuir over twenty years ago, and before leaving Laoghaire tells Brianna that as Jamie's daughter his debts are her debts. She tries to take Ellen's pearls as the payment promised to her by Jamie, but is stopped by Jenny.          

An Echo in the BoneEdit

Laoghaire subsequently takes up a relationship with her servant, Joey. Her daughter Joan, who wishes to join a convent, blackmails her mother into marrying the man.


By her actions at age sixteen, Laoghaire paints herself as covetous and vengeful, though at the same time very naive and immature. In middle age she seems to have retained the former qualities. However, her personality in the books is presented through select points of view, primarily Claire's, and so any redeeming qualities she may have are frequently overshadowed by her involvement as antagonist to the series' main heroine. Other aspects of her character are gleaned through brief dialogue later on. Through her daughter, Marsali, Claire learns that Laoghaire's husband was violent with her and her daughters. When Jamie approaches her years later to apologize for deceiving her in their marriage, however unwittingly, Laoghaire's primary justification for her interest in Joseph Murray, the crippled man she has taken as lover, is that he needs her, and Jamie never did.

What is not in doubt, is that Laoghaire loves her daughters, and the grandchildren she has never met. She goes so far as to beg Claire, with bribery, to return to America to attend to Henri-Christian, whose enlarged tonsils pose a serious threat to his health.

Physical AppearanceEdit

Laoghaire has fair hair and skin, pale blue eyes, and a round, pretty face. As an adult pushing forty, her body has thickened around the middle and her face is plump and weathered, her once moonbeam-colored hair dulled to an ashy blonde. Still, she is a handsome woman, and tall for a Scot.


John MacLeod is a married man from Killiecrankie with whom Laoghaire had an affair as a teenager, though at the time she didn't know he was married.

Hugh Mackenzie was Laoghaire's first husband and a tacksman of Colum MacKenzie. He was killed at the Battle of Culloden. They were married for a year.

Simon MacKimmie was Laoghaire's second husband. They married two years after her first husband was killed, and he is the father of Marsali and Joan. He was the owner of Balriggan, the estate where Laoghaire continues to live. Marsali's memories of him are not pleasant, as she remembers his violent temper. Simon was arrested when the children were very young, and he died in prison.

Laoghaire originally met Jamie Fraser while in his youth as a ward to his uncle Dougal MacKenzie at Castle Leoch. He didn't remember her but she certainly remembered him.

Upon his return to Leoch in 1743, Jamie takes a beating on her behalf, trying to save her from humiliation, which she mistakenly interprets as a sign of reciprocated love. Jamie then goes with his uncle Dougal to collect rents, and returns married to Claire Fraser, which outrages Laoghaire. She puts an ill-wish under Jamie and Claire's bed, and tries to get Claire killed, of which Jamie is ignorant for many years.

In late 1764, after Jamie returns to Lallybroch from prison and indentured servitude, his sister Jenny Murray arranges a marriage between him and Laoghaire. However, the marriage is a failure, and within a year Jamie leaves Laoghaire and moves to Edinburgh.

Jamie later recalls that he seemed to always say the wrong thing, and that Laoghaire seemed to fear him when he tried to be close to her. Years later, Laoghaire admits that she knew Jamie did not need her, wouldn't truly look at her, and that lack made her turn away from him.

Upon Claire's return in November 1766, Laoghaire is furious and shoots Jamie in the arm. After the dust settles, Ned Gowan settles matters between Laoghaire and Jamie, drawing up a contract stating that Jamie would continue to support Laoghaire and her daughters until Laoghaire should remarry, as well as provide a dowry for each of the girls. Their marriage is declared invalid and Jamie leaves Scotland with Claire short time later.

Jamie and Claire return to Lallybroch in January 1778. While there, Jamie pays Laoghaire a visit and apologizes for marrying her when he was incapable of loving her. They start arguing and Laoghaire attacks him. Jamie ends up beating her servant Joey, with whom Laoghaire has an affair.

In March 1778, Claire and Laoghaire make a deal—Claire will go to Philadelphia to perform a surgery on Laoghaire's grandson, and Laoghaire will marry Joey, thus giving up Jamie's alimony.

Joseph Murry was Laoghaire's lover following her annulled marriage to Jamie Fraser and eventually her fourth husband. He is a hired man at Balriggan, though one leg is shorter than the other and his spine is twisted, making physical labor difficult for him. Laoghaire hesitates to marry him because that would stop Jamie's contractual payments to her, thus running the risk that she would lose Balriggan if she couldn't keep it up. Joan seeks Jamie's help in the matter so that she can become a nun using her dowry money, and Laoghaire eventually agrees to marry Joey if Claire will return to America to help her grandson.


  • Laoghaire (LEER ee, LAIR ee, L'Heery) may come from the Old Irish name Laegaire, which may mean "calf-herder". Name of two saints and a king of Tara.[3]
  • MacKenzie is the anglicized form of MacCoinnich, a Gaelic patronymic name meaning "son of Coinneach". The personal name Coinneach means "handsome" or "comely".[4][5]
  • MacKimmie is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic Mac Shimidh, a patronymic from a Gaelic equivalent to the name Simon,[6] from Σιμων (Simon), the New Testament Greek form of the Hebrew name שִׁמְעוֹן (Shim'on) which meant "he has heard".[7]
  • Fraser may be derived from Fredarius, Fresel or Freseau. Another suggestion is that the Frasers were a tribe in Roman Gaul, whose badge was a strawberry plant.[8]
  • Murray is derived from the region in Scotland called Moray meaning "seaboard settlement".[9]


TV SeriesEdit

Main article: Outlander (TV series)

Actress Nell Hudson portrays Laoghaire in the STARZ Outlander television series.


Season One

Season Two

Season Three

  • TBA



  1. Age as of the end of Written in My Own Heart's Blood.
  2. Jamie lived at Leoch when he was sixteen, i.e. around 1737, which would place Laoghaire's age at that time around ten or eleven. When Laoghaire tells Jamie in Outlander that she remembers him from that time, he estimates that she was seven or eight, though Jamie is just about five years older than her.
  3. Celtic Female Names of Ireland – accessed 11 May 2015.
  4. Behind the Name:Coinneach
  6. MacKimmie - accessed 27 May 2016
  7. Behind the Name: Simon - accessed 27 May 2016
  8. Way, George and Squire, Romily. Collins Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia. (Foreword by The Rt Hon. The Earl of Elgin KT, Convenor, The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs). Published in 1994. Pages 142 - 143.
  9. Behind the Name (Surnames): Murray – Accessed 17 March 2014


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