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Sport in Society ISSN: 1743-0437 (Print) 1743-0445 (Online) Journal homepage: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/fcss20 Gaelic Sport, Soccer and Irishness in Scotland Joseph M. Bradley To cite this article: Joseph M. Bradley (2007) Gaelic Sport, Soccer and Irishness in Scotland, Sport in Society, 10:3, 439-456, DOI: 10.1080/17430430701333844 To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/17430430701333844 Published online: 11 May 2007. Submit your article to this journal Article views: 469 View related articles Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at https://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?journalCode=fcss20 Sport in Society Vol. 10, No. 3, May 2007, pp. 439–456 Gaelic Sport, Soccer and Irishness in Scotland Joseph M. Bradley This essay reflects on the history of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) in Scotland. A significant number of Irish immigrants and their offspring transformed the social, political and religious make-up of much of Scottish society in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. However, despite a considerable amount of Irish cultural activity, and an important GAA presence in Scotland, the Association has rarely acquired a vibrancy that matched the size of its diasporic constituency. This study looks at the vicissitudes in the life of the GAA, considers some of the reasons for the organization’s comparative weaknesses and reflects on the contribution of Gaelic sports to the construction of Irishness in modern Scotland. While the history of the GAA is an essential part of the ongoing narrative of the Irish in Scotland, this essay recognizes that Irishness and sport in Scotland cannot be explored without some deliberation on the supporter culture of Celtic Football Club. The essay therefore reflects on Celtic’s significance for the Irish diasporic community in Scottish society and the ways that this has impacted on the historical positioning of the GAA within Scotland. Irish Immigration in Scotland A significant number of Irish immigrants settled in Scotland during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Handley calculated that approximately 300,000 Irish refugees migrated to Britain during the Great Famine of the mid-nineteenth century with 100,000 arriving in Scotland. [1] Collins estimates that around 8 per cent of all Irishborn emigrants went to Scotland during the period 1841 to 1921 and most Irish immigration to Scotland took place during this time. [2] Throughout the post-Famine years of the mid-nineteenth century, during the first quarter of the twentieth, and more erratically for the rest of that century, substantial numbers of immigrant Irish entered Scotland, most eventually settling in the west-central belt in and around Joseph M. Bradley, Department of Sports Studies, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland. Correspondence to: Email: j.m.bradley@stir.ac.uk ISSN 1743-0437 (print)/ISSN 1743-0445 (online)/07/030439-18 q 2007 Taylor & Francis DOI: 10.1080/17430430701333844 440 J.M. Bradley Lanarkshire and greater Glasgow. During this period, numerous districts in westcentral Scotland changed in their religious and social composition as Irish Catholics streamed in. Towns and villages such as Coatbridge, Carfin and Glenboig in Lanarkshire, areas of Glasgow like Calton and Gorbals, and districts of Paisley, Port Glasgow, Greenock and Dumbarton absorbed many Irish, consequently assisting in the social and economic growth and development of these areas. In each location, a re-formed Irishness, social, cultural, national and religious, developed and was shaped by and in response to the environment and conditions experienced. Although some Irish settled in other parts of Scotland, the vast majority did so in the west-central belt, within a radius of approximately 30 miles of Glasgow city centre. Early Development of Gaelic Games In the late nineteenth century a cultural, sporting and political change evolved where many in Ireland looked to reverse British colonial influence and reinvigorate Irishness as a focus for pride and celebration. The aim was to reinstate and reinvent indigenous practices and identities, including a revival of the Irish language and Gaelic sports. Part of this change was reflected with the dawning of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) and its founders wished to use Gaelic sports as a nationalizing idiom, a symbolic language of identity filling the void created by the speed of the cultural colonization of Ireland. [3] From the outset, Irish identity; nationalist, political, social and cultural, was central to many leaders, organizers and participants in the GAA. In late nineteenth century Scotland, Irish and Catholic ethnic newspapers carried a significant amount of community news and information that reflected the plethora of Irish political and cultural activity at the time. Such endeavours amongst the diaspora in west-central Scotland partly emulated the Irish Ireland movement at home and this is manifest with reports of the first Gaelic Athletic Club, Red Hugh O’Neills, being founded in the east end of Glasgow in 1897. [4] It is likely that it was the culturally aware and politically active amongst the community who gave birth to the ‘Red Hugh’ Club. The location for engagements (Young Ireland Hall) was well established as a place for nationalist meetings and there seems to have been overlap in membership of those of the Irish National League and the new club. Although ‘Red Hughs’ was reported as being in regular training and preparing for a match against a London side, reports of hurling activity in Glasgow quickly died. By early 1901 Irish immigrants in Glasgow founded the Rapparees Hurling Club, one of the most significant of all Gaelic clubs born in Scotland over the course of the twentieth century. One of the founders, Proinnsia O’Maonaigh, a member of the Gaelic League in Glasgow, suggested that the new team should be named after his former club in Dublin. The first game participated in by the Rapparees was in 1901 against the Caledonian Shinty Club at the latter’s ground in Glasgow: the Irish side being beaten 5-2 by the Glasgow team. [5] Although two other games were played between a hurling side in Dublin and a shinty side from Scotland in 1887, the second of which was refereed by Michael Cusack, the game involving the Rapparees was an Sport in Society 441 exception. There appears to have been minimal contact between the fledgling GAA in Glasgow and Scotland’s native shinty tradition. Apart from efforts on the part of the GAA to create friendly relations in the 1930s, it was the 1990s before these were established with a series of compromise rules games involving representative ‘international’ shinty and hurling sides. At the turn of the century, Irish Irelanders continued their progress and in March of 1901 the Whiteinch Hurling Club, The Faughs, was formed from the Whiteinch Branch of the Gaelic League. [6] Indeed, for a number of years this was the pattern in Scotland in that new Gaelic athletic clubs were significantly linked to the presence or otherwise of Conradh na Gaeilge (Gaelic League). Most new clubs were formed from within the various sections of the League, which at the turn of the century comprised 17 branches in the Glasgow area alone. In mid-1901, at a meeting in the Grand National Halls, the Rapparees decided to formally affiliate to the GAA in Dublin. [7] In April 1902 the Glasgow Examiner reported that a new club, Eire Og, had been formed in Port Glasgow near Greenock. [8] After the club’s first match against the Rapparees, both teams finished the day’s festivities singing the rallying songs of the Gaelic League. A few months later the Cuchulin Hurling Club was inaugurated in the Polmadie area of the city. [9] By the middle of the following year such were the numbers attending Rapparees activities that it was decided to form another club from the excess of players. In May 1902, at a meeting in St Patrick’s School, Coatbridge, the Patrick Sarsfield Branch of the Gaelic League initiated a hurling club, again reflecting the close ties in Scotland between the Gaelic League and Gaelic sporting activities as well as the growth of the Irish Ireland movement amongst the Irish diaspora. [10] In 1903 Fag-an-Bealach was successfully formed in the Lanarkshire village of Carfin. The club played its first fixture against fellow Lanarkshire side Wishaw Shamrocks, and this game is noted for the first references in Scotland to goals and points being scored (some previous games involved goals only), a factor relevant to the developing ties with Dublin and the standardization of the rules of the game. The year 1903 also marked the formation of Glasgow’s first county board, which included the Rapparees, Wishaw Shamrocks, Fag-an-Bealachs Carfin, Patrick Sarsfields Coatbridge, Finn MacCumhails Anderston/Partick, Hibernians Pollockshaws and Cuchulains Polmadie: the latter three clubs in the city of Glasgow. By August 1903 it was noted by the exiles in Scotland that London had recently won the All-Ireland hurling title from Cork suggesting such a feat was also possible for the Scotland Board a few years hence. With a good year behind them, the Board in Scotland felt that its representatives should be preparing for the 1904 All-Ireland Championship. Although there were a number of players who had no hurling background involved in the sport, there were also numerous skilled hurlers participating at the time. In late 1903 The Star observed that for a forthcoming game between the Rapparees and Wishaw Shamrocks, ‘As the majority of the members of both teams have fought and gained honours in many a Gaelic athletic gathering in the old country, a good hurling match should be the result’. [11] 442 J.M. Bradley The surnames of the players involved in this match suggest many originated from the hurling counties of Munster and generally in the southern half of Ireland. One historian believes that many of the Rapparees had played with Tipperary and Cork teams before migrating to Scotland, [12] and numerous references were made in previous years to Tipperary players in particular making their mark on the game in Glasgow. By early 1905, the GAA in Scotland had acquired the status of a ‘Province’, which had the same rights and privileges at Congress as those of Ulster, Connacht, Munster, Leinster and London. The promotion of the game in Scotland continued apace. The west of Scotland Irish Catholic newspaper, The Star, reported that: ‘During the coming year there will be plenty opportunities for any Gael who holds the welfare of his national, manly pastime of any account in the reformation of the “sea divided Gael” into a compact and self-reliant nation to take a true man’s part.’ [13] The continued expansion of Irish cultural activities in west central Scotland was reflected in the decision of the Provincial Board to compete in the All-Ireland provincial football and hurling championships of 1906. Over the course of the next few years, football or hurling clubs sprang up in Springburn Glasgow (Clan na Ghaeldhilge), Coatbridge (Eire Og, hurling) and Kinning Park Glasgow (Lambh Dearg, football) while Cavan Slashers (later Eire Ogs) and Fianna Eireann were also founded in Glasgow. In 1908, London was chosen to represent Britain in football and Scotland in the hurling competition for the All-Ireland Championships. London lost to Dublin in the final while Scotland failed to travel for its semi-final against Tipperary. [14] Despite this period representing a high point for Gaelic sport, the failure to travel for the fixture is indicative of the underlying weaknesses that were to persistently handicap the progress of the GAA in Scotland. In 1910, Glasgow defeated Antrim 1:13 to 0:7 in the quarter-final of the All-Ireland Hurling Championship. The county subsequently lost to Dublin, 6:6 to 5:1 in the semi-final played at Jones’s Road in Dublin. [15] Around this time Gaelic football began to come to the fore among some sections of the Irish community in the west of Scotland. The first ever league competition was held during 1909 and was only decided on the final day of the season when Eire Og from Coatbridge beat Kinning Park’s Lambh Dearg in front of a crowd of 300 spectators. At a meeting in Upper O’Connell Street Dublin in November 1911, Central Council reported that Scotland was still making steady progress in the formation of Gaelic clubs and that additional teams had affiliated to the relevant committee in Ireland during the year. [16] However, the many positive signs of a Gaelic revival amongst the expatriate community were continually qualified by setbacks and for almost two years little official hurling or football activity was reported within the community. Only the Rapparees seemed sustainable at the time although The Star newspaper reported that despite many hundreds of hurlers in the area, a lack of opposition was in danger of rendering the club ‘blue mouldy’. [17] Gaelic sports in west central Scotland did not suffer from a lack of Irishness for Irish community activity was plentiful: the Irish Forresters, the Irish National League, Celtic Football Club and the Ancient Order of Hibernians, with 34 divisions in the central belt of Scotland, were the clearest signs of Irish activity. In addition, and entirely due Sport in Society 443 to the impact of Irish Catholic migration to Scotland, the Catholic Church was by this time also a numerically significant body in Scottish society and it held the spiritual as well as much of the welfare and cultural energy of many Irish in west-central Scotland. Although Irishness was significant, this did not translate into a vibrant GAA. As was the case in parts of Ireland at this time the GAA in Scotland struggled to acquire the status and vibrancy required for its good health and promotion. In June 1913, Kilkenny, previous winners of a number of All-Ireland Hurling titles, visited Glasgow to play against a selection of members in Scotland. Subsequently, the Scottish representatives were beaten by a score of ten goals and five points to four goals and two points. The game was viewed as having the potential to promote the sport amongst the Irish in Scotland but it met with competition on the day. In Coatbridge, the annual demonstration of the Irish National Forresters took place, an organization that had branches all over the west central belt and to which many Catholic families had at least one member attached. Many thousands of Irish Catholics attended this demonstration and this was symptomatic of some of the problems faced by the GAA. While the Forresters, Hibernians and the Irish National League took up the political or welfare time of many Catholics in Scotland and Celtic Football Club dominated their sporting interests, ‘native’ Irish games suffered. Hurling and football continued in Scotland over the next few years but there seems to have been little resurgence as a direct result of the ‘international’ between Scotland and Kilkenny at Celtic Park. With the advent of the Great War the following year, and the gradual unfolding of a pivotal stage in Ireland’s struggle against British rule, the cultural, social, economic and political landscape which the Irish in Scotland experienced underwent cataclysmic change. Survival in Question With the Great War, conscription and Ireland’s own independence struggle dominating the period, throughout Britain Irish social and cultural organizations were detrimentally affected. In London, a ‘golden era’ of GAA activities came to a close and this period witnessed the disbanding ‘of club after club’. [18] Likewise, many non-Irish social organizations were also damaged by the convulsions caused by the War. In Scotland, the columns of Irish and Catholic newspapers were full of names of young Catholic men, the vast majority either Irish born or of Irish forebears, slain in the War. Inevitably many of the previously robust Irish organizations in the west central belt of Scotland were decimated as they lost large sections of their membership, and indeed, much of the next generation of leaders and organizers. Even when the war ended, with morale low and the prevalent depression arising from the loss of family and friends, some local organizations never regained their vibrancy. Despite few official organized football or hurling games taking place in the years after the war, by the end of 1921 an attempt was made to reinvigorate the Gaelic sports scene. The GAA in Scotland was reorganized and 12 clubs were represented at the first meeting held in Glasgow. This meeting was also important for the presence of two 444 J.M. Bradley women representing the Glasgow Camogie Club. [19] Indeed, 1922 marked the first time Gaelic sports became publicly manifest among the women of the Irish immigrant community. Under the auspices of the Camoguidneacht Association at least one Camogie match took place the following year, between Granuailes of Glasgow and Taras of Gourock. Although by 1922, football and hurling began to be played more regularly and teams in Glasgow and Lanarkshire areas temporarily found a new lease of life, as agents of change, the Great War and the Civil War in Ireland, as well as the increasing salience of Labour activity, marked a watershed in Irish activities in Scotland. Importantly, a considerable slowing down of Irish immigration to Scotland after the First World War also played a role in the decimation of Irish organizations. Census figures show that the Irish-born population of Scotland declined from its peak of 218,745 in 1881, to just over 200,000 at the turn of the century, to 159,020 by 1921. Moreover, by this time, 88,397 had been born in Northern Ireland and 70,623 born in the new Irish Free State. With the GAA taking until the 1930s before making a significant impact in much of Ulster, many Irish immigrants from that province to Scotland had little experience of Gaelic sport in Ireland. In addition, many immigrants were women who had employment and familial priorities as opposed to the sporting and cultural ones more frequently displayed by male members of the diaspora. Furthermore, Irish cultural activities were always constrained by the fact that most Irish immigrants to Scotland were preoccupied with surviving, rather than having the time and energy to organize and participate in cultural pursuits. Critically, the inter-war period was a particularly hostile one in relation to antiIrishness and anti-Catholicism in Scotland and many immigrants and their offspring perceived an increased need to be discrete and make quiet social and economic progress, even to assimilate. The Irish maintained a low profile amid a social, economic and political hostility that focused on them and helped create a climate where public expressions of Irishness were likely to attract unwanted antagonism. [20] Such an environment inhibited Irishness in Scottish society and made it more difficult for the GAA, a body that embraced this as a core part of its being, to flourish in Scotland. By the 1930s the GAA in Scotland faced its lowest ebb. It had long since struggled for recognition even amongst its own community but with the changing social, cultural and political environment in which it existed, its chances of survival were even more seriously curtailed. Another attempt was made to revive the games and a hurling match at the Clontarf Park grounds in Marylea was arranged as an opener to a revival in 1934. During August, Rovers from Cambuslang met the Fitzgeralds of Glasgow with the former winning by three goals and two points to one goal and three points. One report stated: A most encouraging feature of the game was the good play shown by the neophytes under the skilled guidance of veterans of national reputation in Ireland. Among them were former heroes of hurling of Glens of Antrim, Tipperary, Clare, Limerick, Sligo and Cork. The Scottish Provincial Council has started well. [21] Sport in Society 445 Despite such optimism, the presence of committed Gaelic enthusiasts and continued attempts on the part of the Irish National Association, which was at the forefront of Gaelic Irish activities, to revive Gaelic games and other Irish pursuits and pastimes, few successes resulted. Probably the last reference made to Gaelic games played in Scotland for a number of years is found in the Glasgow Observer of October 1934, when a hurling match between sides from Glasgow and Lanarkshire took place. [22] Irishness was still important within the Catholic community in Scotland, as partly reflected in the thousands that followed Celtic Football Club and the 40,000 who turned out for a demonstration by the Ancient Order of Hibernians at Carfin in Lanarkshire in August 1937. However, Gaelic sports struggled to rise above the status of a ‘minority sport’. [23] Few families who were Irish or had Irish antecedents had any affinity for these uniquely Irish sports. By the 1940s, publicly popular Irish cultural activities in general, and Gaelic sports in particular, were at their lowest ebb. It was some years before Gaelic enthusiasts recognized that for Irish Gaelic sporting success, a concerted effort was required to recruit young people of Irish antecedents. Indeed, Gaelic activity as a facet of being Irish in Scotland would virtually require it to be introduced as a new sport to many of those with Irish forebears. A Flame still Burning? In the immediate years after the Second World War, a revival in GAA activities in Scotland took place, ‘chiefly attributable to the post World War Two situation when a new generation of Irish immigrants found great demand for their labour in the vast building and construction developments’ then underway in Scotland. [24] The first club to emerge after the War was Paisley Gaels, later known as Clan na Gael. In Lanarkshire, matches began to be played at Carfin. In the south east of Glasgow football began at Carmyle by Tara Harps, a club based originally at the Irish Club in Bridgeton, Glasgow. The football revival again demonstrated that although hurling had dominated amongst the Gaelic fraternity during the first 40 years of Irish Gaelic sports in Scotland, it was Gaelic football that was to provide the Association in Scotland with its future focus. This concentration on football was also an indication of where in Ireland migrants were now coming from and from where the earlier generation of hurling playing migrants originated. From the Gorbals area of Glasgow originated the Eire Og Club, mainly consisting of recent immigrants from the Rosses and Gweedore areas of Donegal. Round Towers club also emerged as did St Eunans based in Clydebank. Padraic Pearses had its base in the Fianna Fail Cumann’s Club in Glasgow, the only branch of Fianna Fail to be founded outside of Ireland. Most of the players playing with Pearses were originally from the Donegal gaeltacht, although some team members were second generation Irish. [25] A club also emerged within the Irish community in Edinburgh situated at St Mary’s Cathedral Parish in the city. In 1952 Pearses won the Glasgow Football Championship. Some of those involved in Gaelic football also managed to form a hurling team, Eugene O’Growney’s. During 446 J.M. Bradley the 1950s a number of other football clubs were initiated. Roger Casements in Clydebank, St Francis Falkirk, St Patricks Greenock and St Colmcilles in Edinburgh. Round Towers based in the Kildara Club in Scotstoun and Fintan Lalors GFC from Govan Glasgow were also founded. In 1954 Glasgow played Antrim at Casement Park and later travelled to Clones to meet Monaghan. Despite the prestige attached to these games, success eluded the Glasgow based players. One of the most significant events for Gaels in Scotland and indeed, for the future revival of the Association, was the purchase in 1953 of an area of land at Eastfield, Cambuslang to the south-east of Glasgow. The ground was formally opened with a match between Glasgow and opponents from Lancashire. The post-war revival in the affairs of the GAA, which coincided with a rise in Irish migration to Scotland, was a demonstration of the need for young Irish-born migrants to provide the enthusiasts needed, particularly players, for the welfare of the Association amongst the diaspora. This factor in the life of the GAA had also been demonstrated with the reduction in Gaelic sports activities after the First World War at a time when Irish migration to Scotland dramatically declined. Although Irish-born migrants were a central ingredient to the welfare of the Association, it could also be argued that Irishness as a conscious identity was the second most important constituent part required for the life of Gaelic sport. Many of those who were the organizers of the revived Association in Scotland were also Irish Irelanders involved with Irish political groups (a factor partly reflected in the names of some of the new GAA clubs), Irish Dance Schools, Irish language classes and taking part in other activities that had an Irish flavour. The importance of Irishness for the life of Gaelic sports in Scotland would also be reflected in a future revival of the Association. Decline and Resurgence Although the post-War years saw progress on the part of the GAA, by the early 1960s the only Gaelic sport discernible amidst the large Irish community in the west of Scotland took place at Cambuslang in Glasgow. Here individuals, mostly Irish born and with a strong Donegal influence, congregated at the pitch, picked sides and played matches. Nevertheless, by 1965 a number of GAA stalwarts began training more regularly at Eastfield Park in Glasgow and subsequently Gaelic Football was reorganized: the first championship of this era was won by St Eunans. In 1966 Antrim Champions St John’s from Belfast visited Glasgow whilst St Eunans visited Manchester and defeated St Brendan’s. The same year also witnessed the start of the new Clydebank based St Brendan’s, who replaced the struggling Clan na hEireann team. In 1966 St Eunans again won the championship. By 1969 St Eunans demised to be replaced by another club, South O’Hanlon’s. This season also witnessed Glasgow defeated at Casement Park Belfast in the Ulster junior championship by Down. In 1970 and 1971 the Glasgow Champions were accepted to play in the Ulster club championship and a Glasgow side played Clan na Sport in Society 447 Gael of Armagh. Although beaten, Glasgow took great store from the fact that the winning club was subsequently beaten finalists in the All-Ireland Club Championship. Notwithstanding a few successes during the 40 years after the Second World War, clubs in Scotland also encountered many of the problems that plagued Gaelic sports activity in previous years. During this time the GAA in Scotland was characterized by regular poor attendances at matches, frequent substandard games and a general atmosphere of social isolation. Progress was further impaired by a lack of publicity for Irish activities in Scotland and for Gaelic sport in particular. By this time clubs in Glasgow were again experiencing decline and reorganizing. Much of this was the result of players and activists moving on to new employment in Britain or Ireland. During most of the 1970s and 1980s, at the County ground in the east end of Glasgow, an occasional exhibition match against an England-based club constituted all the Gaelic football witnessed in Scotland. This event typified the GAA at the time. In reality, it was an organization of little relevance to the majority of the immigrant diaspora. Few second and third generation Irish who felt their Irish identity was important were aware of the GAA in Glasgow or even that there existed such a way to express Irishness. Even amongst the few immigrants arriving from Ireland at the time most were unaware of the GAA in Scotland. Further, the small size of the existing organization did not prove attractive to some of those who became aware of its presence. Although a small group of Gaels maintained the game throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the GAA in Glasgow was poorly organized and had no development strategy. Further, the GAA was limited by a small number of players, little publicity and an unrepresentative group, most of who were of Donegal origins. The greatest handicap for the GAA in Scotland was its apparent inability to reach out to the second and third generation Irish. Nevertheless, one player became a significant figure for the future revival of the sport in the west of the country. Catholic priest, Father Eamon Sweeney, a native of Ballycroy County Mayo, arrived as a young curate at St Bridget’s Baillieston in the east end of Glasgow in 1969 and was quickly drawn into the local GAA When his playing career ended, Father Sweeney began to work towards reviving the fortunes of Gaelic games. In 1984 as a result of his work combined with that of several other Gaelic sports enthusiasts, Seamus Sweeney, Rory Campbell, Eoin Kelly, Eamon Cullen, Pat McFadden and Mick Moran, a handful of mainly second and third generation Irish responded to publicity and training and coaching began at Eastfield, which had been re-named Pearse Park in 1979. In early 1985 four clubs, Pearse Harps, Mulroy Gaels, St Patricks and Clann na Gael competed in the first competitive league and championship for a generation. In the one hundred years since the founding of the first GAA Club in Scotland in 1897, 75 teams are recorded as having existed. Although a few have been in other population centres, the vast majority of clubs have existed in the Glasgow and Lanarkshire areas. In the 20 years since the revival of the Association in 1984, almost 20 Gaelic clubs have functioned (though most have demised) in Glasgow, Coatbridge, Edinburgh, Saltcoats, Dumbarton, Wishaw, Shotts, Paisley, Clydebank and Dundee. 448 J.M. Bradley Since the 1990s Gaelic football and hurling has also been played at university level in Scotland. Despite a series of falls for the GAA steady and sometimes dramatic progress has been made since 1984. Hundreds of young Irish born and thousands more second, third and fourth generation Irish offspring, as well as others from outside the community (including in Glasgow, scores of children from an Asian background) participated in Gaelic games in the west of Scotland as well as at a few locations in the east of the country. By 2007 more than two dozen Glasgow and Lanarkshire schools had intermittently adopted the game and a women’s Gaelic football team and camogie and hurling set up existed. Marking the growing confidence of the GAA in Scotland, the Kilkenny visit of 1913 was surpassed by the visits of Donegal, Derry, Mayo and Dublin senior teams to play exhibition matches during the 1990s: three of the four having been recent winners of All-Ireland football titles. Gaelic Irishness v Soccer Irishness Over the course of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries a sporting form developed within the Irish immigrant community in the west of Scotland which was already a growing social and cultural activity that was distinct from any Gaelic revival taking place amongst the Irish diaspora. In Scotland soccer, specifically the emergence of Celtic Football Club (in 1887/88), became one of the most obvious of mediums for Irishness. In a similar fashion to Basque and Catalan soccer clubs in Spain, Celtic possesses a cultural, religious and political identity. [26] Ironically, despite the GAA’s historic antagonism towards non-Irish sports, [27] Celtic’s identity has similar features to that of the GAA’s in so far as Celtic was founded by and for the Irish diasporic community, draws mainly on the support of this community and is rooted in Irish cultural and nationalist symbolism. However, there are important differences, beyond the code of sport played, between both institutions. Soccer in Scotland attracts much participation and media attention and throughout the twentieth century Scottish football has held many European and World records in relation to sports spectator attendance. [28] Unlike the GAA, the origins and development of Celtic Football Club have been consistently and centrally embedded and intertwined in the broader history and evolution of the story of Irish Catholic immigrants in Scotland. The significance of the club vis-à-vis Irishness is widely recognized in relation to the club’s roots and contemporary identity. [29] This correlation has also emerged through the findings of the Irish 2 Project that looked at Irish identity amongst second and third generation Irish people living in Britain. [30] This project reveals that Celtic and soccer is at the core of much Irish culture, identity and symbolism in Scotland. For one third generation Project interviewee: Celtic is our standard bearer in Scotland. They’ve never been an Irish only or a Catholic only club because that would be wrong. But Celtic is essentially about us – it’s our team, our club and our community . . . Every time we win a big match it’s a celebration for a community. We can come together and we can celebrate publicly. We are recognised and the rest of the country can see us even though many of them Sport in Society 449 ignore or despise us. We’re here and sometimes we’re the best at this particular sport. Just to see the green and white hoops running out is evidence that we’ve survived despite what many have thrown at us. Seeing the tricolour and the shamrock somewhere publicly where we don’t usually – usually we have to keep them hidden, is the greatest thing about Celtic. Without the Irish in Scotland there is no Celtic and without Celtic there is no Irish in Scotland. They’re inextricably linked – spiritually at one. [31] In a similar sense a second generation respondent gave voice to the many Irish descendants who are not ardent or active soccer supporters but who still look to Celtic as culturally symbolic and as their community’s sporting representatives: I don’t watch football, but sometimes I’d turn the radio on and listen to the Celtic game hoping that Celtic would win but I don’t go to see them... I’m not actually interested in football... my interest in Celtic is I see them as the Irish team in Glasgow. I used to go to see Celtic up till I was about eighteen. I went to see Celtic because I felt everybody standing there in the Jungle was the same as me. But all these guys had the same views, sang the same songs and just thought the same as me. I mean I could be totally wrong, but standing there in that crowd, that was the feeling I got and it was the only time in the whole week I could get that feeling... every week you could stand there and sing to your heart’s content and it made me feel really Irish, it made me feel this is good, here’s other guys who think the same as me. [32] Such discourses are evidence of the common perception that soccer goes beyond ‘mere’ sport and finds its lifeblood in the extra-sporting passions and meanings that link it to everyday aspects of life, especially those involving social, cultural and community life. Specifically, they also demonstrate that Celtic’s emblematic and symbolic identity is intrinsically linked to the Irishness of the Irish immigrant diaspora in Scottish society. The central role of Celtic Football Club in the formation, sustenance and expression of Irishness in Scottish society is mirrored in this small sample of relevant comments. Ironically, the special place of Celtic as a vehicle, symbol and expression of Irishness, has also been evident in the post 1990s replica sports kit era, with GAA jerseys being worn by some supporters at Celtic soccer matches and Celtic soccer jerseys evident amongst a number of supporters at various inter-county GAA fixtures in Ireland. Stressing some of the unique links and bonds between Celtic, the GAA and Irishness, one example is pertinent. Until his death in 2005, like many GAA members of his age, a Donegal GAA associate always referred to soccer as ‘the garrison game’. However, although soccer was not this Gaelic enthusiasts choice in sport, Celtic represented something singular and distinctive. This GAA supporter was, a former Marist brother, who dedicated most of his life to the promotion of Irish Culture – whether in terms of the language, Gaelic games or traditional Irish music, song and dance. I suppose in this sense he was a zealot and had no time for soccer whatsoever. Indeed he’d frequently chastise us as children for watching ‘the garrison game’ and was fully convinced of the GAA’s need to keep their grounds solely for the promotion of Gaelic games. A very proud Donegal man, it would hardly 450 J.M. Bradley be stretching it to say he was ‘anti-soccer’ and he certainly saw its influence on the GAA and Irish culture as being a negative one. However, he was also an avid Celtic fan. I often rang him during Celtic games for ‘the craic’ and he couldn’t get off the phone quick enough. As I explained to you, I would ask him when he was watching Celtic why he was watching a soccer match, and he would just say ‘Celtic are different’. I suppose ultimately he saw the same basic reasoning behind the existence of Celtic as that which spawned the GAA – the need for a distinct identity, a pride in place for those who were part of it, an expression of Irish culture and an opportunity to mix with others of a similar persuasion. [33] The intrinsic and fundamental links between the history and identity of Celtic Football Club and the Irish diaspora in Scotland that founded it and has traditionally supported it, is critical to any understanding of the story of the Irish in Scotland. Although an important part of this story, Gaelic sports have not acquired anywhere near the same level of support amongst the Irish community in Scotland. As the narrative of the history of the GAA outlined earlier reveals, there are many reasons for this. However, one constant factor in explaining why Gaelic sports failed to capture the imagination of significant numbers of the Irish diaspora in the way that Celtic Football Club did was because of the dominance and significance of this institution as a cultural and sporting symbol of Irishness in Scotland. Patterns of Immigration, the GAA and Irishness in Scotland In order to understand why it was soccer that many Irish in Scotland turned to, as opposed to the GAA, as a vehicle for expressing themselves culturally through sport, it is crucial to have a clearer understanding of the patterns of Irish immigration to Scotland and the ways that this impacted on the development of Gaelic games. Vast numbers of Irish arrived in Scotland during the second half of the nineteenth century. Therefore they had a significant presence in Scotland prior to the founding of the GAA in Ireland and, before it had become established, revered and esteemed so widely in Irish society. Related to this, a majority of immigrants came from Ulster and northern Connaught, where organized Gaelic activities was often weak and where the GAA took many years to become established. For example, as noted earlier, it was not until the 1930s that Gaelic games made an impact in Ulster. Thus, those who emigrated from this province prior to this would not have come from a strong tradition of Gaelic games. As noted elsewhere in this collection, the ebb and flow of immigration has been crucial to the fortunes of the GAA outside the island of Ireland. Beyond the case studies covered in this volume, Darby notes that variations in the numbers of Irishborn migrants in Boston is key to understanding the waxing and waning in the development of Gaelic sport there. [34] This same process is also important in understanding the history of the GAA in Scotland where despite later significant, though comparatively smaller, waves of migration, the bulk of Irish migration took place prior to 1920. Revealingly, it is in this period around the first decade of the early twentieth century that Gaelic Sport in Scotland was at its strongest, a development not Sport in Society 451 only linked to significant migration from Ireland but also the fact that many young second generation Irishmen were coming of sporting age. Apart from being a period of heightened anti-Irish and anti-Catholic activity and attitudes, after 1920 Scotland also experienced economic depression and social and political upheaval. For potential Irish emigrants looking to improve their lives, the pull factors that had traditionally existed in Scotland had, for the time being, ceased. In turn, the depth of knowledge, playing experience, the organizational skills and an appreciation of how important Gaelic sport was to a developing sense of Irishness, which were all required to invigorate Gaelic games, did not migrate and transfer with a new wave of Irish arriving on Scottish shores. As far as Scotland was concerned, the majority of Irish were already there as of course were any future offspring. Therefore, distinct from the generally hostile environment in Scotland where being Irish and Catholic could be socially and economically hazardous, historically much of the explanation for the weaknesses as well as the erratic successes of the GAA in Scotland can be evidenced through a closer inspection of Irish migration patterns. In much the same way as occurred in the other locales covered in this collection Gaelic sports in Scotland were revitalized in response to periods of increased Irish migration. This is particularly evident in the years of the Association’s revival that took place after the Second World War, when a new wave of migrants from Ireland, chiefly from Ulster, and particularly from Donegal, reinvigorated Gaelic sports in Scotland. However, although significant, this was not a reproduction of the mass waves of migration prior to 1920. As a consequence of the varied pattern of Irish immigration, the Association in Scotland ‘never’ experienced a sustained, suitable, sizeable and timely wave of migrants, who had a Gaelic sports background and experience and who were capable of giving life to the Association in Scotland. Generally, it is the case that wherever Gaelic sport has been inaugurated, sustained or revived, and regardless of the willingness of second, third and fourth generation immigrants to take up and support Gaelic games, it is Irish-born migrants who create the impetus and knowledge base required to establish Gaelic sport. In this sense a strong association with an Irish located ‘home’ GAA club or county is often, but not always, a prerequisite for this to take place. The requirement for a ‘suitable, sizeable and timely wave of migrants’ to give birth and life to Gaelic sports in the United States is substantiated by Darby who notes, ‘The profile and development of Gaelic sports in the United States has been dependent on the pendulum of migration.’ [35] Hennessey views weakness within the GAA in North America in a similar light: Since American-born Irish have traditionally shown little interest in the games of their fathers, the GAA in America has always depended upon Irish immigrants to keep the games alive... As a matter of fact, were it not for Irish students who come to America during the summer to work and line up with GAA teams in various cities, the games of the Gael would be for all intents and purposes dead in many cities. [36] As a step towards dealing with this state of affairs, it should be noted that in recent years many County Boards in Britain and in the United States have been active 452 J.M. Bradley in promoting the game not only amongst second, third and fourth generation Irish, but also amongst communities beyond the Irish diaspora. In Scotland, alongside a significant uptake of Gaelic football within the Catholic denominational sector in Glasgow and Coatbridge, where a majority of pupils are of Irish origin, and which has been central to a renewed interest in the game in Scotland in recent years, the promotion of Gaelic football in other schools where only a small number of members of the Irish diaspora attend, has also been ongoing since the 1990s. Although it remains an aspect of Irish culture and Irish identity in Scotland, the environment and conditions that gave rise to and sustained the Association in Ireland were not replicated in Scotland. Some conditions were closely related and fed by similar historical factors and experiences, but Irish life in the diaspora has always been a differing experience from that in Ireland. Furthermore, in Scotland Celtic Football Club has traditionally filled the cultural and sporting space occupied by the GAA in Ireland. Much of what gives life to the modern GAA in Ireland, especially a sense of identity in the shape of parishes and counties, local tradition, history and bloodlines, added to coaching as a part of the modern educational curriculum, has not existed in Scotland. The historical relevance and the social and cultural backdrop and environment with regards to Gaelic sports that exist in Ireland do not constitute any real influence amongst the diaspora. Conclusion A paradox which emerges for the GAA in Scotland is that an institution playing a sport marginalized and for so long ‘banned’ by the Gaelic authorities in Ireland, has for over one hundred years been the primary sporting and cultural vehicle for Irishness in Scotland. [37] Conventionally soccer has been a working-class game and the Irish in Scotland have traditionally been an urban working-class people. The Irish diaspora’s support for Celtic Football Club in the west of Scotland has allowed for the maintenance and expression of Irish identity, frequently in circumstances and in a context where Irishness has been viewed with hostility. [38] Although Celtic has also been a focus for anti-Irish and anti-Catholic prejudice in Scottish society, soccer has long been a mainstream sport in Scotland and significant participation in soccer has allowed the Irish to integrate while retaining elements of cultural, national and sporting distinctiveness. This is important to understanding both the significance of sport for the Irish diaspora in Scotland and the development of the GAA amongst this community. A further paradox might be that over the course of the latter half of the twentieth century it was the maintenance of Irish identity through Celtic Football Club by many of the offspring of the Irish that was the main factor that allowed for the re-emergence of Gaelic football in Scotland in the 1980s. In 2007, a significant number of GAA members in Scotland, including several members of the County Board, were season ticket holders at Celtic. [39] The purpose of individual involvement in a specific cultural and community context has been primary in linking current GAA activists in Scotland (and amongst Sport in Society 453 the Irish diaspora generally) with the Association in Ireland: this in a frame of reference that invokes its early years. For the Irish born and those of Irish descent who have participated in Gaelic sport, this is evidence for, and a manifestation of, the Irish presence in Scotland and an Irish existence beyond the island of Ireland. The myths of descent, historical memories, territorial association with Ireland, and a sense of solidarity and community, has provided many GAA activists in Scotland with their cultural and sporting motives. The GAA in Scotland enables Irish ethnic and national consciousness to be maintained and expressed. The Association and its members retain a unique identity amidst a growing emphasis on ‘global sports’. Although context and circumstances vary enormously between Ireland and Scotland, the GAA has traditionally promoted a sense of Irishness in both its Irish and diasporic contexts. National and ethnic consciousness and distinctiveness is a primary reason for the survival of the Association in Scotland as well as providing the rationale and motivation for those who maintain its existence as a valuable dimension of Irishness. The GAA in Scotland provides an organizational locale for the idea of common descent, a shared history in Ireland and the perception and expression of common experiences in Scotland. It provides for a concrete link with the country of birth or origin. It is an expression of diversity and a symbol of identity. In a society where Irishness is highly contested, the perceived strength – in Ireland and beyond – and symbolic nature of the GAA in Ireland gives succour to a number of those who strive to maintain and celebrate Irishness in Scotland. Distinct from factors involving the second, third and fourth generation Irish in Gaelic sport, the considerable number of Irish-born migrants that have taken part in Gaelic football in contemporary Scotland also reflects the capacity of Gaelic sport to provide important social and economic functions for first generation Irish migrants. The GAA can often be one of the first ports of call for emigrant Irish in an otherwise unfamiliar land. In this way a sense of the familiar is provided with the capacity for a Gaelic sports environment to offer not only friendships and potential employment, but also an important psychological link and discourse referent with ‘home’ in Ireland. This is reproduced at multiple levels; including family, village, town, city, county and national. As such, feelings of dislocation and alienation are countered through attachment to the GAA in Scotland, Britain, the USA, Australasia and elsewhere. In Scotland, although many ceased playing and participating in Gaelic sport during the 1980s and 1990s, former footballers did nevertheless acquire an experience of, and made a contribution towards, Gaelic games and an expression of Irish culture. Since 1984 around ten thousand people have participated in Gaelic sport in Scotland. In addition, as the essay by Mossey, McAnallen and Moore in this volume shows, hundreds of Irish-born third level students have participated with university and college based sides as Gaelic football became a significant addition to the Scottish and British universities calendar of sporting events. These teams have been partly supplemented by members of the Irish diaspora in Scotland as well as other students who have no Irish origins or roots, including a number of Scots, English and other nationalities attracted to Gaelic sport. The playing of Gaelic football on the part of such 454 J.M. Bradley a significant number of people assists a more accurate reflection on the totality of the Gaelic sporting experience in Scotland. Despite being historically small and although peripheral to the Irishness of the vast majority of the diaspora, the GAA and Gaelic sports have provided an important expression of Irishness for over one hundred years in Scotland. By the new millennium the GAA remained the oldest sporting body in Scotland that could claim to be uniquely Irish in its roots, nature and cultural and political outlook. Gaelic games are important to the history of sport in modern Scotland. Similarly, despite its frequent tangential status to the wider Irishness of Scotland’s Irish-born or Irish-descended community, the history of Gaelic games and the GAA is an essential part the ongoing narrative of the Irish in Scotland. Notes [1] Handley, The Irish in Modern Scotland. [2] Collins, ‘The Origins of Irish Immigration to Scotland in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries’. [3] Whelan, ‘The Geography of Hurling’; also, Mullen, ‘Opposition, Social Closure and Sport: The Gaelic Athletic Association in the Nineteenth Century’. [4] Glasgow Examiner, 11 September 1897. [5] Ibid., 9 March 1901. [6] Ibid., 23 March 1901. [7] Ibid., 15 June 1901. [8] Ibid., 26 April 1902. [9] Ibid., 30 August 1902. [10] Ibid., 10 May 1902. [11] The Star, 5 September 1903. [12] Feeney, Conradh na Gaelige in Scotland, 1895 – 1995: A centenary publication. [13] The Star, 5 March 1904. [14] The Irish Post, 10 November 1984. [15] Gaelsport GAA Youth Annual; also King, The Clash of the Ash in Foreign Fields. [16] Minutes of Central Council, GAA. [17] The Star, 22 March 1912. [18] Irish Post, 17 November 1984. [19] The Star, 17 December 1921. [20] Bradley, ‘Facets of the Irish Diaspora: “Irishness” in Twentieth Century Scotland’. [21] Glasgow GAA Centenary Brochure, Glasgow: County Board, Glasgow GAA. 1984. [22] This match was played on the 29 September 1934. [23] The Star, 28 August 1937. [24] Michael Fallon in Glasgow GAA Centenary Brochure, 29. [25] Interviews with John Keaveny and Gerry Gallen, Glasgow GAA activists during the two decades after the Second World War. Cultural and political activist Rory Campbell believed that although not overtly political, a number of the teams during this period were known as either republican or Fianna Fail clubs. He believed this was probably a reflection of the dominant views of their most prominent members at the time. [26] Bradley, ‘Facets of the Irish Diaspora’. Sport in Society 455 [27] See, for example, Rouse, ‘The Politics of Culture and Sport in Ireland: A History of the GAA Ban on Foreign Games 1884-1971. Part One: 1884 – 1921’ for discussion on the GAAs ban on foreign games. [28] For example, 136,505 at Celtic v Leeds in European Champions Cup semi-final 1970, 147,365 at Aberdeen v Celtic in Scottish Cup Final 1937, both Hampden Park, Glasgow. On one evening in 1972 in Glasgow 155,000 attended two games: Celtic v Inter Milan, European Champions Cup semi-final and Glasgow Rangers v Bayern Munich, European Cup Winners Cup semi-final. [29] Bradley, ‘Facets of the Irish Diaspora’; Bradley, Celtic Minded: Essays on Religion, Politics, Society Identity and... Football; Bradley, Celtic Minded 2: Essays on Celtic Football Culture and Identity. Also, Campbell and Woods, The Glory and The Dream, The History of Celtic FC, 1887 – 1986. [30] Interview, Irish 2 Project. This project, financed by the Economic and Social Research Council in 2001/02, essentially looked at questions and issues of identity focusing on people born in Britain of at least one Irish born parent or grandparent. Interviewees have been given pseudonyms for the purpose of reporting findings. The work was carried out by Dr J. Bradley, Dr S. Morgan, Professor M. Hickman and Professor B. Walter. [31] Interview, Irish 2 Project. [32] Interview, Irish 2 Project. [33] Interview with GAA employee 4 July 2006. [34] Darby, ‘Gaelic Games and the Irish Immigrant Experience in Boston’. [35] Ibid.,101. [36] Hennessey, Gaelic Athletic Association: A Century of Service, 1884 – 1994, 79. [37] Bradley, Celtic Minded; Bradley, Celtic Minded 2. [38] Ibid. [39] Interviews, GAA Scotland, 2007. References Bradley, J. M. “Facets of the Irish Diaspora: “Irishness” in Twentieth Century Scotland.” Irish Journal of Sociology 6 (1996): 79– 100. ———. Celtic Minded: Essays on Religion, Politics, Society Identity and.. Football. Glendarual: Argyll Publishing, 2004. ———. Celtic Minded 2: Essays on Celtic Football Culture and Identity. Glendarual: Argyll Publishing, 2006. Campbell, T. and P. Woods. The Glory and The Dream, The History of Celtic FC, 1887 – 1986. Edingburgh: Mainstream Publishing, 1986. Collins, B. “The Origins of Irish Immigration to Scotland in the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries.” In Irish Immigrants and Scottish Society in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries; Proceedings of the Scottish Historical Studies Seminar: University of Strathclyde, 1989/90, edited by T. M. Devine. Edingburgh: John Donald Publishers Ltd, 1991. Darby, P. “Gaelic Games and the Irish Immigrant Experience in Boston.” In Sport and the Irish: Histories, Identities, Issues, edited by A. Bairner. Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 2005, pp. 85– 101. Feeney, S. Conradh na Gaelige (Gaelic League) in Scotland, 1895– 1995: A centenary celebration, 1995. Gaelsport GAA Youth Annual. Dublin: GAA, 1984. Handley, J. E. The Irish in Scotland. Glasgow: John S. Burns & Sons, 1964 (This book incorporates both The Irish in Scotland 1798 – 1845 and The Irish in Modern Scotland, Cork: Cork University Press,1943 and 1947 respectively.). Hennessey, P. Gaelic Athletic Association: A Century of Service, 1884 – 1994. Dublin, GAA. 456 J.M. Bradley King, S. The Clash of the Ash in Foreign Fields: Hurling Abroad. Cashel: Published by author, 1998. Mullen, M. “Opposition, Social Closure and Sport: The Gaelic Athletic Association in the Nineteenth Century.” Sociology of Sport Journal 12, (1995): 268– 89. Rouse, P. “The Politics of Culture and Sport in Ireland: A History of the GAA Ban on Foreign Games 1884 – 1971. Part One: 1884-1921.” The International Journal of the History of Sport 10, no. 3 (Dec. 1993): 333– 60. Whelan, K. “The Geography of Hurling.” History Ireland 1, no. 1 (1993): 27 – 31. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies ISSN: 1369-183X (Print) 1469-9451 (Online) Journal homepage: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/cjms20 Sport and the Contestation of Ethnic Identity: Football and Irishness in Scotland Dr Joseph M. Bradley To cite this article: Dr Joseph M. Bradley (2006) Sport and the Contestation of Ethnic Identity: Football and Irishness in Scotland, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 32:7, 1189-1208, DOI: 10.1080/13691830600821885 To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/13691830600821885 Published online: 20 Aug 2006. Submit your article to this journal Article views: 1684 View related articles Citing articles: 6 View citing articles Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at https://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?journalCode=cjms20 Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies Vol. 32, No. 7, September 2006, pp. 1189 1208 Sport and the Contestation of Ethnic Identity: Football and Irishness in Scotland Joseph M. Bradley The greatest single immigrant group in Scotland derives from the island of Ireland. During the years of the Great Irish Famine in the mid-nineteenth century until the First Word War, several hundred thousand Irish migrated to Scotland. Traditionally, this migrant community has been largely ignored in academic, popular and public literature and representations. It is primarily through the sport of soccer that this group’s distinctiveness and identities are manifest in Scotland. However, the existence and the successes of Celtic, a football club founded and supported by the Irish Catholic immigrant community, highlights not only this marginalisation but the prejudice perceived and experienced by the Irish diaspora in Scotland. This paper highlights the role and significance of the Scottish print media in reflecting, creating, sustaining and disseminating this prejudice. Keywords: Irishness; Celtic; Scotland; Media Discourses; Ethnic Identity Football in Scotland attracts much participation and media attention. Throughout the twentieth century Scottish football held many European and World records in relation to sports spectator attendance.1 This paper will focus on one football club in Scotland and on the Irish identities of its supporters. The origins and development of Celtic Football Club are embedded and intertwined in the history and evolution of the Irish Catholic immigrant diaspora in Scotland. Although people of Irish descent constitute Scotland’s largest multi-generational immigrant grouping, there remains a dearth of published academic research that explores or reflects upon various aspects of the Irish diaspora there. Indeed, it took until 1991 for one of the first substantial works on the Irish in Scotland to be edited Joseph M. Bradley is Lecturer in Sports Studies at the University of Stirling, Scotland. Correspondence to: Dr J.M. Bradley, Dept. of Sports Studies, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, Scotland. E-mail: j.m. bradley@stir.ac.uk ISSN 1369-183X print/ISSN 1469-9451 online/06/071189-20 # 2006 Taylor & Francis DOI: 10.1080/13691830600821885 1190 J.M. Bradley via the proceedings of a conference at Glasgow’s University of Strathclyde. Editor Tom Devine (1991: v) stated in his introduction that, despite having a significant presence there since the mid-nineteenth century, ‘Irish immigrants in Scotland have not until recent years been effectively integrated into the wider study of Scottish historical development’. In relation to the Irishness of the Celtic supporters, what has been published has often relied mainly on secondary sources and has been limited to viewing Celtic and its surrounding fan culture solely in opposition to Glasgow Rangers, the club‘s traditional ‘other’ in football and cultural terms. Where Celtic and Irishness have been reported and represented, the dominant discourse for popular media commentary has been almost solely expressed using an explicit ‘sectarian’ interpretation (see Murray 1984, 1988, 2003).2 This paper will partly reflect on such representations while endeavouring to understand what constitutes the importance and meaning of Celtic Football Club to those who are second- and third-generation Irish amongst the contemporary Celtic support. Surveys indicate that 90 per cent of the Celtic support is Catholic and like most Catholics in Scotland, they are mainly of Irish descent (Boyle 1994; Bradley 1995). This article aims to make sense of the place of Celtic in constructions and expressions of Irish identity in Scotland while exploring some of the ways that the Irishness of Celtic and its support base is represented in the Scottish media (especially the print media). This will also allow us to consider how Irishness is generally represented in wider Scottish society and to deliberate on the capacity of football in Scotland to act as a social and cultural metaphor for the wider society. The connections between Irishness in Scotland and Celtic Football Club were one of the foci for The Irish 2 Project, which looked at second- and third-generation Irish identity in Britain.3 Making Sense of Irishness and Football in Scotland Brubaker (2001) argues that, when considering racial, ethnic or national groups, it is not sufficient to refer to them as socially constructed entities; what is required to better understand these groups is a linking of macro-level outcomes with micro-level processes. In other words we need to be able to specify how people identify themselves, perceive others, experience the world, interpret their predicaments and orient their actions in racial, ethnic or national terms in time and space. This paper addresses some of those concerns. Two surveys of second-generation teenagers in the 1980s have previously highlighted the importance of Irish identifications for this group. In Ullah’s work (1985, 1990), over 75 per cent of his sample of second-generation teenagers in Birmingham self-identified as either ‘half-English, half-Irish’ or ‘mainly Irish’. He also concluded that the second-generation Irish thought they belonged to a group who were viewed as being of low status. I found that anti-Irish prejudice was widely experienced, and that questions relating to identity formed a major issue in the lives of many of these people. It was clearly Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 1191 not the case that they had been assimilated to a greater extent than other minorities, or that they had escaped the many problems associated with secondgeneration youth (1985: 310). Ullah argued that, because they are (predominantly) white, second-generation Irish could use the strategy of psychologically leaving their group as a means of avoiding unpleasantness, distancing themselves from those things likely to emphasise their Irishness. This paper will reflect on the experiences of people with an Irish identity who look to Celtic Football Club as a means to express and sustain their Irishness in perceived contested circumstances. Here this contestation is primarily looked at via the narratives of the Scottish print media. In Hickman’s survey (1990, 1998) of the identities of second-generation pupils in Catholic schools in London, 81 per cent named either ‘Irish’ or ‘of Irish descent’ as their primary identity. Hickman argues that, whereas education has been a prime way in which the public mask of Catholicism has rendered Irishness invisible in Britain, the family has provided a counterpoint to the school and its incorporating strategies (Hickman 1995). Reflection on aspects of how the print media in Scotland addresses and represents the national and cultural identities of its largest ethnic minority demonstrates how this strategy can operate in Scotland, while indicating how Celtic fulfils a role of being a counterpoint to the incorporating strategies of the Scottish media and society generally. Privileged Discourses At a conference held at the University of Stirling in January 1997, consideration was given to a number of pertinent social and political questions that focused on the historical and contemporary position of Catholics in Scotland.4 Apart from a small number of indigenous Scots, and those with origins in countries such as Poland, Lithuania and Italy, Catholics in Scotland largely originate from Ireland. Although it is overly simplistic to see Irish as equalling Catholic and vice versa, relevant issues concerning the Irishness of Catholics in Scotland were expected to be a part of conference proceedings. Nevertheless, during the discussion, two academic speakers expressed the view that the Irish in Scotland could be referred to historically but not contemporaneously; therefore discussants could only talk about ‘the ex-Irish’ in Scotland. The Chair of the conference, meanwhile, offered the view that talk of the Irish in contemporary Scotland was illusory and that the greatest single immigrant grouping in Scottish society had ‘ceased being Irish’. This assertion reflects and correlates with the comparatively few academic or popular books and articles that address historical, cultural, economic and religious issues in relation to the Irish in Scotland. Moreover, a significant number of published sources do so only within the boundaries of a ‘sectarian discourse’. In a related sense, a member of the Irish diaspora, Scottish-born writer and novelist Andrew O’Hagan, has lamented the dearth of reflective works on Catholic or Irish Catholic life in Scotland. For him, this means that there are few realistic or supportive references that can assist the relevant formulation and transmission of his ideas and 1192 J.M. Bradley experiences.5 Likewise, a Dublin-based interviewee stated that at school he learned of the Irish in the USA, Australia and England. Until he became interested in Celtic Football Club in Glasgow, a club founded and traditionally supported by the Irish and their offspring in Scotland, he was unaware that a significant part of the Irish diaspora existed there.6 Such perspectives constitute a view that Irishness in Scotland has been pushed to the periphery of social, cultural and political narratives. The Irish in Scotland have become largely invisible; they are for the most part absent from research, novels, histories and stories from life in Scotland. MacMillan (2000: 1324) points out that the Collins Encyclopedia of Scotland: . . . has no entry for the Irish in Scotland or the Catholic Church. Foreign visitors to Edinburgh attended an exhibition a couple of years ago at the Scottish Record Office, recounting the history of immigration to Scotland. Large displays set out the history of the immigration of Flemish weavers, Jewish traders, Italian peasants, Asian shopkeepers, Chinese restaurant owners, black bus conductors, and rightly praised the contribution they had all made to Scottish society. The massive Irish immigration in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was dealt with in something like three sentences, as follows: ‘in the mid-nineteenth century an increasing number of seasonal Irish farm labourers who worked in the summers in lowland Scotland stayed over due to poor economic conditions in Ireland. Many of them became a burden on the local Parish Poor Laws’. Likewise, a BBC documentary series in mid-2005 that looked at immigrant groups in Scotland (including the Irish) considered that Scotland had only been dealing with an immigrant population for the past 50 years. Such irony contradicted the facts as well as the lives and stories of some of those of Irish descent interviewed for the series and whose families had been in Scotland for a hundred years. This also corresponds with other important commentary such as that of Hickman et al. on how the Irish and their descendants can be construed as invisible in British society (see Hickman et al. 2005; Walter et al. 2002). More significantly, Scotland’s role in the colonisation of Ireland (which contributed ultimately to the creation of the Northern Ireland conflict), the Great Irish Famine, the massive economic contribution of the Irish to industrial Scotland*and to the Scottish health services, to Christianity, to education provision, to political life (particularly through the Labour Party) and of course to Scottish sport (particularly football and boxing): all these aspects are routinely omitted in standard texts and narratives. In addition, the perceived sectarianism faced by many Irish in Scotland is silenced in such accounts. These omissions are repeated throughout much of the contemporary Scottish media. Focusing mainly or solely on non-white immigrants creates a silence around the Irish in Scotland and delineates their history and experience within a banner of white homogeneity (or as Scots or British), as described by Hickman et al. (2005). However, The Irish 2 Project and reflection on the football discourses common to the Scottish print media’s reporting of matters pertaining to Celtic, demonstrates that Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 1193 evidence-based research shows Irishness to be a vital part of the mosaic of identities that constitutes contemporary multicultural Scotland. Diasporic peoples are frequently cut off from representations of important strands of their histories by a series of absences from spaces of cultural reproduction in education, memorials and popular culture. The people who experience this disjuncture most sharply are often those born and raised in one society, but whose parents, grandparents and great-grandparents originate from a different society. This generally equates with a largely differing socialisation process to that learned by prior family and community members in the ethnic historical ‘home’. At least some aspects of ‘original’ culture are passed on in privatised spaces; this may have a greater chance of occurrence in areas where large numbers of immigrants settled together and recreated numerous structures and cultural agents that promote reproduction of ethnic and religious identities. Often, however, diasporic offspring are thrust into public spheres where their culture is under-represented, only partly visible or missing altogether. Immigrant community practices, beliefs, attitudes and lifestyles, including those of subsequent generations, can also be viewed with varying degrees of hostility. This will invariably contribute to the context of second, third and subsequent generation identity formation: whether reproduction of ethnic and religious identities takes place at all, and if it does, in what form. For colonised populations who emigrate to the former ruler state this may entail a more active suppression of dissident identities in order to avoid contestation and speed up the process of incorporation and acceptability into the national mainstream (Walter et al. 2002). Hickman (1995) has shown that Irish history has been conspicuously excluded from curricula throughout Britain since the nineteenth century, not only from non-denominational state schools, but also from the distinctive Catholic school framework that operates within the state system and where the majority of children of Irish descent are educated. Hickman argues that this has been a key element in the denationalisation of the Irish in Britain and their construction as good, compliant, Catholic British citizens. The implication is that the end-product of such an alteration can result in the Irish, in their diasporic setting, becoming British, English or Scottish. That this occurs is not a natural or inevitable development but one that can be considered as part of a socialisation process. Further, as this paper will argue, when Celtic and Irishness in Scotland are concerned, this process can be a decidedly contested one. The contested nature of this development is also implied and demonstrated with the re-discovery by third- and fourth-generation individuals and groups of their ethnicity, or in their finding a new sense of respect for their origins and roots, one that their parents or grandparents had ‘lost’ or changed in response to their own experience of this socialisation process. This is highlighted in the differing ethnic, cultural and religious identities that can exist even within the same family. Doyle (2002: 316) expands on Hickman’s conviction regarding the socialisation process: ‘. . . the history curriculum has always held a primary position in the transmission of 1194 J.M. Bradley national identity and national values and the history textbook has been an important tool in this process’. In simple terms, children whose origins lie elsewhere are taught histories often alien to their backgrounds. Indeed, sometimes they are oppositional to the histories of the nations and communities where they originate. It is important to note that teaching history at school is only one example*albeit a vital one in relation to age and the lifelong learning experience*of numerous important agents and sources of identity construction and socialisation. It is in this light that the importance of Celtic Football Club to the historical Irish Catholic community in Scotland can be seen. Despite a denial of Irishness within the education system and in other spheres, research demonstrates that knowledge of their cultural background in Ireland, and indeed through the medium of support for Celtic Football Club, cannot be erased from accurate reflections on the identities of the Irish diaspora. Such reflection remains relevant to any assessment of national and cultural identities in contemporary Scotland. The Irish 2 Project demonstrates that there continues to be second- and third-generation Irish in Scotland who esteem their Irishness. Indeed, the project also reveals there are second- and third-generation Irish people in Scotland who consider themselves ‘Irish’, not Scottish or British, and who consider their Irishness as their primary cultural identity.7 In addition, the place of Celtic Football Club in the formation and expression of Irish ethnic identity in Scotland is also emphasised by a number of interviewees. Expressing Irishness through Celtic Linkage between the Irish diasporic experience in Scotland and the history of Celtic Football Club was articulated by a majority of the Irish 2 Project interviewees. Francis Daly expressed his Irish identity as closely linked to his support for Celtic Football Club. It was the only place you were allowed to express . . . a sort of an Irish identity. You were allowed to go see Celtic matches and express your Irish identity . . . it’s maybe a lot more important, it’s not just the football club of course, it’s a lot more. Celtic is all about attitude and that as well. You know you can express an Irish identity and there’s safety at Celtic Park, whereas you wouldn’t be able to express it outside [of the Celtic environment]. James Brannigan conveyed similar sentiments: Celtic is our standard bearer in Scotland. They’ve never been an Irish only or a Catholic only club because that would be wrong. But Celtic is essentially about us *it’s our team, our club and our community. It’s a small place where we can be us and not be forced to be the same as them *whoever they might be. Celtic wouldn’t be here without the Irish. . . . Every time we win a big match it’s a celebration for a community. We can come together and we can celebrate publicly. We are recognised and the rest of the country can see us even though many of them ignore or despise us. We’re here and sometimes we’re the best at this particular Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 1195 sport. Just to see the green and white hoops running out is evidence that we’ve survived despite what many have thrown at us. Seeing the tricolour and the shamrock somewhere publicly where we don’t usually *usually we have to keep them hidden *is the greatest thing about Celtic. Without the Irish in Scotland there is no Celtic and without Celtic there is no Irish in Scotland. They’re inextricably linked *spiritually at one. Second-generation respondent, Peadar McGrath, gave voice to the many Catholics of Irish descent who would not be considered ardent or active football supporters but who would still look to Celtic as culturally symbolic and as their community’s sporting representatives: I don’t watch football, but sometimes I’d turn the radio on and listen to the Celtic game hoping that Celtic would win but I don’t go to see them . . . I’m not actually interested in football . . . my interest in Celtic is I see them as the Irish team in Glasgow. I used to go to see Celtic up till I was about eighteen. I went to see Celtic because I felt everybody standing there in the Jungle was the same as me. But all these guys had the same views, sang the same songs and just thought the same as me. I mean I could be totally wrong, but standing there in that crowd, that was the feeling I got and it was the only time in the whole week I could get that feeling . . . every week you could stand there and sing to your heart’s content and it made me feel really Irish, it made me feel this is good, here’s other guys who think the same as me. This opinion is similar to that of Irish diaspora music icon Shane McGowan of the Pogues, who expressed his feelings for Celtic in comparable terms. McGowan told an interviewer that his invitation to appear on the Celtic Park pitch in 2002 was like: going out on stage at the Barrowlands; it was the same crowd. Celtic is the only team I’m interested in apart from the Ireland team, but I’m not really a big soccer fan.8 Another fan articulated the view in a popular supporter’s fanzine that: Celtic is a way of life! So many Celtic fans and generations of Celtic fans have been steeped in this tradition of being ‘Celtic’! It is our culture, our history and our heritage! The tradition of music, banter and song. . . . Celtic is in your heart and soul.9 Generally, such discourses are evidence of the common perception that football goes beyond ‘mere’ sport and finds its lifeblood in the extra-sporting passions and meanings that link it to everyday aspects of life, especially those involving social, cultural and community life. Specifically, these comments above demonstrate that Celtic’s emblematic and symbolic identity is intrinsically linked to the Irishness of the Irish immigrant diaspora in Scottish society. Nonetheless, as Devine (1991, 1995), Finn (1991a, 1991b, 1994), Walls and Williams (2003) and Williams (1993) have documented, Irish and Catholic identity in Scotland also brings with it experience of being confronted by discrimination, 1196 J.M. Bradley hostility and antagonism. Giulianotti and Gerrard (2001) partly refer to this in the context of Glasgow Rangers Football Club10 as exemplifying and characterising important expressions and manifestations of the racism and sectarianism faced by the Irish diaspora in Scotland. Such hostility has meant that Celtic and its supporting community have become a focus for anti-Catholic and anti-Irish opposition. In turn this has reflected the construction of a path within Scottish society that has allowed for the survival and public expression of Irish and Catholic sporting and cultural identities through Celtic. This also partly reflects the comments made above by interviewees such as Brannigan and McGrath in the Irish 2 Project. The capacity of Celtic Football Club to be a primary focus for Irishness in Scotland was also communicated by Irish 2 Project interviewee Harry McGuigan. They play a central part, they should do and they should continue to do. When Irish emigrants’ children had nothing, the only thing they had to anchor themselves here was Celtic. Why should they apologise for that and why should Celtic? That gave them something to anchor their identity to. . . . You can’t just turn around and say you can’t have that any more. The implied hostility within Scottish society to Irishness, Catholics and Celtic has numerous facets, as revealed by the interviewees. In a situation where one female subject was in a stable relationship with her secular-minded Scottish Protestant boyfriend, and where marriage was in the offing, Rosaleen Connolly offered the view that her Irish Catholic identity continued to provoke tension within this relationship. I don’t just go to Ireland or love Ireland or support Celtic or go to church because I’m meant to do it, because I’m from Coatbridge and everyone else does it, it’s because I want to now. . . . At first, it bugged him because as I said earlier that I supported Celtic and people from Ireland were all alike, just wee Paddies. Now he knows. He can understand how important it is to me, the culture and all the rest. What he doesn’t like is when I say I’m Irish. It drives him round the bend. In fact we had this conversation again the other day. It’s just something that is mentioned all the time. When we went to Barcelona this year, I had my Irish passport and he said he couldn’t believe that it was an Irish passport. It bugs him a bit. The central role of Celtic Football Club in the formation, sustenance and expression of Irishness in Scottish society is mirrored in these comments. Nevertheless, Celtic’s position within the Irish Catholic diasporic community in Scotland, the community that founded and has supported the club since 1887, is also reflective of discourses of Irishness in Scottish society as evidenced in the Scottish print media. In turn, these discourses are indicative of the contestation over Irishness in Scottish society as perceived by the Irish 2 Project interviewees. Also remarkable amongst the Irish 2 Project subjects, no interviewee mentioned Glasgow Rangers in their articulation of Celtic as the Club of their community. This is in sharp contrast to the stereotypical view that Celtic and Glasgow Rangers require to be seen ‘together’ in popular commentary or in analytical terms. As the prime social and cultural vehicle as regards Irishness in Scotland, this is clearly not the case Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 1197 for the interviewees. This is also evidence that, for many Celtic supporters, Rangers constitutes only the biggest and most obvious dominant discourses. In Scotland, further social and cultural life aspects combine to build a view of hostility on the part of the wider Scottish society towards Irishness, while soccer has become the medium and prime public manifestation and site of the perceived negativity faced.11 Dominant Discourses Sporting narratives and discourses are important indicators as well as reflections of life beyond sport. Hoberman (1984, quoted in Sugden and Bairner 1993: 10) states that ‘sport has no intrinsic value structure, but it is a ready and flexible vehicle through which ideological associations can be reinforced’. Hobsbawm (1990: 4) believes that ‘the identity of a nation of millions seems more real as a team of eleven named people’. Similarly, Blain and Boyle’s (1994: 139) focus on Scotland allows them to stress that ‘the complex nature of collective identity formations associated with Scottish sport parallels the complexity of Scotland as a political [and cultural] entity’. All of these authors demonstrate awareness of the importance of visual and textual discourses as well as how sporting mediums acquire meaningfulness. As regards Celtic, what is clear in such observations, and indeed from those of the Irish 2 Project interviewees, is that sport, particularly football, has the capacity to embody, actualise and express a multiplicity of identities*national, cultural, ethnic, religious, social, political, economic and community*in a way few other social manifestations can. It is for these reasons that the institution of Celtic Football Club demonstrates the fallacy in the argument that the Irish in Scotland have ‘ceased to exist’. Further, the existence of Scottish-born Irish in Scotland, or at least those who esteem and celebrate their Irishness, alongside denials of their existence and relevance, represents a critical aspect of the narrative of Irishness in Scotland. Celtic’s appearance at the UEFA Cup Final in Seville in 2003 provoked numerous letters and comment in the print media in Scotland. Almost all press commentary on Celtic and their fans’ journey and presence in Seville was favourable. But, characteristically, reference to a context of Celtic being the club of the Irish in Scotland and of the Irish diaspora beyond was virtually excluded from the relevant discourses. In communicative discourses, omission can be as important as inclusion. This omission also links with the marginalisation of the Irishness of the Irish diaspora in Scotland, as noted at the conference at the University of Stirling. Such discourses can also be considered dominant in Scotland because they are preeminent, all-encompassing and recurrent in the Scottish print media threading editorials, letters pages, popular articles and news columns. In a letter to a Scottish broadsheet (Scotland on Sunday, 2 August 1998) an observer stated that: . . . Celtic is a Scottish club playing in Scotland and whilst their heritage should be acknowledged, this over emphasis on Irishness is at best an embarrassment and at worst an excuse for bigotry and violence. 1198 J.M. Bradley During the period surrounding the match in Seville, this style of reporting on Celtic was also demonstrated by a popular football commentator in Scotland’s best-selling tabloid newspaper, the Daily Record. On the eve of Celtic’s match in Spain the columnist contested Celtic and its supporters’ Irishness and wrote: Celtic, a Scottish team whether some of their fans are willing to admit it or not . . . Celtic ARE Scottish so they belong to more than the supporters who follow them week in, week out. . . . This is Scotland against Portugal . . . right now Celtic, albeit unwittingly, are flying our flag . . .12 Amongst other things, this columnist and others deny Celtic and the fans’ desire to be seen as Irish, esteem their Irishness and publicly display Irish symbolism. In this light, such discourses, which are numerous and widespread within Scottish sports journalism, can be viewed as part of an assimilationist (as opposed to integrationist) approach to those who have different identities and cultural expressions in Scotland. Through such discourses, the club and its support are constantly being divorced from and denied the relevance of their Irish roots, heritage and identity. Around the time of the UEFA final, various newspapers carried letters that demonstrated the contentiousness of Celtic and the supporters’ Irishness in Scotland. The Daily Record view cited above was a popular one and some letter writers reflected this: I was absolutely appalled and disgusted when watching the UEFA Cup Final. I am sure I am not the only non-Celtic supporter who was urged to ‘get behind’ the Scottish team. How many Scottish flags were in the stadium? I counted one but maybe I couldn’t see the others due to the sea of Irish Republican flags on display. Isn’t it about time that people like this decided which nationality they are?13 I could have sworn the UEFA Cup Final in Seville was between teams from Scotland and Portugal, but judging by the flags in the stadium I think it was actually Ireland against Portugal; there were more American, Canadian, or Australian flags than Scottish. How do you expect neutral football fans to support their Scottish team when the fans make it very clear that they have no loyalty to Scotland and where their true allegiance lies? I can’t imagine what the rest of the world thought as they watched this disgraceful sight which was attended by some of our politicians who supposedly abhor this type of behaviour. This was not a good reflection on our culture and a bad night for Scottish sport.14 Another supporter’s letter to a Sunday broadsheet denied Celtic’s Irishness, stressing that the club should end such manifestations. Celtic should remind their fans that they are a Scottish club. They should stop flying the tricolour on their stand and consider restoring it only when their fans waving the Scottish Saltire outnumber those waving the tricolour.15 A different Sunday broadsheet added to the ideology that views Celtic supporters’ Irishness with hostility, complaining that Celtic’s identity ‘still contains a large Irish Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 1199 component’.16 Another Scottish broadsheet sports journalist offered a similar view. Decrying the renditions of Celtic and Irish folk songs played by live bands before some matches, he believes the fans should be left to their own devices: ‘. . . especially coming from the musical equivalent of Darby McGill [O’Gill?] and the Little People with their ‘‘Have a Potato’’ style of hokey Irishness’.17 Yet another journalist referred to the diaspora in Scotland as the ‘pseudo-Irish’ who support Celtic as well as their penchant for ‘diddly-dee music’.18 The widespread nature of this hostility in Scottish culture is further demonstrated in a News of the World newspaper column that again reflected on the Celtic fans’ ethnic identity. For this sports columnist, Celtic Park was full of: Plastic Irishmen and women who drink in plastic Irish pubs and don’t know their Athenry from their Antrim when it comes to Irish history or politics. . . . Celtic must stop . . . flashing their Irishness . . . if Celtic are so keen to flaunt their Irishness perhaps they could do us all a favour and relocate to Dublin.19 The decision by rising Celtic starlet Aidan McGeady to play international football for Ireland, the country from where his family originated, rather than Scotland, the country of his birth, was met with much negative media comment as well as abuse from opposition fans of almost every team in the Scottish Premier League during 200405. For example, at Celtic Park the visiting Motherwell fans abused McGeady and subsequently sang the Scottish anthem, Flower of Scotland. At Tynecastle, the home of Hearts, the BBC Scotland football commentator stated that he was to interview McGeady after the match, adding: ‘I’ll need to take down a bottle of wiskey and some short bread to Scottify him’.20 Similar outlooks towards Irishness in Scotland are frequently demonstrated in other areas of social and cultural life, and are not restricted to the football arena or in relation to Celtic. For example, for several weeks in early 2003 a debate ensued regarding the organisation of a St Patrick’s Day Festival in the Lanarkshire town of Coatbridge. This debate dominated letters to the local newspaper. Although some writers defended the celebration, much of the hostile comment reflected a belief that, despite Coatbridge being uniquely populated largely by people of Irish descent, such a celebration should not take place. Analogous to comment on Celtic’s appearance in Seville, correspondents to the newspaper emphasised the primacy of Scottishness over Irishness. Frequently positioned within a ‘sectarian’ discourse were references to the Irish nature of the celebration.21 I read with some disappointment the article in last week’s Advertiser regarding the proposed St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Coatbridge. While I realise the vast population of the area we live in comes from Irish descent, I would think by now we would class ourselves as Scottish. I personally feel that this planned festival is more linked to the Catholicism of the area and not of any great heartfelt link to the Irish. This is one of the many factors which results in the cancer of sectarianism, which still blights our society. 1200 J.M. Bradley I am writing to express my utter disbelief at the shocking event held in Coatbridge. . . . Why wasn’t there anything similar to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee? I was dismayed to see the announcement of plans to hold a St Patrick’s Day Festival in Coatbridge. . . . How can this be organised when no corresponding celebration is ever planned for St Andrew’s Day*you know the patron saint of the country we actually live in. . . . Also, the majority of families with Irish heritage can only trace their links back to great-grandparents/grandparents etc. Such correspondence, along with newspaper editorials and journalistic commentary, frequently appears in the popular Scottish media. Various ethnic and religious institutions and events can prompt similar responses on a routine basis. Matters Irish and Catholic in Scotland are often a focus for critical comment. The problem with the west of Scotland is the RC Irish descendants still hang on to their Irish roots*flying a tricolour at Celtic Park is like a red rag to a bull where Scots are concerned. . . . If I love my native land more than the one that gave me a living, I would move back to that country. . . . Before you write me off as a bluenose, I have a daughter married to a Catholic, and when we lived in the Canadian Arctic I played the organ in the RC mission in the morning and the organ in the Anglican mission in the afternoon.22 This particular writer ‘establishes’ his own self-defined ‘neutral’ and ‘non-sectarian’ credentials before demonstrating a hostility that in fact militates against any ‘evidence’ of such credentials. The writer also suggests that affinity for Ireland on the part of the Irish diaspora in Scotland should mean a kind of repatriation back to Ireland. Again there is a claim to ‘neutrality’ in this matter, while in fact the writer contributes to and sustains a recurrent and widespread ideological polemic against public manifestations of Irishness and Catholicism in Scotland. Although this paper only refers to a selection of newspaper articles and reader letters, they are representative of discourses that are constantly re-cycled, re-affirmed and re-stated throughout the Scottish media. In recent years in Scotland, widespread media attention and subsequent debates over Glasgow Rangers’ Vice-Chairman Donald Findlay singing sectarian songs in May 1999, composer James MacMillan’s accusations of Scottish anti-Catholic bigotry in August 1999, and the 2001 controversy over the proposed unveiling of a national monument in Lanarkshire to the victims of the Irish Famine, are just a few occasions that have demonstrated the contentiousness of Irish ethnic and Catholic issues in Scottish society.23 Many of those interviewed for the Irish 2 Project as well as others for several other assignments have stressed their perceived view that the media in Scotland has an inherent prejudice and bias against the system of beliefs associated with Catholicism and public manifestations of Irish identity. In this light, Willy Maley, writing in the Glasgow Herald (29 June 1991), believes that the Scottish media have persisted in their refusal to stand up to the realities of anti-Irish racism. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 1201 Scotland is a country which does not respect cultural difference. Only the cloistered academics and other privileged professionals, cushioned from the vicissitudes of economic deprivation could fail to see that sectarianism rather than religious bigotry is the product of national and social discrimination. Whether in relation to Celtic or other cultural and ethnic issues that have a Catholic or Irish dimension, such discourses also demonstrate that football in Scotland is penetrated by cultural and political ideologies and identities. The notion of how sport is ‘enmeshed in the media’s reproduction and transmission of ideological themes and values which are dominant in society’ is clearly reflected in such print media comment (Hargreaves and McDonald 2000). Likewise, Blain and Boyle (1994) report on the capacity of the Scottish print media to construct national characteristics through reporting on Scottish football, emphasising the hegemonic capacity of popular sources of information, values and cultural practices. The comments of O’Hagan and Devine, cited above, as well as those of the interviewees involved in the Irish 2 Project, also link with this encounter in terms of recognition of Irishness in Scottish society. Talking about Celtic’s supporters, a former ‘Young Scottish Journalist of the Year’ criticised them for seeing: No inconsistency in packing their ground to wave the flag of another country. They flap the Irish tricolour and sing sad Irish songs and roar of the Irish struggle. There’s a country called Ireland for goodness sake, why don’t they go and live there?24 In 1997, a Scottish Sunday broadsheet journalist inadvertently raised questions about the capacity of Scottish society to be as inclusive, multicultural or plural as it may aspire or imagine itself to be. With reference to the Irishness of the Celtic fanbase and his perceptions of what Scotland should represent to them, the journalist expressed the view that: . . . there is a section of the Celtic support, in particular, who turn my stomach with their allegiance to the Republic of Ireland in preference to the nation of their birth.25 So, whether the reference point is Celtic fandom, a Scots-born Irishman playing soccer for Ireland, the Irish national flag in Scotland, raising a memorial to the victims of the Irish Famine or a St Patrick’s Day Festival in the west of Scotland, it is evident that Irishness is a contested identity and expression in Scottish society. Concluding Perspective National cultures and identities can be interpreted as the privileged discourses of the dominant social groups (political, economic, cultural and religious) which manufacture identities through symbols, stories and meanings. These are continuously 1202 J.M. Bradley communicated through popular culture and via the dominant modes of transmission, usually television and newsprint media. In this sense the imagined community manifests as ‘reality’ (Anderson 1991). Sport is a cultural process and in Scotland football is a significant contributor to the formation and sustenance of national and other identities. In this context, Irish identity is viewed as oppositional instead of being one of the many identities that makes Scotland multicultural. There is a growing literature on hybrid, contextual and layered notions of identity. Such notions can assist in understandings of not only Irishness, but Scottishness and Britishness within Scotland. This paper, however, has fo...
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Celtic Sport

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Celtic Sport
Gaelic Sport, Soccer, and Irishness in Scotland Summary: One
The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), an entity championing heritage Irish
athletics, has been a prominent figure in the narrative of Ireland's diaspora to Scotland, and
the 19th and 20th centuries witnessed Scotland become home for many migrants from
Ireland, frequently setting roots down within Glasgow's west-central belt region. This
population shift led to cultural, social, and political modifications across Scottish society as
these new settlers focused on mitigating British colonial sway while endorsing their native
land - Ireland for its values worth cherishing.
Initiated in the twilight years of the 1800s, the GAA had a vision to leverage Gaelic
sports to amplify Irish identity while compensating for cultural assimilation's negative
impacts. Its torchbearers subsequently - leaders, orchestrators, and contributors were highly
dedicated to safeguarding and resurrecting both nationalist and cultural facets of Ireland.
Simultaneously within Scotland's boundaries, it assumed an instrumental role, sculpturing
identity markers among the diasporas belonging to Ireland, fostering sentiments tinged with
feelings hued by sense-of-belong-duration and pride.
The first GAA club in the country was established in Glasgow (Scotland) in 1901
when Irish immigrants formed the Rapparees Hurling Club. The GAA commenced its
activities in Scotland with a match against the Scottish Caledonian Shinty Club. In Scotland,
numerous Irish Immigrants did not see as much growth of the GAA as experienced in other
parts of the world. This could be because there are a small number of Irish compared to other
migrants; they have little close ties to Ireland, being away from home, and football and rugby
are more prevalent in Scotland. Some factors that might have contributed to limiting the
development of GAA include the prevailing sectarian tensions among Catholics and
Protestants in Scotland. The Rapparees Hurling Club and the other GAA clubs in Scotland
help promote Irish sports and culture, even though it comes with difficulties.

The rise of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) in Scotland has been dramatically
shaped by Celtic Football Club's enthusiastic following, headquartered in Glasgow. The
football team became a symbol of Irish identity, attracting many Irish immigrants who
regarded it as their cultural emblem. This steadfast commitment to Celtic fostered unity
among Ireland's dispersed population and presented obstacles to the GAA's expansion efforts.
Frequently overshadowed by Celtic Football Club's incredible popularity, this made it hard
for the association to mirror similar attention and support within the same community despite
shared heritage roots with unyielding soccer enthusiasts, mainly through Celtics' influence
acting as a deterrent on the visibility of Gaelic sports practices amongst more expansive
Irish emigration to Scotland peaked in the middle of the 19th century because of the
tragedy known as the Great Famine. Nearly 300,000 Irish refugees found refuge in Britain,
while about 100,000 settled in Scotland. It is a western central belt with Coatbridge and
Carfin, among other big towns, transformed socially and economically. These communities
became what they are today due to the contribution made by the Irish immigrants towards
growing and developing them. This influx of large numbers brought about a change in the
Irish population, which was mainly the Catholics, altering the religious and social dynamics
of those areas. Eventually, as Scottish society began integrating Irish Immigrants into its
social fabric, the cultural changes they brought did not only remain but still significantly
affect Scotland's cultural landscapes.
It wasn't just the GAA that was championing Irish heritage in Scotland. Many
community-related stories and data featured prominently in newspapers, mirroring a surge of
political and cultural happenings connected to Ireland at the time. Numerous papers with an
Irish emphasis highlighted how engaged this population was within diverse sociopolitical

activities- as evident signs of their communal pride and their relentless resolve to maintain
their distinct identity and customs.
Conclusively, the GAA's influence in molding the Irish identity and fostering the
cultural heritage of Ireland in Scotland has been considerable. Yet it has faced obstacles,
including backing for Celtic Football Club and Gaelic sports taking precedence over its
activities. Nevertheless, there is no argument that the presence of 'the Association' is integral
to Scottish-Irish narratives. This underlines sport's crucial role in determining immigrant
community identities within new environments. The wave of immigration from Ireland
notably affected Scottish social norms while interweaving with stories surrounding GAA
Summary Two
The article profoundly explores how the influence of Ireland has significantly shaped
Scottish society - all through a football-centred perspective. This detailed look at Celtic
Football Club's emergence is published in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. It
covers an oft-ignored history of Scots born from Irish lineage where importance is given to
their unique identities, which they express through soccer, notably via the revered Celtic
Football club.
Scottish history begins with the Irish migration from the mid-nineteenth-century
famine to World War One. Despite being Scottish's biggest multi-generational immigrant
group, the Irish have been excluded, sidelined, and neglected in scholarly, popular, and public
discourse. Firstly, it stresses what soccer, especially the achievement of the Celtic Football
Club, means regarding the specific identity of the Irish immigrant in Scotland. Sport,
ethnicity, prejudice in the USA: the Irish diaspora's struggles focused on Celtic achievements.
Essentially, as viewed through the prism of Celtic's victories, soccer emerges as the critical

avenue the Irish community can employ to articulate their belonging to Scotland despite the
historical marginalization.
Soccer has been a prominent sport in Scotland over the 20th century, garnering
substantial media spotlight. During this period, the nation also boasted several records for
attracting Europe's highest crowd numbers and sports enthusiasts globally. Nonetheless,
attention towards Scotland's Irish Catholic community - which forms its most significant
multi-generational immigrant body- was frequently marginalized or inaccurately depicted in
scholarly work as well as popular and societal literature.
The struggles experienced by Irish immigrants, as well as the persecution they faced
in Scotland, are best exemplified through the establishment of the Celtic Football Club by
supporters of the Irish Catholic immigrant community. The paper posits that apart from
showing marginalization, Celtic's presence in national competitions exposes how
discriminated against these footballers feel while they are there. The print media, particularly
in Scotland, played a critical role in spreading and reinforcing such prejudices as it reflected,
created, sustained, and propagated biased views.
Football holds a crucial place in Scotland's heart due to its broad engagement and
media limelight. Scottish football has earned multiple European and World records for fan
presence during the 20th century. This account narrows down on Celtic Football Club, tracing
back to where it all began within the setting of Irish Catholic immigrants' dispersion in
Scotland — giving us an exciting viewpoint into how their history is deeply interlaced with
that of this community.
However, the Scottish population has a significant number of Irish descent, but little
academic research is dedicated to the multitudes of topics surrounding the Irish
Diaspora. However, most existing articles rely on secondary sources and have focused only
on how Celtic's fan culture is distinct from that of Glasgow Rangers – its traditional rival.

Moreover, most popular media commentary has resorted to a straightforward use of
'sectarian' concerning Celtic and Irishness.
In conclusion, Dr. Bradley's piece sheds light on the complex linkages between
football, ethnic identity, and the Irish living outside Scotland's homeland. His insights stress
how the Celtic Football Club has been instrumental in molding and challenging Irish
identities within Scottish society while spotlighting prejudices endured by this community.
The writing also indicates precisely unbalanced stories circulated through Scottish print
media, often showing bias toward them. In essence, Dr. Bradley's work augments a wellrounded comprehension of the socio-cultural mechanics influencing the experiences of Irish
natives settled in Scotland using football as a prism for viewing matters tied to conflicts of
one's self-identity instigated due to seasonal biases.


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