The settling of the Irish played a major role in the opening of St Roch’s Church and Primary School (1907) by Canon Daniel Collins (Co Cork). His successor, Canon Edward Lawton (Co Cork), was influential in the opening of St Roch’s Secondary School in 1932. 1 other PP (Fr Malachy Bergin, Co Tipperary) and 29 of the 61 Assistants in St Roch’s came from Ireland, representing 13 different counties.
11 Men from The Garngad have become Priests in the Archdiocese of Glasgow (5), Archdiocese ofDublin (1), Diocese of Galloway (1), Congregation of the Passionists (1), Order of Saint Benedict (1),Salesians of Don Bosco (1) and Servants of the Paraclete Fathers (1). Others have become Religious Brothers and Monks.
Hundreds of Women from The Garngad have become Religious Sisters and Nuns. Whilst the overwhelming majority joined the Little Sisters of the Poor (who were in The Garngad for 124 years between 1861 and 1992) others have joined the Sisters of Notre Dame, The Holy Ghost Sisters, The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary and the Salesian Sisters.
St Roch’s Parish, which covers The Garngad and Germiston, is also home to 3 Catholic Schools: St Gilbert’s Primary (Germiston) and St Roch’s Primary and Secondary Schools (Garngad).
Today the Parish Community is as multi-cultural as ever with people from countries through out Europe, Africa and The Middle and Far East worshipping in St Roch’s. St Roch’s, under the current Parish Priest(Father Joseph Boyle, Co Donegal) celebrates 100 years since its foundation and opening of the church in 2007—among the many ways to mark this event a Souvenir History (‘St Roch’s, Garngad, 100 years in the ‘The Garden of God’) has been produced.
There were four main factors which were instrumental in the Irish arriving in The Garngad:
Digging of Monkland Canal Basin at the foot of Garngad Hill in 1790;
St Roch’s Chemical Works in 1799
The building of the Saint Roch’s to Stepps Railway in 1831
‘An Gorta Mor’ (the Great Famine) of 1845/51
The Garngad became known as ‘Little Ireland’ because of the concentration of Irish People, mainly from the 9 counties of Ulster, who settled in The Garngad. At the turn of the century 90% of houses were headed by an Irishman and 75% were given the term ’Irish Household’ in Turner, Villiers, Bright and Cobden Streets which ran parallel south to north, from Garngad Road to Charles Street.
Amongst the most famous Irish characters to setttle in or come from The Garngad are:
Michael ‘Mick Garngad’ McLaughlin (Buncrana, Co Donegal) was a writer and performer and Poet Lauriat of The Garngad from 1900-1960. Mick wrote ‘The Ballad of James Connolly’ and ‘The Smashing of the Van’.
James Thomson (Belfast, Co Antrim) and his family were driven out of their home and given refuge by the Sisters of Charity before coming to The Garngad where he became a stalwart of St Roch’s Parish and Boys Guild Football teams.
Peader McAleer (Co Tyrone) was a founder member of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann (Traditional Irish Music) at the Glasgow Diocesan Centre, Charing Cross, in 1957 and the Northern Aid Committee in 1969.
Pat McNulty (Co Monaghan) is a famed Vilean Piper who helped found the first Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann outside of Ireland in 1957 and became All Ireland Champion at Tyrone in 1958.
Frank Devlin was the third member of St Roch’s Parish to be a founder member of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann at the Glasgow Diocesan Centre in 1958.
Tomas MacGabhann (Blackhill, Castlebalney, Co Monaghan) became a founding member of Co Monaghan Credit Union (An Cumann Gaelach Muineachan), first President of the Credit Union League of Ireland and a promoter of the Irish Language and publications through Comhdhail Naisiunta na hEireann (Irish National Congress of the Gaelic Language). His death was mourned in the Dail Eireann by Sinn Fein Leader Caoimhghin O’Caolain.
‘Go ndeana Dia trocaire ar a n-anamacha dilse.’
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