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Entertainment & Music

All Glasgow was dance crazy and the Garngad was no exception. There were regular sessions at the Hibs hall and the Hibs dancers were noted as among the best. A recent Glasgow quiz in the Evening Times claimed that the men at the Hibs' dances always danced with their bunnets on.

McDonald Hall on Garngadhill was another popular venue for dancing. This hall was run by the McDonald family who are still well known in the area.

The Carlton and Casino cinemas on Castle St were our ‘Theatres of Dreams’ as we waited with baited breath for the Saturday serial, be it ‘The Mysterious Mr. M’ or whatever. We were crazy about the cinema in those days, often going three times a week. There was no theatre in the Garngad although the Casino had live acts between films but that was before my time. My mother used to recall ‘the Penny Geggies’ or travelling theatres coming to the ‘Brickfield’, Garngadhill or the Canal Banks, and also carnivals. The Geggies would present Victorian melodramas like ‘Maria Martin and the Red Barn Mystery’. Will Fyffe (who immortalised ‘I belong to Glasgow’), the great character comedian travelled in these shows.

From 1918 till 1936 an ebullient character called Father Edward Lawton was parish priest of St Roch’s. He was friend and confidante of many people in the theatrical profession and he was known as the show business chaplain. Big stars including Tommy Morgan, Jack Radcliffe, Joe O’Rourke, Mary O’Rourke, Master Joe Peterson and many others appeared at Sunday night concerts in St Roch’s Hall. Garngad’s own Jimmy McAree, encouraged by these gigs, went on to the stage as Jimmy Donoghue and appeared with Scottish top liners till the 60’s. However, the biggest star of all was Tommy Lorne, in the opinion of many, Scotland’s funniest comedian. Lorne, whose real name was Hugh Corcoran worked in Blochairn Steelwork’s drawing office and was recommended to Father Lawton by a local man called Mr Crull. Father Lanton and Lorne became lifelong friends. Father Lanton officiated at Lorne’s funeral in St Roch’s Church in 1935. This was the largest funeral ever seen in Garngad and the congregation included Harry Lauder. The old Garngad was choc-full of characters and one larger than life figure was a woman called Rosie Romeo. Her name was actually Rosie Monaghan but Romeo was her maiden name and that is what she was called. This was common in this area: long before the days of Women’s Lib! Anyway, Rosie became friendly with many of the stars and Tommy Morgan and Jack Radcliffe, big stars in those days, would always invite Rosie to the first nights of any of their shows.

It was Father Lanton who arranged an unlikely royal visit to Garngad when he invited the Prince of Wales (later King Edward, prior to his abdication) to perform the official opening of St Roch’s Parochial Hall. The two had met while visiting Lourdes.

Traditional music has always been popular in the area and Pat McNulty, the famed Vileann piper came from Garngad Rd. Pat is an All Ireland Champion and long-standin supporter of Comhaltais Ceoltoiri Eireann. Pat’s sister Grace Hughes runs an Irish dancing school in Coatbridge.

St Roch’s ceilidh band, founded by Frank McArdle in St Roch’s Secondary School is one of the most popular Ceilidh bands in the country. Countless musicians who came via St Roch’s can be seen and heard at various city venues. Television presenter Bernard Ponsonby is another who hails from ‘the good and the bad’, as does ‘Tiger Tim’, the Radio Clyde DJ.

Read about Provanmill and Blackhill
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Read about Garngad characters (Mick McLaughlan by Michael Keenan)
Read about politics in the area
Read about sports in the area
Read about schools in the area
Read about churches and religion in the area
Read the 'Farewell to Garngad'
Read about a poet from 'Little Ireland'
Read the conclusion by writer James Friel

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