The Celtic way

As I have stated here recently, this site regularly attracts commercial offers that I rebuff as a matter of course.

These companies want me to write articles extolling the virtues of their products.

The only banner adverts on this site that are not connected to my work is the Famine memorial for Glasgow, and the other is for Celtic Canvas art.

The latter is a commercial operation.

I’m happy to do this for the proprietor free of charge for one simple reason.

I owe him.

The talent and the drive behind Celtic Canvas art is John O’Farrell.

We met in the summer of 2014 when Sweet for Addicts was producing my play ‘The Flight of the Earls’.

It was John’s function to create the scenery for the play.

Amid the throng of new faces and names that I met during that period he was reinvented as ‘scenery John’ in my contacts list.

Since then I saw his visual brilliance with the backdrops he created for ‘Hame’ and ‘Rebellion.’

It was shared with me that the work he did for this Not For Profit theatre group was on a cost of materials basis only.

With an acute eye for detail, he read the script and could brilliantly conjure up visual backdrops that captured the essence of a designer flat in Edinburgh, a comfortable kitchen in Glasgow and Frongoch internment camp a century ago.

His use of colour and shadow was brilliantly effective, and the audience were the beneficiaries.

Yet we were getting this talent and time for free.

I was reared with summer stories in Mayo of the meitheal and when I was about twelve I experienced it.

I remember one summer back home when we were helping an old woman.

She lived out towards Oileán Éadaí and the men in her clan were few in number and working in England.

Herself expressed her gratitude to the men and boys who had turned up to help her.

Her expression of thanks was responded to by the man who was in charge of the hay gathering crowd that I was part of:

“Ar scáth a chéile a mhairimid.”

We do indeed live in each other’s shadows.

It is something that has stuck with me all of my days.

That’s why the Gorta Mór advert and Celtic Canvas art are here for free.

If you are of the Celtic Glasgow persuasion or have a person of that stripe in your life, then John’s work makes a stunning gift at any time of the year.

This one is my favourite.


Then again I’m lucky enough to remember that historic goal being scored.

Celtic winning the European Cup is forever, not just for Christmas!

Outside the stadium, there is now the Celtic Way.


It is a powerful symbol that there is now only one major football club in Glasgow.

However, I like to think that the ‘Celtic Way’ is also a way of doing things.

12 thoughts on “The Celtic way

  1. Mr Smith

    The Sevco way


    Looks like someone wants him to be quiet (too).

  2. Magdalena's Chestnut Gelding's Saddle Strap

    The best memorial to the victims of the Irish Famine and the Irish Immigrants who found their way to the west coast of Scotland, and beyond on these shores, is Celtic itself. The continued existence of the name Celtic is the perfect reminder of where we came from and how we are an open all encompassing club with welcome open arms to all colours and creeds. I may not agree with the financial behemoth and business we have become. I may not agree with gambling and alcohol sponsorship on the strips, which are a scourge and source of many of societies ills and many an Irishman succumbed to these addictions, however Celtic the club, Celtic the supporters and Celtic the name is recognised world over for being more than a football team.

    Celtic is the very public vehicle to show how far the descendants of those immigrants and victims have come. These descendants sit in the highest offices of the land when once they were shunned and barred. No more shall we see signs on properties for rent that say “No Dogs, No Irish” (In that order I might add).

    A constant reminder stands proud in the East End of Glasgow for all to see of what can be achieved by ones own efforts and constant striving for equality and fairness. The fans represent this and the theatre that is Celtic Park is where we come together to celebrate being who and what we are.

    As the verse in Galway Bay says “oh the strangers came and tried to teach us their way, scorned us for being who and what we are, well they might as well go chasing after moonbeams, or try lighting penny candles from a star”

    Moonbeams eh? How very apt as the public vehicle for the bigoted core of Scottish Society did indeed go chasing them as they realised that the people they once tried to keep down had surpassed them in every walk of life.

    Stand proud Celtic, the fans and the Celtic Way (in every sense of the phrase) is the memorial to the past and a shining beacon for the present and the future.

  3. peter

    Who could argue if a Gorta Mor statue sat beside Walfrid the connection is enshrined in our minds what these two symbols remind us of.

  4. joe mccormack

    As Celtic fans we are on the brink of a very special year…..50 years on from that special night in Lisbon when a team from Glasgow wrote themselves into football history.
    Simpson, Craig, Gemmell, Murdoch, McNeil, Clark, Johnstone, Wallace, Chalmers, Auld and Lennox, names that are forever part of Celtic folklore.
    Older fans will also be celebrating the 60th anniversary of ‘Hampden In The Sun’, truly a ray of sunshine during dark days for the club.
    How fitting therefore would it be to see Brendan lead us to a treble and write himself and his team into the history books?
    Looking forward to welcoming Barca to Celtic Park tomorrow night, no expectations other than to give a decent show for the support and at least make a game of it.
    Next season I expect that Brendan will use the next two windows to add quality to the squad for CL qualification and a decent show in the Group stages. The money this brings in of course will underwrite the continued dominance at home for the forseeable future.
    2017 should also see the final BDO appeal thrown out and the second illegal tax evasion scheme ran by Murray and his crew confirmed.
    As soon as that confirmation is in the public domain the sham that was the LNS enquiry has to be revisited with title stripping top of the agenda and those at the SFA whose shadowy hands were all over the enquiry named and shamed.
    Once again of course the usual suspects will be front and centre claiming that the titles and trophies were won on the field of play and had hee haw to do with the schemes hatched by the porn star and claimed by the knight of the realm for his Murray Group.
    During the DOS/EBT years it would have been easier to name those who were not beneficiaries on the team sheet, as it became custom and practice in order to attract players they would otherwise have been unable to afford.

    The Knight Of The Realm himself admitted that to be the case.

    No more prevarication, or dancing around the issue, especially as the honours which are to be stripped belong to the club currently being liquidated.

    This was financial doping on an industrial scale and is no different to discovering, following testing, that most of the opposition team were on performance enhancing drugs.

  5. DannyMac23

    The Celtic way of doing things is what sets us apart.One major team in Glasgow one family bereft of arrogance and tolerant of the peepils ignorance.Peace and pity be upon them.

  6. Jim Feeney

    Celtic Park would be apt. Visited the memorial in Philadelphia and something of that stature with the same impact as I felt when there should be the aim.

  7. Avid Reader (@6019Kilo)

    On the subject of memorials. A disgusting wanton act of vandalism occurred in the Fife village of Glencraig. The memorial to Celtic player Peter Johnstone was attacked before Remembrance Day and damaged. Peter died in May 1917 aged 29 at the Battle of Arras in France and his body was never recovered. This was a memorial to him as a Celtic player and one of the Fallen.

  8. sligojoe

    I’ve been catching up on your latest articles. I re-read Jabba’s “valedictory” piece….

    “Good luck to you – and be careful about what and who you read in the future.

    There are people out there calling themselves by different names.

    But that’s not the bit that should worry you. They are calling themselves journalists”.

    The word RICH comes to mind.

  9. Brian

    Wouldn’t it be fitting if the Gorta Mor memorial (that will surely come soon) would be built at the end of the Celtic Way and somehow connected structurally to the fabric of the Celtic Park stands… which is in its own way probably the biggest memorial to that tragedy in the entire world. That way it could be visited in safety and protected from vandalism, while also helping to tell an amazing story.


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