A visit to St John's parish in the Gorbals, known as the most Irish parish in Glasgow.

There are half a million people of Irish descent living in and around the city of Glasgow in Scotland. St John’s parish in the Gorbals is known as the most Irish parish in Glasgow. Like many of his parishioners, local curate Fr Noel Woods is a descendent of Irish immigrants, many of whom arrived in the 19th century.

Fr Woods points out some tenement buildings where families live in very close proximity to one another without indoor toilets or bathroom facilities. While shabby on the exterior some tenements are very nice on the inside,

Some of them you could eat your dinner off the floor, others are pretty ghastly.

Many former tenement dwellers have been re-housed in the 24 storey high flats of the new Gorbals. Each dwelling is a compact unit in itself with indoor central heating and plumbing. However, high rise living cuts people off from their neighbours and the sense of camaraderie that was in the old Gorbals is missing in the new development.

The locality has always been a strong Donegal Irish area and many pubs have Irish names. People living in the new Gorbals still go back to the pubs in the old Gorbals.

They even come  from the suburbs to come back to the places they knew so well.

The former Jewish hall in the Gorbals is now used for showbands by one of the Irish groups in the area.

The schools in the area open their playgrounds and assembly halls in the evening for local children to utilise. Monday is Irish dancing night and most of the children attending the class have never been to Ireland.

The government pays for all the building and all the running of the denominational schools. The Catholic children in Glasgow have some of the finest and best equipped schools in Europe. Nevertheless, many children still leave school at the age of 14 to follow their fathers into the construction and transport industries.

'Radharc’, a series specialising in religious programming, was produced for RTÉ by Radharc, an independent production company run by Catholic priests and lay staff. ‘Radharc’ can be translated to English as ‘view’ or ‘panorama’.

Co-founders Fr Joe Dunn and Fr Desmond Forristal who had received training in television production in New York in 1959 gathered around them a team of like minded priests with creative talent.

The ‘Radharc’ team made their first production in 1960 in Donegal, a short film about customs relating to St Brigid’s Day. The first programme in the ‘Radharc’ series for RTÉ was broadcast on 12 January 1962.
Between 1961 and 1996 the ‘Radharc’ team would produce over 400 films in Ireland and 75 countries worldwide. The films dealt with human rights, injustice, faith, religion, persecution, struggles against oppressive regimes, famine, and Christian heritage.

The popular series ended production in 1996 after the death of Fr Joe Dunn.

'Radharc: I Belong To Glasgow’ was broadcast on 2 March 1971. The producer and director is Fr Desmond Forristal.