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Quick facts | Did you know? | Local heroes | Well-known landmarks | Local specialities | Best time to visit | What's on | Learn Online

Quick facts

Glasgow - Glaschu


Glasgow has a population of approximately 620,000. Although Glasgow is not Scotland’s capital, its residents like to think of it as the nation’s first city!

Twin Towns

Glasgow is twinned with Nurnberg in Germany, Russian city Rostov-On-Don; Dalian in China, the Italian industrial city of Turin and the Cuban capital Havana.

Gaelic place names near Glasgow

Many people refuse to believe it, but there are many, many Gaelic names in and around the modern day city of Glasgow. This is a testament to the language’s former strength and reach across virtually the whole of Scotland. Among the names are:

Auchenshuggle – Achadh na Seagal – meaning ‘rye field’
Bellahouston – Baile Cheusadain – meaning ‘the settlement of the crucifix’
Cowcaddens – Cuil Calldainn – meaning ‘the corner of the hazels’
Drumchapel – Druim Chapaill – meaning ‘ridge of the horse’
Gartnavel – Gart nan Ubhal – meaning ‘the apple field’
Ibrox – Ath Bruic – meaning ‘the badger’s ford’
Milngavie – Muillean gaoithe or Meall na gaoithe – meaning ‘the windmill’ or possibly ‘the hill of the wind’.
Yoker – ‘Iochdar’ – meaning ‘low-lying ground’.

The Gaelic version of Glasgow is Glaschu. This name is believed to derive from Cumbric, a language spoken by early residents of the area now known as Strathclyde, before the arrival of Gaelic.

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Did you know?

Did you know?

Glasgow’s underground network is the third oldest in the world (behind London and Budapest)!

Glasgow is home to Europe’s largest public reference library, The Mitchell Library, which holds over one million volumes.

The West of Scotland Cricket Club at Hamilton Crescent in Partick hosted the world’s first ever soccer international. Scotland drew 0-0 with England on 30th November 1872. Scotland now play their international matches at Hampden Park in the south of the city.

In more contemporary sport, Glasgow will be the host city for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The first television pictures in history were sent from a room in the Central Hotel, Glasgow, by John Logie Baird.

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Local heroes

Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu

Although it is an unusual choice as a local hero, it is right to include the new Glasgow Gaelic School for what it represents – it is the only Gaelic-medium school in the country offering pre-school, primary and secondary education in the same building, and the chance for children of all ages from Gaelic-speaking families, or families who have an interest in the language to learn together in a Gaelic community at its Berkeley Street location in the heart of Scotland’s biggest city.

John Smeaton

A brave, some would say foolhardy, intervention in a terrorist incident made John Smeaton one of the city’s unlikeliest and most globally famous heroes. On June 30 2007, John tackled a terrorist who was attempting to set of a device in a burning vehicle at Glasgow Airport. With the help of other passers-by, John helped to deal with the threat until further back-up arrived. His broad Glaswegian accent meant his press interviews in the aftermath of the event became legendary, and his attitude has been hailed as painting Glasgow as a place where the ordinary citizen is a hero.

Benny Lynch

Born in the Gorbals in 1913, Benny Lynch came from one of the toughest ghettoes in Europe (at the time) to become Scotland’s first world boxing champion. He knocked out the Englishman Jackie Brown in Manchester to claim the world flyweight crown on September 8th 1935.

He was a prodigious talent, with a powerful punch and great timing. He honed his skills in the boxing booths of travelling carnivals and fairs – an occupation that most people today would view as incredibly barbaric.

Lynch defeated Small Montana from the Philippines to become the undisputed world champion. Sadly, he had lifestyle problems, and retired aged just 25. He died at the tragically young age of 33 from pneumonia brought on by alcoholism and malnutrition, but he is still fondly remembered and much admired by Glaswegian sports fans.

Billy Connolly

Few people have done as much to put Glaswegian humour on the map as Billy Connolly. He started his working life as a welder in the Glasgow shipyards but left to become a folk musician. He included humorous introductions to his songs during his performances and quickly gravitated to comedy, where he became well-known on the TV chat show circuit … although his sometimes choice language could offend as many people as he charmed!

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

One person who has had an almost incalculable influence on Glasgow, and many other locations throughout the world because of his profession, is the legendary architect, designer and watercolourist Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Exhibiting his paintings as one of “The Four” (with Herbert McNair, his future wife Margaret MacDonald and her sister Frances) in cities like London and Vienna cemented his reputation. He explored the combination of right-angles and more floral imagery to create his own distinctive style.

His international fame was confirmed with his work on the Glasgow School of Art, completed in the first decade of the 20th century. Among his other well-known buildings is ‘The Willow Rooms, also known as ‘Miss Cranston’s Tea Rooms’ on Gordon Street in Glasgow city centre.

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Well-known landmarks


The Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre on the banks of the Clyde is one of Europe’s top venues for conferences, concerts and events. It opened in 1985, with the Clyde Auditorium, better known now as ‘The Armadillo’, added in 1997.The Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre on the banks of the Clyde is one of Europe’s top venues for conferences, concerts and events. It opened in 1985, with the Clyde Auditorium, better known now as ‘The Armadillo’, added in 1997.

Heilan Man’s Umbrella

This is possibly a slightly cheeky name given to the railway bridge leading south out of Central Station. Built in a classical style in 1906, it was a popular meeting point for Highlanders living in the city as it was right in the middle of Glasgow, close to the Clyde ….. and offered a bit of shelter on a rainy day!

George Square

In the city centre, George Square is one of the city’s bigger open spaces, and is famous for the beautiful architecture surrounding it as well as its statues (of Robert Burns, William Gladstone, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert) and the colour of its asphalt – which gives it the nickname of ‘Red Square’. It has a temporary ice rink in the winter where people can get their skates on!

St Columba’s Church

Now situated on St Vincent Street in the heart of Glasgow, St Columba’s Church is also known as the Highland Cathedral. It has a proud history of supporting the Gaelic language and Gaelic-speakers from all over the country.

The current church was opened in 1906, and is topped by a 200-foot tall spire. As well as religious services in Gaelic and English, in the past the church lent its support to Highland and Gaelic causes such as land reform, crofters’ rights and cultural causes.

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Local specialities


Maybe not so much now, but Glasgow had a legendary reputation for ship building, especially in the Govan district of the city. The River Clyde is still one of Scotland’s most important waterways, and is one of the major reasons that so many Gaelic-speakers ended up in the city. Thousands from the islands and the Highland coast made their way to the Clyde to work in the ship yards and as merchant sailors.


If there’s one thing that people identify with Glasgow … it is football. The derby match between Rangers and Celtic is famous the world over and draws a huge television audience. It is one of the most passionate rivalries in world sport. Of course, the city is also home to the world’s oldest football club – Queens Park – and to Partick Thistle.

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Best time to visit

All year round! Throughout the winter months and into February 2008, a Winterfest will be running throughout Glasgow offering entertainment on dark winter nights (and days!). In the second half of January, the city hosts Celtic Connections, a two-week festival showcasing the very best of traditional and contemporary Highland, Gaelic and Celtic culture.

The city has a vibrant arts scene, taking in music of all genres, dance, galleries and film – these can be enjoyed all year round. Once the spring and summer come, the city has a vast number of public parks and green spaces which can be enjoyed by all.

If you need some cheering up, the city hosts a comedy festival in March. Musically, there’s a jazz festival in June and the Piping festival each August which closes with the World Pipe Band Championships on Glasgow Green.

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What's on

What's on


Here is a pick of upcoming events that our characters would like to recommend for the month ahead!


Glasgow on Ice

24/11/2007 – 06/01/2007

Edges/Oirean: Art Exhibition by Eòghann MacColl

08/12/2007 – 08/01/2008, Inverness Museum and Art Gallery


Òrain: Seann is Ùir

01/12/2007, Roy Bridge, Lochaber


18/11/2007 – 03/02/2008, Glasgow


Scottish Traditional Music Awards

01/12/2007, Fort William

Fred Morrison in Concert

02/12/2007, Inverness Ironworks


Runrig in Concert

08/12/2007, Glasgow Barrowlands

Glasgow’s Hogmanay

31/12/2007 – 01/01/2008


Small Stuff, Winter Art

17/11/2007 – 15/01/2008, Tore, Highlands

For further information about Highland 2007 including events and external links please visit

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Learn Online

Learn Online

Learn Gaelic at BBC Alba

The BBC offers an array of online learning tools for the Gaelic beginner. They have their “Beag air Bheag” online course, they have Colin and Cumberland games and they also have an online version of “Litir Bheag” from Radio nan Gàidheal.


learndirect Scotland

learndirect scotland has a range of interesting online courses. These include, among others, a series of online basic Gaelic and Scottish History and Geography Courses:

Gaelic (Gàidhlig):

1. Gaelic for Arts and Festivals

2. Gaelic for Food Services

3. Gaelic for Managers

4. Gaelic for Marketing

5. Gaelic for Outdoor Workers

6. Gaelic for Parents

7. Gaelic for Receptionists

8. Gaelic for Retail Workers

9. Gaelic for TIC Workers

10. Gaelic for Travel Workers

11. Scottish History and Geography

Contact: 0808 100 9000


Learn in the Community

Comhairle nan Sgoiltean Àraich (CNSA)

CNSA run a series of “Gàidhlig san Dachaigh” (Gaelic in the Home) courses throughout the Isle of Skye. The classes are total immersion classes whereby the tutor only converses in Gaelic. There are classes throughout the Highlands in Inverness and Skye areas and also in Argyll.

Contact: CNSA Main Office

Tel: 01463 225 469

Clì Gàidhlig

Clì Gàidhlig run various Gaelic classes in communities throughout Scotland. They run various courses for learners of the language including conversation classes and grammar classes. They have also begun a series of Gaelic Awareness classes.

Contact: DJ MacIntyre

Tel: 01463 226710



Learn Full-Time

Cùrsa Comais – Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

The Cùrsa Comais or Immersion Course is a full-time residential course at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Scotland’s Gaelic college. It is aimed at those wishing to obtain fluency in the language and can contribute to the first year of a degree course.

Contact: 01471 888 000



Cùrsa Comais is Cùrsaichean Ceum – Lews Castle College

This course is designed for Gaelic learners who are not yet fluent. You will develop your language skills and learn about the history of the Highlands and Islands. This course can also contribute as the first year of the degree program.

Contact: 01851 770459



Learn Part-Time

Short Courses – Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

The Gaelic college on Skye also offers weekly residential courses for beginners and intermediate beginners. A full timetable of courses usually runs during the Easter holidays and also throughout the summer months.

Contact: 01471 888 000



Short Courses – Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle

The Gaelic centre on Islay offers a short course programme. These courses are for all levels of learners.

Contact: 01496 810 818


Cùrsa Inntrigidh - Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

The Cùrsa Inntrigidh is a distance-learning course based at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. The course is about gaining the confidence to use your Gaelic practically, with priority given to speaking and listening skills. It takes advantage of new technology to reach those people who are too far away or whose schedule makes it impractical to attend existing courses. Workbooks and accompanying CDs allow students to work at any time of day or night that suits them. Weekly conversation classes through teleconferencing offer the opportunity to chat to tutors and practice with others on the course. Weekend schools held at the College offer the opportunity to consolidate and put into practice what has been learned, as well as the chance to get to know students and tutors in a convivial Gaelic atmosphere.

Contact: 01471 888 000



Learn Gaelic Abroad

Comunn Gàidhlig Astràilia

Comunn Gàidhlig Astràilia Comunn Gàidhlig Astràilia (The Scottish Gaelic Association of Australia) is a non-profit organisation which supports the language and culture of Scottish Gaels in Australia, and is the primary source of information regarding Gaelic classes and workshops in Australia and New Zealand.



An Comunn Gàidhealach America

An Comunn Gàidhealach America (The Gaelic Society of America) strives to promote and preserve the Gaelic language and culture by supporting Gaelic language study and interest in Gaelic literature, song, music, art and history in North America and the world.



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