Govanhill Baths is proud to announce the publication of Little Donegal – The Irish in the Gorbals and Govanhill by Colm Bryce.

The book traces the influence of Irish migrants to the southside of Glasgow, especially from the North West of Ireland, and how their lives affected the area they settled in. Migration follows patterns, family members, relatives and neighbours follow established paths and often settle close to familiar faces in the place they arrive. In this way, Govanhill and the Gorbals came to be known as ‘Little Donegal’, with a high concentration of people from the west of Donegal, many of them Gaeilge speakers, with a vibrant community life and a regular connection back to their home place.

Colm has used the history of his own ancestors, who arrived in the Gorbals from Gweedore at the end of the 19th century, eventually moving back and becoming an integral part of the regular migrant route via the Scotch Boat which travelled between Derry and Glasgow three times a week. It aims to challenge some of the myths that still exist about the Irish in Scotland, many of which are repeated about more recent immigrants. Rather than a definitive history, the aim is to stimulate others to do the same with their own family histories and capture some of the richness of Irish life in the southside.

The book also contains contributions from Govanhill Baths Archives & Heritage’s Irish History Group where people shared their unique stories, memories and photographs. From the Derry Boat to buttermilk in Clonglash, from the Bridge of Tears in Donegal to Donegal Hill in Glasgow, a recurrent theme is the constant ebb and flow of people between Glasgow and Donegal over many generations.

Click to listen to podcasts from the Irish History Group


This project has been supported by the Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund. This fund is being delivered in partnership between VisitScotland and Museums Galleries Scotland with support from National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players.

We gratefully acknowledge support from the Society of Authors Foundation & K Blundell Trust.

The book will shortly be available to purchase.

The Society of Authors K Blundell Trust