54 George Street, Glasgow.
The Marland Bar, George Street. 1959.
The Marland Bar was once one of the haunts for the folk singers in Glasgow that loved to sing in Glasgow pubs, but singing was band in those days.
There’s been a pub on this site since 1830.
This is from a great book called Cod Liver Oil and The Orange Juice, reminiscences of a fat folk singer, Hamish Imlach and Ewan McVicar…
There were lots of all-night parties, and SNP dos to go to. People drank in the Eagle Inn or the Dunrobin. Singing in pubs was illegal at the time, and eventually the Marland Bar became the undisputed place to drink in, because they’s allow illicit singing with the drinking.
One Saturday we were thrown out of the Queen’s Own pub, off George Square, for persistent singing. Usually we’d go into the Dunrobin, and mumble the words of the songs in one of the booths. This time we went along George Street, found the next pub along was crowded- it being nine o’clock on a Saturday night- and went into the following one, the Marland Bar. There was a back room, which we all crowded into, and managed to order a couple of rounds before nine-thirty closing time.
The only other people in the back room were an old gent and his wife and daughter. He was a wonderful Donegal singer called Paddy Tourish. I didn’t know him then, but I could see from the murals on the walls it was a Donegal pub- murals which had been done by a guy who had been paid in drink, and it showed. On a sloping counter lay a half crown which was in fact bolted from the bottom, put there to entice strangers into putting a hat over it and trying to scrape it oiff the bar.
I thought “What the hell”, and sang Boolavogue.
At Boolavogue, as the sun was setting
O’er the bright Mary meadows of Shemalier
A rebel band set the beather blazing
And brought the neighbours from far and near
And father Murphy, from old Kilcormack
Spurred up the rocks, with a warning cry
“To arms’, he cried, ‘For I come to lead you
For Ireland’s freedom we’ll fight or die”.
Far from throwing us out the owner, Christie McMenanin, came into the back room with a whisky for each of us. We’d found our place.
A week later, we were lashing into all the Rambling Boy songs, and the Tourish family were there again. Rosie the daughter, said ‘Ma da’s a great singer’. He protested ‘Oh, no, no, I only know old fashioned songs, I enjoy hearing you young lads singing, it’s great. To read more of this great book please buy it.