The Irish Potato Famine By Emily and Abigail


The topic we have chosen was the Irish Potato Famine. We chose this as we are very interested in this topic. It is also a topic that is brought up frequently in the novel “Divided City” by Theresa Breslin. There is one scene in the novel where during a football match between Celtic and Rangers, the Rangers supporters throw potatoes at the Celtic fans as a symbol of the Irish potato famine which is what we decided to research more about.

How the Famine Began

In 1846, more than half of the entire Irish population were relying only on potatoes for their diet. The other half of the population relied on potatoes for the majority of their diet. Moist, damp weather and the arrival of the North American potato disease, Phytofthora, caused at least a quarter of all potatoes to rot before they were ripe. Around one million people died of starvation and disease. Another two million emigrated to other parts of the UK and overseas in order to stay alive and not be at risk of dying.


The Potato Famine lasted for six years and the population went from 8.4 million to 6.6 million. Also known as the Great Potato Famine, the life expectancy dropped to 40 years old. Although the government tried to help it was unfortunately inadequate and did not help the tragic circumstances nor did it help the situation for the unlucky Irish in this terrible situation. The government did not do enough to help the people of Ireland.

The Aftermath

The effect was shocking as the famine lasted for a total of six years and killed many. The decades that followed were no better as businesses were taken over by poorly educated farmers. Rent prices increased so that the houses could be knocked down so that there was more potato farms. They continued this after the famine was over in order to grow potatoes. When Ireland gained independence in 1921, the population was half of what it was in the 1840’s before the famine.


We hope that this has been informative and has taught you something that you perhaps did not already know about the Irish Potato Famine. The novel “Divided City” discusses the event and how people today remember and are even mocked for the tragic event in history.

Great Irish Famine Memorial at Penn's Landing, Philadelphia by Alexmar983 [Licence: (CC BY-SA 3.0]

Great Irish Famine Memorial at Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia by Alexmar983 [Licence: (CC BY-SA 3.0]


The History Place,, accessed 30/10/15

Britannica,, accessed 30/10/15

BBC,, accessed 30/10/15


Asylum Seekers by Chloe, Eve and Stephen

We chose “asylum seekers” as our blog topic because we thought it went well with the novel, “Divided City” by Theresa Breslin. This is what we have been studying in English. We went with this topic because of Kyoul fleeing from his own country and about his amazing  story coming to Glasgow. He came from the Balkans because his country was at war and he was getting threatened to be killed.  

An asylum seeker is someone who has left their country and applied for asylum in another country, but some applications can be rejected. Asylum seekers come to different countries to escape from conflicts in their own country, they also go to different places to look for safety.

Syrian refugee by Bengin Ahmad [Licence: CC BY-ND 2.0]

Syrian refugee by Bengin Ahmad [Licence: CC BY-ND 2.0]

Asylum seekers don’t come to the UK  to claim benefits because some of them don’t know what benefits are. They are not allowed to work so they are forced to have state support. They are expected to live on £5 a day to buy food and buy clothes for their children or themselves. Immigration officers have the power to jail asylum seekers even if they have not done anything wrong. 

In the UK, there is between £200,000 and £250,000 being spent on training new doctors when some asylum seekers are trained doctors but cannot work here. We need these doctors to help people who are coming here with injuries from their journey. They are coming here to get away from conflict in their country. There is lots of violence and war so they flee to somewhere safe. Many people jump on the back of lorries because they or their families have been threatened to be killed. They need to pay lots and lots of money to get on the lorry or a bus. 

In the UK there were 19,801 asylum applications in 2011. This is the second lowest level in 10 years. 490,000 refugees have fled the conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo, including about 15,000 in 2011. A lot of people are granted to stay in this country.

When we started the topic, we didn’t know a lot about an asylum seeker’s life but we have learned a lot, such as how they get to the country, why they come here and how long the process is to have permission to stay. We found the topic very interesting and we think that Scotland could help them by making the process shorter.


Scottish Refugee Council – accessed 19/11/2015

Daily Record – accessed 19/11/2015

The Garngad by Neve and Collette

We picked Garngad (Royston) for our topic. We chose this topic because we were interested in the area and why Theresa Breslin decided to put this district in her book, ‘Divided City.’

The Garngad wasn’t ever a peaceful place. Even the name ‘Garn’ means ‘rough ground’ (Gaelic). Once a year the Hibernian Walk would take place. They would leave the Garngad and weave through streets until they entered Protestant areas, before ending up circling around their own area again. It was rumoured there would be a battle every year. They would be armed with blades and hammers. Kids from the local secondary school, St. Roch’s, would have fights with local Protestant schools and some of these school kid fights ended in death.

In 1942, a campaign was led by Mr. McGrath so he could rename Garngad to Roystonhill. In 1933, there was a slum clearance and rebuilding project that took place. Recently, cars from the M8 motorway were greeted with a gable-end sign of: YOU ARE NOW ENTERING FREE GARNGAD.

Railway Bridge over the M80 Motorway by G Laird [Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0]

Railway Bridge over the M80 Motorway by G Laird [Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0]

On November 16th, 1951 a murder happened in the Hibernian hall. The suspect of this crime was 20 year old labourer, James Smith. A murder trial was held at the high court, Glasgow on February 26, 1952. Smith denied the accusations that he was Malone’s murderer but was later convicted. Smith was sentenced to death and there was no reprieve. He was hanged at Barlinnie Prison on April 12, 1952.

In 1953 Mick McLaughlin wrote a poem called ‘Farewell to Garngad‘.

“Oh father dear and did you hear new houses they have built.
Some of them in Easterhouse and some in Castlemilk.
Balornock and Barmulloch too, they’re building them like mad and now they’re taking our friends away from the dear old Garngad.”

In conclusion, The Garngad was a rough place in the 1900’s. It has since improved and it has now become a considerably safer place.

Sources –
Glasgow Story,, Accessed 30/11/15
Daily Record,, Accessed 30/11/15
Royston Road Project,, Accessed 30/11/15

Modern Gangs in Glasgow by Ishvir and James

We chose modern gangs in Glasgow as our topic because it sounded intriguing and we liked the sound of learning about the behaviour of so-called ‘Neds.’ We did this topic because it links in with the book ‘Divided City’ through the behaviour of the gang who attacked Kyoul.

We found out that there are around 900 known gangsters in Glasgow. There are 48 active gangs in Glasgow selling drugs, counterfeit goods and illegal tobacco, as well as being involved in money laundering. They also use legitimate businesses to do this. Gangs only care about making money and don’t care about the consequences.

We also found that Glasgow’s crack crime police squad have been able to arrest 570 gangsters and have taken more than £13 million in illegal assets from gangsters all over Glasgow.

Another thing we found out was Andy Gunn (head of the Organised Crime Unit in Glasgow) said that serious gangsters are driven by power and profit and that they deal in anything from drugs to human trafficking to taxi firms and tanning salons. Mr Gunn also said that gangs find weaknesses in a community and then they penetrate it so crime takes over.

One of the most famous gangs in Glasgow was the Calton Tongs until 2007 when they were caught out. They had caused mayhem and chaos for 60 years. Their territory was known as the ‘Tong-land’. There were a lot of gangs like this one. They were called Young Peelglen Team, Yokerlangy, Young Shields Mad Squad and The Young Springburn Peg. There are many more.

In conclusion, we believe that gangs in modern day Glasgow are a real problem as they sell drugs and are involved in countless illegal activities. What shocked us was that there are over 900 gangsters and there is a police unit that specifically hunts down the gangsters. Glasgow could solve the problem by having more police officers working undercover in the gangs across Glasgow.

Glasgow Transport Police by trawets1 [Licence: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

Glasgow Transport Police by trawets1 [Licence: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]


List of gangs  in Glasgow,, accessed 11th November 2015

Police target 900 Glasgow gangsters, 48_active_gangs_identified_operating_across_city/, accessed 11th November 2015

How we ran the Glasgows biggest gang out of the town,, accessed 12th November 2015

Theresa Breslin Blog by Stephen and Paul

In class we read the book ‘Divided City’ by Theresa Breslin and we then decided to write a blog about her.

Theresa Breslin was brought up in a small town in Scotland called Kirkintilloch. This was next to old castles, Roman walls and old burial grounds which helped her imagination when she was a child. Theresa would avoid school work as much as possible so she could find a quiet place to read or to write books.

Theresa Breslin by J L Macfadyen [USed with permission]

Theresa Breslin by J L Macfadyen [Used with permission]

Theresa Breslin has written over thirty books and has won more than five writing medals. Theresa has also been runner up in literature competitions several times too. She won the Red Book Award and one of the medals she won was the Carnegie Medal. One of her earlier books was made in 1988 and published then too.

Theresa thinks that it is very important to do research on her books and she loves doing this research. 

In 2001, she was asked to speak at a conference in the United States of America. Just one month before then, the twin towers had been attacked by terrorists. When she was over in America, there were lines as long as a block outside the army offices. This was because people wanted to fight for their country. It was like America were in the world war again.

Theresa Breslin by J L Macfadyen [Used with permission]

Theresa Breslin by J L Macfadyen [Used with permission]

When Theresa was in Flanders, she would often see people laying poppies or flowers next to the youngest soldiers. This is how she was inspired to write the story ‘Ghost Soldier.’ 

In conclusion, we found out quite a lot of facts about Theresa Breslin and how she has grown as a writer, as well as her origins. Also, we saw her take an emotional trip with some of her books, such as ‘Ghost Soldier.’ One of the books that we read was ‘Divided City’ and it was very good. Theresa Breslin is a very good writer and should keep on writing good books. 



Theresa Breslin, – 13/11/15

Theresa Breslin Book Details , – 14/11/15

Theresa Breslin Author Details, – 15/11/15

History of Celtic FC by Erin and Morgan

Celtic Park by Brian Hargadon [Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0]

Celtic Park by Brian Hargadon [Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0]

In English we have decided to look further into the history and facts about Celtic F.C Glasgow. We thought this subject was appropriate as we have just finished reading ‘Divided City’ by Theresa Breslin as our class novel.


Celtic, one of the most recognisable clubs in world football, was founded on the 6th of November 1887 in St Mary’s, Calton. Celtic F.C was originally a charity named ‘The Poor Children’s Dinner Table.’ It was founded by a man named Brother Walfrid.

Celtic’s stadium  is the second biggest in the United Kingdom. There are over 60,500 seats in the park itself.

The first Celtic manager to lead ‘The Bhoys’ was Willy Maley in 1888-1897. He was the first Celtic manager to win three leagues in a row. In later years, Gordon Strachan, Jock Stein and Neil Lennon also won the club three league titles in a row.

Celtic fans, Lisbon 67 by Debbie Mc [Licence: CC BY 2.0]

Celtic fans, Lisbon 67 by Debbie Mc [Licence: CC BY 2.0]


On the 28th of May 1888, Celtic played their first official match against Rangers F.C and won a remarkable 5-2. Also in 1893, the club won their first Scottish League Championship. Celtic were the first ever British team to win the European Cup in 1967. In 1989, Celtic won the Scottish Cup for the 29th time against Rangers .


One of Celtic’s most loved players, Henrik Larsson, left the club after seven magnificent years, scoring 242 goals in total for the club . He signed for the club on the 25th of July 1997. He was believed to be 5 feet 9 inches in height and 12.2 stones in weight. He usually played striker or centre forward and he left Celtic on the 30th of June, 2004.

Leigh Griffiths is one of the most well known players currently and one of many to play for the club. He  is a striker for the club. He was born on the 20th of August 1990 and he is 25 years old. He puts in a tremendous amount of effort for the club.

In conclusion, we have found out a lot about one of Scotland’s biggest football teams, Celtic F.C. We found out about past and present achievements and the legends of players they have had. We have also researched the history of this club. 

For this information we found ideas from:

Celtic,, accessed 12th November 2015

Players,, accessed 14th November 2015

About Celtic,, accessed 11th November 2015


Celtic and the Irish Immigrants by Raymond and Bryan

Divided City is a book based on the culture of the Glasgow rivalry: the Celtic side and the Rangers side. Our inspiration to write this blog came from this touching and heart-pumping book. Our blog is based on the creation of Celtic F.C and  we chose this topic because it was humbling to know that Celtic F.C, one of the best clubs in the SPL, started from poor Irish immigrants…

The Irish immigrants that moved to Glasgow were really poor. They had to move because of the disastrous Irish Potato Famine. One of those immigrants was the founding father of Celtic F.C, Brother Walfrid. Brother Walfrid studied teaching at school. He joined the Marist Brothers group and moved to Scotland. He taught at St. Mary’s School and Sacred Heart School. He was also one of the founders of St. Joseph’s College, Dumfries before forming Celtic F.C.

Brother Walfrid moved from Sligo (a county in Ireland) to the East End of Glasgow. He saw that the Irish community were living in conditions only a tiny bit better than in Ireland. In Ireland everyone’s income came through agriculture. When the potato famine occurred, everyone was starving and child mortality rates were very high so that is why he wanted to help them. He came to Scotland trying to find a way to help his dying people.

Brother Walfrid created Celtic F.C to help the poor. He used Celtic F.C. to make money by winning competitions  to donate to his charity, ‘The Poor Children’s Dinner Table’. Irish immigrants were discriminated against because they were Catholic. Celtic F.C. helped all people that were discriminated against.

Brother Walfrid’s  charity also helped the unemployed, orphans and people in extreme poverty to survive and that tradition still remains today.

Brother Walfrid statue by Lynn M Reid [Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0]

Brother Walfrid statue by Lynn M Reid [Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0]

Brother Walfrid first established Celtic F.C. in St Mary’s Church Hall (it is situated at Abercromby Street in the Calton area of Glasgow) in 1887.

The first game that Celtic played was against Rangers in 1888. The final score was 5-2 to Celtic! In 1893, Celtic won their first Scottish Championship under the leadership of Brother Walfrid. it was their first league title and there were many more to come.

Celtic F.C., who started from nothing and helped Irish immigrants get a step up in life, have become one of the best teams in the SPFL and arguably  one of the best teams in the world. They have won so many trophies: their best achievement so far was winning the Champions League (or the European Cup as it was known then) in 1967. 


The Celtic Wiki  – 20/11/2015 – – 13/11/2015

60s Fashion by Caitlin and Grace

In English we have been looking at the book “The Fire Eaters.” This book was set in the 1960s. We have chosen 1960s fashion and it is very eye-catching. The swinging sixties was a time of change and fashion. The 60s was a time of bright clothes, polka dot dresses and hippies. The women wore lots of dresses with stripes, polka dots and big bold colours. At night in the 60s women wore nylon nightgowns. Men wore lots of suits and ties , flared jeans and crazy patterns. Twiggy was a very famous model from the 60s and was based in London. She had big eyes that stand out.

Twiggy drawing by Failuresque [Licence: CC BY 2.0]

Twiggy drawing by Failuresque [Licence: CC BY 2.0]

One famous designer was Mary Quant. She created some classic 1960s fashion including the mini skirt, coloured tights and plastic raincoats.

In the mid 60s was the beginning of the hippies. Their hair was long and free. They also wore bright colours and patterns. Some hippies weren’t very hygienic or clean.

In the 60s hair and makeup was a big part of fashion. Their hair had lots of volume. Some hair styles they had were beehive curls and buns. Also they found it trendy to wear ribbons. Another main thing in the 60s was makeup. Eye makeup was a big thing. They had cat eyes and smokey eye.

Jackie O was JFK’s wife. She was a huge inspiration in women’s fashion. Two piece suits with pencil skirt and tailored jackets were very popular along with the pillbox hat. Skirts became narrower as time went on.

Overall the 1960s was an important era for fashion. We still use the same makeup and hairstyles in our generation today.

One of our favourite quotes by Twiggy is “Being young isn’t about age. It’s about being a free spirit.” Also another one of our favourite quotes is “There’s no need to dress like everyone else. It’s much more fun to create your own look”. We like these quotes because they say that you’re free to dress like you want. You can have your own style and taste because everyone is different.


Apollo 11 Moon Landing by Anna, Regan and Ebony

In our class we are reading David Almonds “The Fire-Eaters”. We have been given the task of selecting an important event which happened in the 1960s because this is when the book is set. So we chose Apollo 11.

apollo11 tagxedo

“I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal before this decade of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth.”

Quote from president Kennedy from 1963.

This was the start of the space race between the Soviet Union and the USA to get a man on the Moon.

NASA started the race by holding an unmanned mission to test if the Moon was safe enough for humans. They did this by using animals. This was a success in a while later they decided to hold a manned mission test but this went terribly wrong. On January 27th 1967 a terrible fire broke out during a practice launch. Sadly the astronauts who were taking part died in this tragic accident. Two years later despite the set back they finally got where they wanted to be… the Moon.

Apollo 11 happened on the 20th of July 1969 at 9:37am when all eyes of the world were watching as they sent three men to the Moon. These men were Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins who was the pilot of the spacecraft.

It took them 12 minutes to get out of the Earth’s atmosphere, however it took them 76 hours to get to the Moon. At 4:17pm the craft touched down on the moon. They were five hours ahead of their planned time of Armstrong walking on the Moon.

“One small step for man one giant leap for man kind.”

These words were famously said by Neil Armstrong as he took his first steps on the Moon. 19 minutes after Armstrong took his first steps he was joined by his fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin and together they took pictures of the Moon’s surface and terrain, and planted the American flag in the Moon.

They did some scientific tests on Moon rock and took home 193 grams of Moon rock. With the help of the Houston Space Center’s amazing technology they were able to talk to President Nixon. Approximately they were on the Moon for 14 hours and both Armstrong and Aldrin were both back in the craft around 1 am on the 21st of July.

They left a plaque on the Moon saying,

“Here men from the Planet Earth first set foot on the Moon July 1969 AD. We claim peace for all mankind”.

At 12:56 am they began to make their descent to Earth eventually splashing into the Pacific Ocean.

We got all our information from:

Apollo 11,, accessed 22nd November 2015

Apollo 11, accessed 22nd November 2015

Apollo 11 Mission Overview accessed 22nd November 2015

Daniel & Sam- Joseph Stalin Dictatorship

The book we have been studying in our English class ‘Talking In Whispers’ by James Watson is a book which follows the journey of young man named Andres who rebelled against the Junta, the dictators of Chile. This sparked an interest in dictatorship which led to us researching information on the infamous Joseph Stalin.

Joseph Stalin formally known as Losig Vissarionovich Dzhgashvih was born on the 18th of December 1879, He was quite a small man at 5’4′ but this didn’t stop him being a ruthless leader. He got given the name ‘Stalin’ In Prison which means ‘Man Of Steel’. He was sent to Kutaisi Prison after coordinating an attack on the Rothchild plant in Butan. In 1929 Stalin became a supreme dictator, he sent millions to labour camps or killed them. In 1935 Stalin then started ‘The Purge’. This was a time where if somebody tried to compete against Stalin he would kill them, Stalin couldn’t be overthrown.

During the  Second World War Hitler tried to invade the city of Stalingrad (which Stalin renamed after himself.)  but Joseph Stalin defeated Hitler because he understood how important the weather was while planning battles in the cold climate of Russia.  Although he won on this occasion, he  still got 20 million people killed.

Although he was a ruthless and terrible man, there was a more cultured side to him. Stalin enjoyed movies- he had a movie theatre in each house he owned. He wrote lyrics to songs and also coached actors. He liked the pianist Maria Yudina so much he  insisted on obtaining a record of her performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23.

Stalin. Photo by Sek Keung Lo [Licence: CC BY-NC 2.0]

c Stalin. Photo by Sek Keung Lo [Licence: CC BY-NC 2.0]

HISTORY – JOSEPH STALIN accessed 23/09/15

Degreed – Top 10 Facts About Joseph accessed 23/09/15

25 Facts About Joseph Stalin You Probably Never Knew accessed 01/10/15

10 Joseph Stalin Facts You’ve Never Read accessed 01/10/15