“Walfrid’s Boon” (125 Years of Celtic)


A BOON is a special gift, or favour … a blessing bestowed on individuals or communities in exceptional circumstances; and few, if any, are as wondrous as that bestowed by the Marist Brother ‘Walfrid’ on the afflicted Irish immigrant enclave in the East End of Glasgow in the late 1880’s … that boon was … and IS … “The Celtic Football Club”.

Our poem is to commemorate the origins, foundation and evolution of Celtic and we proudly publish it today, on the eve of  the 125th Anniversary of the meeting at which our club was founded.

It is a celebration of triumph over adversity; of how a displaced, suppressed population began to assert itself in a hostile adopted homeland, inspired and driven by the success of the great football club that rose and flourished in its midst.

It was written in homage to our ancestors in Celtic, many of whom were refugees of the Great Famine … ‘An Gorta Mór ’.

It is equally intended as an indirect tribute to victims of hunger, oppression and victimisation throughout the world, not least in Scotland, itself historically no stranger to such cruel injustices.


“Walfrid’s Boon”

Born of squalor … mouths to feed;

born to meet a mighty need;

Sligo scholar sowed the seed

– reaped a harvest,

launched a creed.

Symbol of Hibernia’s cause:

migrant generation lost.

Alba’s bounty, Erin’s cost

– Harp and Thistle,

karma crossed.

Ravaged by An Gorta Mór,

blighted still on Scotia’s shore;

abject underclass deplored

– godforsaken

enclave horde.

Branded, ridiculed and scorned;

shorn of dignity … forlorn;

bigotry their crown of thorns

– race discrimination


Brute affliction spawned a club;

fulcrum of their life … its hub;

of their soul the very nub

– roused their spirit,

raised them up.

Blessed in legend, steeped in lore;

all-inclusive open door;

oozing craic from every pore

– charity

the very core.

Quinn, McGrory, Larsson, Stein,

Maley, Lennon wove the dream:

icons of our ‘Grand Old Team’

– few of many,

ever green.

Sprawling saga, epic-strewn;

heart from generations hewn;

eulogised in verse and tune

– Hail ‘The Celtic’,

Walfrid’s Boon!

Copyright © 25thMay1967

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