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 A Billy or a Dan                           
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Are you a Billy or a Dan,  a Protestant or a Roman Catholic,  a bluenose or a jungle jim
a hun or a tim, a proddie or a fenian, a Rangers man or a Celtic man, dae ye kick wi yer right foot or yer left foot, or the best one a remember from my schooldays ...are you a pie or bridie !!

I was at a dance many years ago when a man leaned over to his missus and said "Big Tam's wife's a Shettleston Harrier"  Oh said his missus "she disnae look like a runner " ( Shettleston Harriers being the local running club)  "Naw! Naw!" he said...." Shettleston Harrier...a tarrier!"
[ Tarrier being another term used for labeling someone who is a Roman Catholic. In this case letting the company know watch your Ps & Qs, no offensive jokes ]
Or the wee quiet nudge and dig, then a whisper in the ear..." he's no' wan ae us "

Aye ......are you a Billy or a Dan ?
I am sure everyone from Brigton and everyone from Glasgow knows and has heard that question.
It matters not a jot to me now, older, wiser.......we are all Jock Tamson's bairns etc.
But as a young boy brought up and living in Bridgeton, my memories are ..yes we were Billy's or Dan's

I had a great wee pal, we played every day together, then came the time to go to school, we were both five...I crossed the road to the local school he walked the other way to a different school. 
Mmmm we both thought...he's no wan ae us!. Thankfully it didn't affect our friendship we walked about together wearing our teams colours Rangers and children....later on of course it got a bit more serious.
he local Primary schools used to meet at dinner time to throw bricks at each other, groups and cliques were formed and often your religion determined which group or clique you joined.

There are Rangers and Celtic Pubs, there is even one
 pub in Bridgeton, where the Protestants used to stand 
at one side of the bar and the Roman Catholics  the other trouble just banter!
The morning after the battle o the Boyne, King Billy comes across King James crying his eyes oot. "Whits wrang wi ye Jimmy" Billy says. "Whit dae ye mean, ye gave us a right tankin yesterday" "och" said Billy  "don't worry aboot it, it'll all be blown over by the morning!
You leave school, start work and the foreman asks "are a Billy or a Dan ?
........right you come wi me the other boy, Paul, he can go wi Mick!"
It later turned out that the best education I received was at work.  Meeting people from all backgrounds and creeds quickly realise, who you get on with and who you don't get on with, has nothing to do with whose the Billy, or whose the Dan.........   
Aye dae ye kick wi yer right foot or yer left foot ?

Why are Roman Catholics sometimes called 'left-footers' and Proddies 'right-footers'?

THE answer lies in the rich folklore of the humble spade - and provides a good illustration of the inadequacy of calling a spade 'a spade'. The saying turns on a traditional distinction between left- and right-handed spades in Irish agriculture. It has been used as a figure of speech and often, sadly, as a term of abuse to distinguish Protestants from Roman Catholics: 'He digs with the wrong foot.'
Most types of digging spade in Britain and Ireland have foot-rests at the top of their blades; two-sided spades have foot-rests on each side of the shaft and socket, while an older style of one-sided spade had only one. Two-sided spades may well have been introduced by the Protestant 'planters' in the sixteenth century. By the early nineteenth century specialised spade and shovel mills in the north of Ireland were producing vast numbers of two-sided spades which came to be universally used in Ulster and strongly identified with the province.
One-sided spades with narrow blades and a foot-rest cut out of the side of the relatively larger wooden shaft continued in use in the south and west. The rural population of Gaelic Ireland retained the Roman Catholic faith and tended also to retain the one-sided spade and 'dig with the wrong foot'. In fact, the two-sided spade of Ulster was generally used with the left foot whereas the one-sided spade tended to be used with the right foot. Instinctively, the 'wrong foot' of the Roman Catholics has come to be thought of as the left foot.
The figure of speech has now been extended to kicking with the wrong foot.


......are you a Billy or a Dan ?  ( were the 'Dan' derived from )
Anyone who knows the history of green and blue must be aware that both clubs were indeed good friends for the first decade of their history, hence Old Firm; that Rangers signed Roman Catholics at first; and that the chief rival for both of them in their early days was Clyde FC.
It was really only in the early 1900s when Billy and Dan from Ulster moved to Glasgow and took a hand - egged on by an anti-Catholic press, it should be said - that the sectarian chasm opened up.

(This article refers Ulster Irish incomers, Billy as a proddy name and Dan as a Catholic name - it may be as simple as that.)
DAN, prop.n. A nickname for a Roman Catholic (Gsw. 1975). Also Danny boy, after the well-known song (wm.Sc. 1975).  *Gsw. 1958 C. Hanley Dancing in Streets 22:
A Billy or a Dan or an auld tin can?

[Familiar form of Daniel, a common name among Roman Catholic Irishmen]
 Many however believe the reference to Roman Catholics as 'Dan'  comes from Daniel O'Connell,  known as "the Liberator,"  He was born on 6 August 1775 near Cahirciveen in County Kerry and was educated in France because as a Roman Catholic he was unable to go to University in Britain. He returned to Ireland, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in Dublin in 1798.
He built up a highly successful practise as a lawyer and dealt with many cases of Irish tenants against English landlords. During the next two decades he was active in the movement to repeal British laws that penalized Roman Catholics because of their religion. Catholics were barred from Parliament but O'Connell became the leader of the battle to win political rights for Irish Roman Catholics.
In 1823 he organised the Catholic Association, which played an important role in the passage of the Catholic Emancipation Act in 1829.  As head of the Catholic Association he received a large annual income from voluntary contributions by the Irish people (the Catholic Rent of 1d a month) who supported him in a series of demonstrations in favour of Irish Home Rule.

Bigot ?
Pastor Glass's enemies branded him a "bigot", but he gloried in the description: "In the days when Protestants were burnt alive by Roman Catholic priests, the reformer would say: 'By God's grace we will not give in to false religion. By God's grace we will stand for Jesus and contend for the faith'," Pastor Glass explained. "Papists started to call them bi-Godites. Over time it became bigot. This is not a badge of shame he said."

We somehow went tae separate schools, the Catholics and Proddies and different rules.
They brought us up tae take a side, Celtic or Rangers but never the Clyde.
It was in the playground they set the scene, if you wur Orange or if you wur Green.
To remain impartial you hadn't a hope.....if it wisnae King Billy it wis the Pope!

Extract from the book 'Oot the windae'


There is nothing surer to evoke Glesca folk than .....are ye a Billy or a Dan.
Witness extracts from my GlesgaPals Message car
Billy or Dan messages


Billy or a Dan .

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