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These lines, of unknown provenance, are amongst the earliest recorded examples of shinty or stick and ball play in Gaelic verse.They provide a tantalising glimpse of shinty perhaps being played in an urban environment, given the reference to “sràid” (street), possibly in the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries.
The author recounts how three thousand people (Gall, or Lowlanders) viewed the match, which was attended on Christmas Day by “more than a thousand Highlanders with a piper at their head.” Gach uair a rachadh am ball a thadhall, ghabhta sgailc de Mhac-an-Tòisich, agus dh’èirigheadh a’ phìob sìth rè tamuill.
The following verse possibly relates to shinty in Glasgow.
The words “cùl na sràide” (the back of the street) certainly imply a city setting.
However, the most definite reference to shinty in the 1600s with respect to Glasgow, appears to be amongst the games forbidden on Sunday by the decree of the Kirk Session of Glasgow on April 24th, 1695.
In the 1700s, shinty was clearly a favourite with the Scottish Lowland university students.