A saint called Mungo

A saint called Mungo

[Oct. 2023] On our short trip to Scotland, on the last day we took a walking tour of Glasgow.

It started at 10:30am from George Square.

George Square in Glasgow, Scotland
the tour started at George Square

Our guide, a lady named Liz, spoke clearly and was easy to understand.

Without following them in order, I would like to summarise the stories that left an impression on me.

There is the magnificent City Hall facing George Square and apparently there are two tours of the interior of it in the morning, and it is said that it is worth going.

We would like to do that if we have an opportunity.

Then we went around the building and Liz talked about the coat of arms in the courtyard.

the coat of arms at the city hall is made up with St. Mungo related things
the coat of arms at the city hall

The coat of arms is made up of a combination of birds, trees, bells and fish, all said to have been brought back to life by Saint Mungo, the patron saint of Glasgow.

It was the first time I have ever heard of this saint.

Saint Mungo was born in the early 6th century and lived for nearly 100 years.

Of the things that were brought back to life, Liz shared an interesting anecdote about the fish.

A king suspects his wife of infidelity and demands to see her wedding ring.

The king knew that the queen had lost her wedding ring.

The queen implored St. Mungo to help her.

St. Mungo and his mother depicted on the wall in Glasgow, Scotland
St. Mungo as a baby and his mother

The story goes that St. Mungo caught a fish from the River Clyde and found a ring in its belly.

I don’t know if the suspicious king and his queen lived happily ever after.

There was a large mural a short walk from the city hall.

This is a masterpiece by an artist called SMUG, and it is a painting of a mother holding a baby.

This woman is an unmarried mother, which was not allowed in the past.

She was persecuted and almost killed, but she barely survived and gave birth in a convent where she ran.

And the child she gave birth is Saint Mungo.

On the other side of the same building was a mural by the same artist depicting St. Mungo as homeless.

a lamppost with the decoration of St. Mungo related things
a lamppost near the cathedral

Both are characterised by their portrayal as people living in modern times.

They are 2016 works.

By the way, this building is made of red brick.

During the Industrial Revolution, it began to be used as a cheap material, and many factory workers were crammed into it.

Now it is actually trendy.

Liz said, “Two of my daughters bought flats in this kind of buildings.”

The lampposts near Glasgow Cathedral are also decorated with objects brought to life by St Mungo.

For me, he is a saint I had never heard of until this day, but I think he has a strong presence in the hearts of the people of Glasgow.