At the junction of Byres Road and Great Western Road, within the former Kelvinside Parish Church you can find Òran Mór, a restaurant and event venue. Òran Mór is Gaelic for ‘great melody of life’ or ‘big song’. Designed in 1862 by architect John James Stevenson, who had made architectural tours of Italy and France and aspects of the design, reflect this.
The spire of the church is described as an Italian Gothic Pyramid and is said to be the first to show a markedly foreign influence in Glasgow.
In the upper venue space within the church, at the top of the tall pillars, some interesting carved figure heads from the history of the Reformation can be seen. The sculptures feature the famous Swiss figure from the Reformation Huldreich Zwingli, the Germans Philip Melanchthon and the German monk Martin Luther who began the reformation with the publication of his 95 theses, the French theologian John Calvin, the Dutch figure Desiderius Erasmus. There is also a figure of John Knox, the Scot who moved to Geneva, met Calvin and led the protestant reformation in Scotland and fellow Scots Andrew Melville and Chalmers are also featured – more details here: https://oran-mor.co.uk/history/
The church famously features a ceiling painted by the writer and artist Alasdair Gray over a ten year period. The ceiling has been described as “Glasgow’s Sistine Chapel”.
The eight bells in the church spire were cast at Whitechapel Foundry in London. They were gifted to the church by Mr Nicol Paton Brown, whose son died in World War 1. A bell at Oran Mor is still rung on Remembrance Day, the 11th November at 11am every year. To hear the bell please click here.
The inscription about the bells over the door to the spire reads as follows:
Walking Route Instructions: We now head one block down Byres Road and turn right into Loudon Terrace where we will see Kelvinside Hillhead Parish Church.