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How Ireland learnt to party: The rise and fall of the Showbands

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Showbands : How Ireland Learnt to Party. BBC 4. 

Ardal O Hanlon  provides a fascinating reflection on the growth and success of the uniquely Irish phenomena of Show Bands from the 1950’s to the late 1970’s. on BBC4

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Like Northern Soul it sprang up from a grass roots movement  that sought some escapism from  a drab cultural and social monotony .  Initially  under the watchful eye of the church’s North and South of the border but quickly hosted by an array of dance halls that were built  in the 50’s and 60’s to meet this demand.

 

There were reported to be up to 600 Irish Showbands at their peak playing across the country to packed halls of up to 2,000 people.  The programme acknowledges the financial boost to the Irish economy on both sides of the border .

‘Every band and their followers would need a suit, a van , the women a hair do’ and a dress, and drinks. It was  a £6. million pound industry.

( I guess the same could be said of the Soul scene at its peak)

It crossed the Irish Sea to the Irish communities in the UK . The bands also for many years were able to bridge the sectarian divisions and may even have become more necessary for people to escape the horrors of  The Troubles.’. This came to a tragic  end when the most popular Miami  Showband were victims of a Loyalist Paramilitary attack in 1975 which saw 3 members killed. It heralded the end of an era and both the bands  and the dance halls came to an end. 

Declan closes with  "above all else .. .. It was just a bit of fun”.

 

You can catch it on BBC i player .

 

https://www.radiotimes.com/tv-programme/e/hr6rkh/showbands-how-ireland-learnt-to-party/

 

 

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A good watch. I used to live in Cricklewood and remember The Galtymore which got a mention in the programme. I'm off to West Hampstead tonight for a St Patrick"s day event and a couple of pints of Guinness.

 

Edited by autumnstoned

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Sad to see the demise of so many of those Irish venues. I used to work at The Irish Post Newspaper in London and while the Irish migrants from the 50's and 60's gradually moved out of the traditional Irish enclaves, it was great to see so many new Irish pubs open up.  Fortunately, the Irish music scene continues to thrive. Happy St. Patrick's weekend everyone!

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12 hours ago, autumnstoned said:

A good watch. I used to live in Cricklewood and remember The Galtymore which got a mention in the programme. I'm off to West Hampstead tonight for a St Patrick"s day event and a couple of pints of Guinness.

 

My father in law said the Galtymore was nicknamed Jurassic Park because you could meet all sorts of animals in there. 

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