The golden era of showbands set to return to Shanagolden

Crystal Swing are one of the acts who will appear at the showband show in Shanagolden Hall on June 21, a throwback to the days and nights of yore
THE Ballroom of Romance returns to Shanagolden later this month with a star-studded trip down memory lane.

THE Ballroom of Romance returns to Shanagolden later this month with a star-studded trip down memory lane.

For one night only, some of Ireland’s biggest names of the showband scene will gather in the hall in Shanagolden for a stellar night of music and dance.

The three-hour extravaganza, on Friday, June 21, will feature Louise Morrissey, the legendary Paddy Cole, Loraine McDonald and the Conquerors, country western star Ray Lynhem, Shaun O’Dowd and the ever-popular Crystal Swing.

The idea behind the showband show of June 21 is to recreate the heady days of the showband era when the hall in Shanagolden was a mecca for dancers but also to help raise funds to develop the proposed new town park.

Built mostly through voluntary labour, Shanagolden hall opened its doors on July 11, 1950 with Kevin Flynn and his orchestra performing on stage. Over 600 people passed through the doorway paying five shillings a head that night. Over the following decade,

Shanagolden became one of the most popular and successful ballrooms in the Limerick area attracting big bands such as the Clipper Charlton from Belfast. But it was the Royal Showband with Brendan Bowyer and Tom Dunphy which broke all attendance records: 1000 people gained admission and the exit doors had to be opened at midnight.

But when competition came from Dromkeen, Mallow, Newcastle West and Cruises in Limerick, Shanagolden’s popular-ity waned. And it was only the arrival in 1968 of Fr. Martin Madigan which brought renewed life back into the hall. The ballroom re-opened and the Saturday night dance became a popular fixture, with. Donie Collins and his band from Askeaton, Mick Delahunty and his orchestra,, The Miami with Dickie Rock, Joe Dolan and the Drifters, The Big Tom and Mainliners, Maurice Mulcahy and his orchestra, Joe Mac and the Dixies and The Big 8 all contributing to some wonderful nights of entertainment and dancing during the 1970s.

From the late 1970s on however, the showband scene changed again, as music moved into lounge bars and dancing moved from Shanagolden Hall to discos and clubs.

But all these memories and more will be revived on June 21 and to help recreate the era, the hall has been give a spruce-up. Tickets for the show cost €25 and there will be a licensed bar on the premises.

The event has been organised by Shanagolden and District Community Council, with a big input from the Roche family, to help pay the costs of developing the park now named after Capt Tim Madigan. Plans are already underway to develop a walkway around the ten-acre site and the second phase will include the building of changing rooms and bathrooms.

Book your ticket now if you want to make sure of your place in Shanagolden on June 21 at 087-6400064 or 087-2298735 or 069-60780.