Michael O’Connor pictured back in the showband era. A country music historian, Michael is looking for information from patrons who enjoyed the showband era of the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s and into the ‘80s.

Mayo’s Ballrooms of Romance documentary

COUNTRY music historian Michael O’Connor is looking for information from patrons who enjoyed the showband era, of which the Parke man was such a huge part.

Michael’s appeal comes on foot of an upcoming documentary by another great music man, and media personality, Henry McGlade, who is currently working on a documentary for his weekly television show on the popular iMayo TV channel. The show will be broadcast later in the year.

Mr. McGlade said the documentary will cover the glorious showband era, which was such a huge part of the social lives of those growing in what became known as the showband scene.

"Given Michael O’Connor’s great love of the showband scene, particularly his great friendship with the late Brendan Bowyer, I felt no documentary on the great bands would be complete without his contribution given his great knowledge of all the great bands who came to Mayo over three decades, when patrons danced in many of the great halls and ballrooms around Mayo," said Henry.

The documentary will look back at the ballrooms of Mayo and Michael would love to hear from any couples who met during the great showband era at the Round Tower, Turlough, and Pontoon Ballroom, which are both within Michael’s local parish boundaries.

Of course, the Royal Ballroom, Castlebar, was possibly the most famous venue for ballroom dancers during the '60s, '70s and '80s, while Westport’s Starlight Ballroom along with dance venues in Charlestown, Ballyhaunis, Tooreen and Belcarra were among the most popular during the great showband era.

The Marine Ballroom in Enniscrone was also a huge venue for those from the Ballina area in particular.

Sadly most, if not all, of those ballrooms are now gone – in some cases literally, with the buildings demolished – and this documentary is a tribute to those who enjoyed dancing at a time when the boys were on one side and the girls on the other side of the hall.

Said Michael: "I’d love to hear from people who attended Pontoon and Turlough dance halls in particular, where many romances blossomed in what was the great era of the showbands."

Michael can be contacted on (087) 2369356.

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