Wednesday, 9 May 2018. Mr Oliver Loughran: Local dances in the 50’s and 60’s
Probus Vice-President, Oliver Loughran, was member of a local dance band during the 50’s and 60’s and has many memories. He recalled how males and females arranged themselves on opposite sides of the dance floor and it was the task of the dance band to get the lads across the floor to get things going. The answer was usually an old-time waltz. Dancing in parochial halls was mainly on a Sunday night – when the pubs were officially shut. In most cases that only applied to the front door with ready access round the back, but you had to be quiet ! As times moved on commercial ballrooms began to appear in the rural west. One of the first was the Gap Ballroom in Mullaslin, near Carrickmore. Large by local standards it lasted only a few years before losing out to newer venues with a drinks licence and meals, the Royal Arms being a good example. The dance bands of the day had to be in tune with political leanings of the management, it being customary to play an anthem at the end of the evening – either “God Save the Queen” or “The Soldier’s Song”. Another custom of the day was for a young man to say to a girl, “Save the last dance for me”. In the conversation which followed Oliver’s talk, one member recalled asking a girl for the last dance early in the evening, only to be told, “You’ve had it”.