When I was Young (OK, stop sniggering back there. I was young once. Maybe not last week… I think it was the one before that! 🙄 ) The Four Provinces was a dance hall at the top of Harcourt Street in Dublin. I know I was kinda discouraged from going there. It later became the TV Club and somehow the place became more acceptable then. Add to this the Crystal Ballroom and the Olympic on the south side of the city. On the North side you had the Ierne, the Town & Country and the Irish Club. All the top bands in Ireland at the time played these venues. The Royal, Dixies, Capitol, Miami, Drifters, Cadets and Freshmen.
Do you remember Brendan Bowyer’s Hucklebuck? That put a stop to the dancers moving anti-clockwise en-masse round the floor. The bars in the dance halls had no licence and served milk and Club Orange….. Can you believe it?
When the pubs closed the crowd swelled with men stinking of drink, some seemed to have forgotten the ‘little woman’ at home minding the kids. They also took us single girls for goofs, not realising that removing the wedding band left a lighter patch of skin on the finger.
The girls lined up on one side of the dance floor all bouffant hair and five cans of hairspray, pale pink lipstick that suited nobody, and skirts with a hundred layers of scratchy net to make them stand out.. It was to make the skirts stand out not the girls! 🙄
The guys on the far side dressed in jacket and tie, eyed up the talent, while shimmering mohair suits were all the rage on stage for the guys doing funny step routines as they played.
I hated those dances and only went occasionally to stop people nagging me. Dublin in those days had seven women to every man, so what chance did a very skinny freckled lass have of being asked to dance. When it came to the slow numbers a fellow wanted something soft to smooch with and not a bag of bones! At least if any of my brothers or their friends turned up I was sure of a dance.
So many dances back then ended with ‘Goodnight, Godbless and Safe Home’ followed by the National Anthem.