Dancehall Days – 2011

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Dancehall Days

The Dancehall Days exhibition is part of the ‘People’s History of Galway Project’ currently under development at Galway City Museum.  This exhibition looks at an era in Irish history when the shackles of the fifties were being cast off, as mass emigration slowed, and Lemass’ Ireland opened itself up to the wider world. To add to the showband collection, the museum staff are now looking for a loan of that ‘special dress’ and a pair of shoes that would have been worn out to a dance at Salthill. According to contributors to the exhibition a common custom would be for sisters to share the same pair of dancing shoes, with one sister leaving them in a hole in the wall for the other to collect on her way to the dance.

In a time before MTV and mass media, showbands represented major stars such as Brendan Bowyer, Butch Moore and Dickie Rock. Better still, these big names were accessible on a Sunday night at the ballroom (dances were not permitted on Saturday nights as the youth of Ireland were expected to be fresh for Mass on Sunday morning).

Galway musician, Jimmy Higgins, who was central to some of the leading showbands of the time, such as The Raindrops and The Millionaires, is now lending his famous trumpet for this special museum exhibition. Along with his two brothers, Paddy (drummer), and Francieᶧ (who played saxophone), Jimmy is fondly remembered by all those who attended the many dances throughout Galway.

The Dancehall Days exhibition will form a central part of the display of social history on the first floor and Jimmy’s trumpet will be on show, as well as many other objects relating to the swinging sixties and the showband era in Galway.

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Dancehall Days

The Dancehall Days exhibition is part of the ‘People’s History of Galway Project’ currently under development at Galway City Museum.  This exhibition looks at an era in Irish history when the shackles of the fifties were being cast off, as mass emigration slowed, and Lemass’ Ireland opened itself up to the wider world. To add to the showband collection, the museum staff are now looking for a loan of that ‘special dress’ and a pair of shoes that would have been worn out to a dance at Salthill. According to contributors to the exhibition a common custom would be for sisters to share the same pair of dancing shoes, with one sister leaving them in a hole in the wall for the other to collect on her way to the dance.

In a time before MTV and mass media, showbands represented major stars such as Brendan Bowyer, Butch Moore and Dickie Rock. Better still, these big names were accessible on a Sunday night at the ballroom (dances were not permitted on Saturday nights as the youth of Ireland were expected to be fresh for Mass on Sunday morning).

Galway musician, Jimmy Higgins, who was central to some of the leading showbands of the time, such as The Raindrops and The Millionaires, is now lending his famous trumpet for this special museum exhibition. Along with his two brothers, Paddy (drummer), and Francieᶧ (who played saxophone), Jimmy is fondly remembered by all those who attended the many dances throughout Galway.

The Dancehall Days exhibition will form a central part of the display of social history on the first floor and Jimmy’s trumpet will be on show, as well as many other objects relating to the swinging sixties and the showband era in Galway.


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Galway City Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday

Visitors will have access to both the ground floor and first floor galleries.  The second floor will remain closed until the new Sea Science exhibition works have been completed.  Admission remains FREE but TICKETS will be an essential requirement. By clicking BOOK TICKET on this page, visitors can choose from one of four daily time slots, 10am; 11.30am, 2pm and 3.30pm. Tickets will need to be presented as a printout OR on your mobile phone at the main entrance.  Visitors are asked to review the museum’s reopening guidelines on Eventbrite when making their booking.

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