End of an era for ball­room of romance

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS -

June 2000

FOR an en­tire gen­er­a­tion, the De Valera vision of an Ire­land which danced at the cross­roads was a real­ity, par­tic­u­larly for the scores who would flock to ‘Smyth’s of the Glen’.

But while this era has long since past, the fondly re­called lo­cal land­mark was fi­nally con­signed to rub­ble last week, when bull­doz­ers moved in to de­mol­ish the build­ing which had un­til re­cently housed a tyre repair and sales business.

The lo­cal land­mark at the junc­tion of Red Lane and the N11 was de­mol­ished by con­trac­tors, as part of the £35 mil­lion road im­prove­ment works be­tween Kil­macanogue and Glen of the Downs.

One of Ire­land’s cel­e­brated ‘ball­rooms of romance’ through­out the 1940s, 1950s and into the early 1960s, ‘Smyth’s of the Glen’ at­tracted dancers from far and wide, with vir­tu­ally all of the pa­trons get­ting to and from the venue by bi­cy­cle.

Ac­cord­ing to lo­cal man Tom Mulligan the venue was where many lo­cal ro­mances were started, as cou­ples be­came ac­quainted to the mu­sic of such per­form­ers as Jay Byrne, Johnny Ward, Christy Ward, Des Kin­sella and Mark Cana­van.

It was a venue which op­er­ated too with­out the dance li­cences which are now a vir­tual pre­req­ui­site of such so­cial oc­ca­sions - although a spe­cial ex­emp­tion was sought to sell al­co­hol at Smyth’s on St Patrick’s Day and St Stephen’s Day.

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