End of an era for ballroom of romance
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.