Streete Parish Park’s social dancing kicks off at 9.30pm until roughly 12.30pm, with a break at 11pm. This gives everybody a chance to grab a well-deserved cup of tea and a snack and catch their breath before they begin to dance once again.
LIVE COUNTRY MUSIC is arguably the most popular form of public entertainment in rural Ireland today. This is largely due to the likes of singers such as Nathan Carter, Mike Denver and Declan Nerney to name but a few along with some popular stage shows on TV which have all reinvigorated the art of social dancing as a healthy, vibrant, and enjoyable way to socialise and meet new people. Streete Parish Park has hosted many events over the years and has never been short on new ideas and indeed it can be said that Streete Parish Park’s hard-working committee has crafted and hosted many new ventures that others have followed. Our first night of social dancing took place in Streete Parish Park, on Friday night 16th June 2017 to the lively sound of Andy Feery. Andy a one-man-band entertained a well-attended crowd at our Community Centre, which was the first of many nights to follow. Since that night, we have had a social dance on the third Friday of every month with popular names playing from across the country.
Dancers are drawn to our large floor space and our easy way of going on. Our line-up of performers of both male and female artists are booked a year in advance. All of whom fill our hall with a great variety of music and dance steps to suit all tastes or what I’d say is real good ‘Get out and dance music!’. We try to cater for everyone. You don’t need to have fancy moves, be a skilled dancer or look cool on the floor. Everybody gets out on the dance floor and enjoys themselves!
Streete Parish Park’s social dancing kicks off at 9.30pm until roughly 12.30pm, with a break at 11pm. This gives everybody a chance to grab a well-deserved cup of tea and a snack and catch their breath before they begin to dance once again. The all-important raffle is held at the break before the revellers hit the floor for the last hour. It really is heart-warming to see people coming from a wide area chatting, laughing and having fun and just as importantly looking forward to the next dance night in Streete Parish Park.
A Brief History Of Social Dancing
Looking back at a brief history of social dancing in the Streete area: Dancing was a very important social function back in the days before television and radio become popular, when a small group of people would meet up at a crossroads like the cross in Lisryan, Lismacaffrey, Boherquill or Streete on a fine evening. The chat, banter and goings-on of the local area would be discussed and some fine tall stories and tales exchanged from parish to parish. We more commonly call this today a social get together. Before the evening light would fade and armed with whatever instruments the local musicians had at hand at the time (usually a fiddle, mouth organ, whistle, or accordion) the dance would begin. It was at these great social meetings first love often filled the air and lasting relationships blossomed. It would be fair to say, so many kindred spirits owe a debt of gratitude to the crossroads dance.
However, time has moved on from the céilís at the crossroads. A new phenomenon was evolving, the strict- dance- tempo of the 1950s which was heavily dominated by traditional Irish music was quickly losing flavour with Irish teenagers who were demanding more from their church hall than four walls, a stage, a cup of watery tea or a mineral bar.
We then seen the 1960s bring great musical changes, not just locally but all over the country. People especially those under ’30 were getting more connected to the outside world as our immigrants returned home on holidays informing them of the great social changes of faster and newer styles of music abroad, promising to send home new music leaving every teenager anxiously watching for the postman to arrive with the latest LP or 45 single records from family or friends in England. This new experience meant more and more people were getting a liking to the new rock n’ roll from the US and the UK, reflecting the changing tastes. This new upbeat rhythm and blues with pop music aimed to get people dancing.
A new Ireland with a younger more fashioned listening audience was now emerging, the days of the crossroad dance and someone sitting on a ditch lilting had long gone, replaced by radios and with most home affording a TV. A new dawn was breaking and The Irish Showband was born. The trend to socialise had moved to the local pubs and although it may not have found approval from church leaders or the older generation, who frowned upon women drinking, laughing and having fun in a public house. This new evolution was quite a culture shock to the narrow-minded thinking of the past and this unstoppable move, which was happening before their very eyes.
The swinging 60s and the mad moves of the 70s saw people in Ireland find their own voice from listening to new songs on the radio and the imagination that you too could be an up and coming star. With our very own Dana, a wee girl from Derry winning the Eurovision song contest showing other countries that Ireland was no longer lagging behind. New showbands with the aid of new upbeat musical instruments and sound boxes were forming at an alarming rate, with more and more people driving motor cars, it was a nation on the move. The local county newspapers like the Westmeath Examiner and Longford Leader were now in big demand with people wanting to see who was playing where and what new voices were on the scene. The local area had now become a very small place as cars filled with music lovers travelled great distances to see and hear new bands, with pubs often running short on space for revellers to dance.
A new inspiration quickly spread across the country with some publicans realising the lucrative need to accommodate these new music trends, so down came walls and new buildings were added to what was once a small grocery bar and shop, it was now established as lounge bars with a trendy name. These new music Lounge bars advertised with alcohol licenses were also the first chance for people to experience a new wave of up-and-coming bands which were getting off the ground. Dancehalls were sprouting up in bigger towns with bands advertising 5 nights a week.
Sadly, less than a decade after it had begun, the bright lights of the showbands were starting to fade. The brutal killing of the Miami Showband in 1975 hastened the decline in popularity of the showbands and by the early 80s discothèque were now drawing the crowds from the rural areas. This was detrimental to the rural publicans and by the mid 1990s the lounge bars were falling silent with only the occasional social night taking place mainly to support a local funding event.
Time has moved on. We listen to what the people say and what kind of music they want to dance to and to tell the truth the people have never been wrong yet. We are delighted to be part of the local history and we hope you will come and enjoy a night of great social dancing with us in our community centre in Streete Parish Park. We don’t aim to reinvent the wheel but we do aim for you to enjoy your time with us and be part of the next chapter of our history.