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Happy memories: Why I’m singing the praises of the singing pubs




So I’m flat out killing myself at work, (that’s a big fat lie), when Joe, a regular caller for the chat (although I don’t know his surname) brings me in a box full of old tapes. As I go through them, I find myself back in the great days of the late 1970s and early ‘80s, when the ‘singing pub’ craze was at its peak, and when Bradley’s in Creggs, Dowd’s of Glinsk and Mrs Quinn’s in Glenamaddy were just three of the local ‘must go to’ places every weekend.

  As I rummaged through Joe’s discarded and unwanted tapes, I came across a couple of long-forgotten names…Two’s Company and Anna McGoldrick. They may not be known any more, but they, amongst many others, brought absolutely massive crowds to Bradley’s when they appeared there in the golden era of the singing pub, creating a level of excitement we can hardly imagine today.

  It was in 1977 when the singing pub arrived in Creggs. When Kevin Bradley opened his doors, we had never seen anything like it. Having bought Mrs. Tommy’s a little while earlier, he proceeded to build a state-of-the-art pub, capable of holding three or four hundred people. When Sonny Knowles performed on the opening night, it was the start of a few never to be forgotten years.

  Joe Cuddy, Mattie Fox and Misty, and the legend that was and is Brendan Grace – all of whom were among the top cabaret acts in the country at the time – all took to the stage in Bradley’s. For a period during those years it was not uncommon to have to park hundreds of yards outside the village, so big were the crowds that used to come to see the headline acts.

  A few miles down the road, Dowd’s was packing them in every weekend in Glinsk, and later we also had a slightly smaller but very busy singing lounge in Creggs, Seamus Keane’s. Further afield, Keane’s in Cloonfad, the Four Ps near Boyle, Bernie Mac’s in Ballygar and the Blu Kuku, near Kiltevna, were other singing lounges of great renown.

  Exactly when the craze of the singing pubs began to fade I’m not sure but, as with the carnivals, it’s an era that we will never forget. I know a lot of people will not believe it now, but on a summer’s evening it was not uncommon to have up to ten or twelve bar staff flat out in Bradley’s, making sure the large crowds were fully looked after. It has often been said that the other five pubs at the time in Creggs were all full as well. It certainly was a wonderful time for entertainment, and in fairness we enjoyed it to the full.

  I’m now full of nostalgia, so whether they like it or not, the next people into the shop will be listening to Two’s Company, Anna McGoldrick and Sonny Knowles – and I’ve just found a Brendan Grace tape, so they will have to listen to him as well.


Tribute Night for the late great Big Tom


Well-known radio presenter Julie Healy tells me of a big tribute night to the late great King of Irish country music, Big Tom, which is taking place in Mannion’s Bar, Glenamaddy on Friday, 28th of September.

  There is a huge night’s music and craic planned. This is just a sort of preliminary notice. I will fill you in on all the details over the next two weeks, but make sure you put it in your diary, and wherever you are you can take the four roads to Glenamaddy and pay tribute to the great man.

  Our own local Big Tom soundalike Mattie Clarke will, I’m sure, be practising over the next week or so, and getting ready to perform on the night, and you can look forward to hearing him and many more musicians and singers in action.


A story that reflects poorly on our society


A story in today’s (Monday) papers about an experience the Mayor of Galway had is unsettling. The Mayor came to the assistance of a young girl who was being assaulted by a man, who claimed to have a knife. The Mayor got a punch in the jaw for his trouble, but got no help from several onlookers. The episode asks serious questions about the type of society we now live in.

  According to Niall McNelis, there were many people in the immediate area, including a number of men, but instead of trying to help, they took out their mobile phones and started to film the incident. Only one woman made any intervention, by ringing the Gardai, who were on the scene within a few minutes. A man was later arrested.

  I know the general advice is not to get involved in any nasty altercation, but surely when there was only one attacker some of the men should have come to the assistance of the good Samaritan, and, instead of filming the incident, actually done something about it.

  The truth is that the men who did nothing, particularly if they were young and healthy, should be ashamed of themselves. As I say, it asks serious questions about the sort of society we have become.


And finally…


Finally for this week, we are almost finished with our door to door ticket selling for this Saturday night’s dance in Dowd’s in Glinsk, and as I reflect on almost three weeks on the road, two things stand out. Firstly, the wonderful welcome we all received on every doorstep and the support so willingly given by the people of the parish, for which we are all so grateful, and secondly, the number of people who either directly or indirectly have been helped by one or the other of the two chosen charities.

  Cancer Care West is there to help cancer patients and their families, and to provide every possible type of support including residential care in Inis Aoibhinn, its residential facility, in the grounds of University Hospital, Galway, and it’s amazing how many of our own neighbours and friends have availed of its services.

  The same applies to the Lourdes Invalid Fund which, every August, brings a number of pilgrims to the French Marian Shrine. For all those people, flights and accommodation are all paid for by the monies raised through such fundraising efforts as our annual dance.

  As I told you last week, Jimmy Kearney and The Lancers are rearing to go, we have a load of prizes for the raffle, and we have a very generous door prize – a dinner voucher for two to the value of €100, courtesy of the Abbey Hotel. So all we need now is for you all to come along, have a few trots around the floor, and make it a night to remember. Looking forward to seeing you there.


Till next week, Bye for now!


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