A Good Friday for a secret booze-up

Some 2,000 revellers show for party in grounds of Glendalough House in Annamoe

Revellers on the razz at the Barn Dance festival at Glendalough House in Annamoe this evening. Photograph: Rory Coomey

Revellers on the razz at the Barn Dance festival at Glendalough House in Annamoe this evening. Photograph: Rory Coomey

Fri, Mar 29, 2013, 22:24

There is no day in the year an incorrigible party-goer dreads more than Good Friday.

The secularisation of Irish society has obliterated many things that made Lent a season of gloom, but the closure of the pubs and clubs on Good Friday has endured - and there is no sign of that changing.

The booze ban has not deterred the 2,000 revellers who turned up to the grounds of Glendalough House in Annamoe, Co Wicklow, this evening.

The Barn Dance festival was conceived as giving an option to those who don't want to spend Good Friday either at church services or at home watching reruns of Ben Hur.

The fans, overwhelmingly in their early 20s, turned up in the afternoon to board buses in Merrion Square for a secret location.

To a man and woman they bought the one thing that you cannot get anywhere in Ireland on Good Friday - booze, mostly cans, but also spirits and wine in plastic bottles, as glass was not allowed.

For a small festival, Barn Dance had an impressive line-up, most notably with this year's Meteor Prize winners Delorentos, but also The Riptide Movement and La Galaxie.

A rave was held in the stables of Glendalough House and a tent played host to the live music. There was four stages in all.

There was plenty of fairy lights and fake tan. It was like Electric Picnic except with snow on the ground outside, and the bars did not sell booze.

The Barn Dance nearly did not happen because of the snow of recent days - which would have made the roads impassable.

Joint organiser Jamie Deacy thought of the idea six years ago, but it started small-scale with 300 people and has been promoted by word of mouth.

"We used to always have our own parties in the house on Good Friday. That's where the whole idea came from."

The party goes on until 2.30am tomorrow.