You dancin’? You askin’?
Catch up on Will Leahy’s radio documentary about 50 years of the Irish disco
Did you know that the Irish disco reaches the grand old age of 50 in 2015? It would appear that the notion of folks going out to dance to recorded music rather than bands first appeared back in 1965. As we learn from Will Leahy’s radio documentary, From Dance Hall Days to Boogie Nights – 50 years of the Irish Disco (an hour-long show which aired on RTE Radio One last week), there are several contenders for the title of first Irish disco.
Leahy gathered together a range of operators, onlookers, observers and talking heads to provide a fast-paced, colourful and detailed account of how the Irish disco went from there to here. The documentary focuses largely on the late 1960s and 1970s and those seeking insights into the more recent history of Irish clubs may wonder if the show run out of time. Per Leahy, the original plan was to make a longer, two-part documentary, though this was nixed in favour of getting everything into one hour to avail of a plum New Year’s Day timeslot.
You’ll find my preview feature on the show here, Mick Heaney’s review of the documentary is here and it’s well worth reading this superb guest post from the OTR archives by Paul Tarpey (who features extensively in the programme) on the early days of Irish discos. And, of course, you can listen to the show here. If that’s whetted your appetite for more Irish club culture lessons, check out Aoife Nic Canna’s six part Folklore from the Dancefloor series below