Belfast Telegraph

Ireland's dancehall of fame: Photographer publishes images music heyday

By Tony Allen

A fascinating new book is throwing a fresh focus on the booming Ulster and Irish music scene of the 1960s.

 

As a new generation of stars were born, photographer Michael O’Reilly, who worked for showbiz magazine Spotlight, enjoyed a front-row seat.

And his newly-published collection of more than 300 pictures - ‘Dancehall Days’ - captures all the big names of the time like the Royal, The Clipper Carlton, The Miami and The Dixies showbands and folk singers like The Dubliners and Johnny McEvoy.

He was also on hand when international visitors like the Everly Brothers, Bing Crosby and Tom Jones came to town.

Wherever the stars and their legions of hysterical fans went, Michael followed and some of his best shots were taken behind the scenes of RTE’s hugely popular Showband Show.

evocative

A spokesperson for publishers Gill & Macmillan said: “This is a wonderfully evocative and a faithful record of how it was.

“This book is a must have for anyone whose hey-day was spent in the dancehalls of the 1960s.”

n Dancehall Days is available on Amazon and bookshops now priced £26.99.

 

 

Concert promoter Jim Aiken with Welsh star Tom Jones at a New Spotlight reception in the Television Club, Harcourt Street, Dublin, June 1967.

 

Derrick and the Sounds showband from Omagh, at the Crystal Ballroom, South Anne Street, Dublin, September 1968.

 

Muriel Day from Newtownards with her husband, band leader, Dave Glover after winning the fifth Irish National Song Contest, February 1969.

 

The Hilton Showband from Newry on RTE Television’s Like Now, Donnybrook, Dublin, March 1969.

 

Clodagh Rodgers, from Ballymena, on RTE, Donnybrook, Dublin, March 1969. Rodgers came fourth in the 1971 Eurovision Song Contest with ‘Jack in the Box’.

 

Dana at Ballykelly with her music teacher, school musicians and members of her family, after winning the Eurovision Song Contest in March 1970. 

 

Country music singer Brian Coll from Omagh now backed by his own band the Buckaroos in a photo shoot for his album cover, Apil 1970.

 

SNAPS: Michael O’Reilly

 

YOUNG FAME: Dana at Ballykelly with her music teacher, school musicians and members of her family, after winning the Eurovision Song Contest in March 1970 

 

LOCAL STARS: The Hilton Showband from Newry on RTE Television’s Like Now, Donnybrook, Dublin,

March 1969

 

BIG STARS: Concert promoter Jim Aiken with Welsh star Tom Jones at a New Spotlight reception in the Television Club, Harcourt Street, Dublin, June 1967

 

SOUNDS GOOD: Derrick and the Sounds showband from Omagh, at the Crystal Ballroom, South Anne Street, Dublin,

September 1968

 

WINNERS: Muriel Day from Newtownards with her husband, band leader, Dave Glover after winning the fifth Irish National Song Contest, February 1969

 

ON THE RIGHT TRACKS: Country music singer Brian Coll from Omagh now backed by his own band the Buckaroos in a photo shoot for his album

cover, April 1970

 

SIXTIES STARLET: Clodagh Rodgers, from Ballymena, on RTE, Donnybrook, Dublin, March 1969. Rodgers came fourth in the 1971 Eurovision Song Contest with ‘Jack in the Box’

 

FASCINATING: Michael O’Reilly’s brilliant book

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