Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Garden Fete and Fancy Dress Parade of 1945

The Garden Fete and Fancy Dress Parade 1945

The Fancy Dress and Garden Fete was one of the  highlights of the social life of Ballyshannon in the not too distant past Keep a close eye on the results of the Fancy Dress below, also  the choir members, dancers and actors who performed in Ballyshannon in 1945, as  some are still very well known in the town in 2012. Others will be recalled with affection. The Garden Fete and Fancy Dress Parade was an annual occasion when the community came together, dressed up, performed, enjoyed the fun and raised  needed funds for local charities. Over 600 people attended the Fancy Dress and Garden Fete at the rear of P.J. Stephen’s premises on Wednesday 25th of July 1945. (The site is occupied by the Saimer Court Shopping Centre today.) The parade commenced at the Courthouse  and led by the Ballyshannon Brass and Reed Band  under Eddie Lynch bandmaster, made a circuit of the town. The Courthouse mentioned  is now  the Tyrhugh Centre on the Mall.

On arrival at the venue the large crowd were entertained to an open-air concert. Members of Frank O’ Donovan’s troupe opened the concert,  followed by choruses from the pupils of the Convent schools who sang “ A-Hunting We Will Go” and “Away to the Woods”. Those participating were: Misses M. Lawn, K. Liddy, B. McGovern, D. Stewart, B. Cooney, M. Slevin, C. Lynn, H. Gallagher, C. Lawn, N. Curran and A. McGovern. Ms. Rose Daly, Erne Street, recited, “Biddy’s Trip to Cork” and “ Biddy at the Pictures.”  The pupils of Finner School, under Mrs. Dundas, their teacher, performed a sketch entitled, “Heads and Heels” The cast were: Misses Joan White, Doreen Regan, Hazel Barr, H. Hamilton, and Masters Noel Hamilton and Ronnie Moorehead. Finner School also performed a Maypole Dance with; J. White, D. Regan, H. Barr, H. Hamilton, Sally McClelland and Peggy Hunter. Ms. Maureen Slevin (later Maureen Kane), West Port, performed  song and tap-dancing numbers. Thomas and Margaret Gallagher from Bishop Street sang, “ If you ever go to Ireland” and “The Rose of Arranmore”.

Prizewinners in the Fancy Dress 1945

Adults: Most Topical- Tyrolean Pair- Maureen Slevin and Blaithnaid Stephens.
Most Original- Curly Wee, Polly Parrot and Cuthbert Colt- B. McGill O.S., P. Maguire O.S. and R. Grehan.
Funniest- “Summer 1945” Patrick and John Stephens.
Special award to “Modern Transport”- Michael McDonagh, Rose Daly, Annie Breslin, Dympna Duffy, Teresa Bromley.
Children: Prettiest Costume- “Hawaiian Pair”- Anton and Eugene Noonan.
Most original- An tUachtaran agus a Bhean- Helena Gallagher and Herbert Bromley.
Funniest- “ A Dutch Pair”- Sean and Kathleen Tiernan.
Firms- “The House of Stephens 1834-1945”- L.McGrath, B.McIntyre, K.McShea, L.Kerrigan, J.McDonnell. H.Campbell, G.McCarville, M.McCloskey, B.Loughlin and B.Stephens.
Best Decorated Bicycle- Celine Kennedy.
Tiny Tots- Prettiest- Margaret McShea as “Lady Pompadour”
Most Original- John Holmes as “An Erne Schemer.”
Funniest- Cecil, Aidan and Liam Stephens as “The Big Three".

  • Next week’s local history blog will describe Christmas shopping in Ballyshannon in 1889. Please tell your friends and particularly those away from home that this local history blog on Ballyshannon can be accessed online with a number of back issues available.

New Local History Book: “Ballyshannon Genealogy and History” by Anthony Begley details the history of the Ballyshannon area in the 19th and 20th centuries. Contains 500 pages with much material on tracing your roots, includes many rare images and modern colour aerial photographs of the area. Available in The Novel Idea Ballyshannon/The Four Masters Bookshop Donegal Town or can be ordered on line from anthonyrbegley@hotmail.com Price €25 softback plus postage if required.  Enquiries welcome. A limited number of hardbacks also available.

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