Saturday, 15 June 2013

A Forgotten Story plus The Top Ten Most Popular Blogs of 2013

Ballyshannon Musings  has had  thousands of hits  worldwide and shows  that there is a keen interest in the local history of the area. The stories have proven to be very popular and below are listed the top ten blogs as voted by the readers who have selected them most frequently.

From Emigration to Florence Nightingale

The most popular blog so far in 2013 based on readers' selections is called "Farewell to Ballyshannon". The story reflects the number of people both and home and abroad who are affected by emigration from the Ballyshannon area. The fire which destroyed much of Market Street in 1849 also attracted a wide audience. Eamon DeValera's election rally in the Diamond was very  popular.

The fastest rising blog of the year was  "The Ten Local Visitor Attractions of Bygone Days" .  Great interest in the early days of drama in the area. Two recent blogs on an unusual legal case and Bundoran a seaside resort in 1839 attracted a lot of hits. Ballyshannon 400 will feature in a week of events in early August for the Gathering. Imprisonment and exile to Van Diemen's land was keenly followed as was the blog with links to Florence Nightingale and other local events.
Top Ten Most Popular Blogs
    1. Farewell to Ballyshannon
    2. The Worst Fire Ever in Ballyshannon in 1849
    3. Eamon De Valera's Late Late Rally in Ballyshannon
    4. Ten Local Visitor Attractions in Bygone Days
    5. Early Drama Groups and Ballyshannon Playwrights 
    6. The Most Unusual Legal Case Ever in Ballyshannon
    7. Bundoran a Leading Tourist Resort and Scene of a Hurling Match 1839
    8. Ballyshannon 400 
    9. Ballyshannon Imprisonments, Whippings and Transportation to Van Diemen's Land
    10. Masters, Murders, American Wakes and a Local Link to Florence Nightingale.
     Check up on any blogs you have missed and also other popular stories in the archive from 2012-2013. Pass on to your friends at home and away and introduce them to Ballyshannon Musings. 
    A Forgotten Story

    I posted a blog called "Dancing and "Sitting Out" in Cars in 1935" which for some unknown reason disappeared from the archive. It is printed again for new readers of the blog and others who may have missed it. It surely was a different world in 1935.

    Dancing and “Sitting Out” in Cars in 1935

    Our parents and grandparents enjoyed dancing and relationships just as much as our generation. Yet looking back to the 1930s in Ballyshannon, Bundoran, Rossnowlagh, Ballintra, Kinlough and surrounding areas there were strict regulations as to when and where they could dance and the activities they could engage in, such as that of courting outside dance halls. The regulations operated by the courts reflected Catholic teaching, promotion of the Irish language, concerns over drinking and underage dancing. Looking at the regulations below I’m sure we never thought our parents and grandparents were dancing until 3 a.m.

    Justice O’ Hanrahan addressed the issue of dance hall licences at Ballyshannon District Court in September 1935.The conditions set out below reflected a concern for Catholic Church services in the manner in which licences were granted. The conditions also favoured maintaining Gaelic culture by insisting that 20% of dances should be Irish dancing.

    Strict Rules for Dancing in the 1930s

    Justice O’ Hanrahan and his colleague Justice Walsh set out the following conditions for dance hall licences:

    • Long dances to be not later than 3 a.m.; short dances to terminate not later than midnight.
    •  No dances to be held during Lent, save one short dance in St. Patrick’s Day.
    •  No long dances on any Saturday or the eve of a holiday of obligation.
    •  The times of dances were not to clash with divine services in the area.
    •  No long dances without notice to the sergeant in charge of the nearest Garda station.
    •   “Sitting Out” in motor cars strictly forbidden.
    •  At least 20% of the dances to be Irish.
    •  Where facilities for dancing were provided at any parochial hall, no other building in the locality to be licensed. 
    •   Nobody under the influence of drink to be permitted to bring intoxicating liquor to any dance. 
    •   People manifestly too young not to be permitted to attend dances.

    No Sitting out in Cars Allowed

     Captain Ramage, a Ballyshannon solicitor, questioned the ability of the dance hall proprietors to control the activities of people in cars. He also wished for the justice to be a little more explicit on the area of concern about sitting in motorcars. The justice was having none of it and said that dance hall proprietors had a responsibility outside their premises. They should take the names of people sitting in cars and pass them on to the Gardaí. One is left to wonder how effectively this regulation was implemented and what actions, if any, were taken against those who broke the rule? Those were the days. Captain Ramage lived at Laputa on the Knather and had his solicitor's practice on Main Street opposite the Imperial Hotel. Justice O Hanrahan lived on College Street in a house now occupied by Anthony and Mary Daly. 

    A New Local History suitable for those at Home and Away
    Anthony Begley, local historian, published a new book entitled: "Ballyshannon. Genealogy and History" which reveals newly researched history and genealogy of the town, extending as far as the Rossnowlagh, Cashelard, Corlea, Clyhore, Higginstown and Finner areas. Includes the parishes of Kilbarron and Magh Ene.
    The genealogy material provides detailed guidelines for anyone tracing their roots in the area or anywhere in County Donegal or Ireland. The book contains 500 pages and is richly illustrated with stunning colour, aerial photography, original illustrations and rare photographs of the area not seen before.

    Topics include: How to go about Tracing your Roots/The first settlers in the area/ Newly researched history of the town of Ballyshannon and the townlands in Kilbarron and Mágh Éne parishes/ Records of the first travellers and tourists to Ballyshannon, Bundoran, Belleek and Ballintra/An aerial guide to place names along the Erne from Ballyshannon to the Bar/Flora and Fauna of the area/ A history of buildings and housing estates in the locality/Graveyard Inscriptions from the Abbey graveyard, St. Joseph’s and St. Anne’s /Rolling back the years with many memories of the Great Famine, Independence struggle, hydro-electric scheme, Gaelic games, boxing, handball, Boy Scouts, soccer, mummers, characters, organisations, folklore and lots more.

    Book Available from The Novel Idea Bookshop Ballyshannon, Ballyshannon and District Museum, The Four Masters Bookshop Donegal Town or Anthony Begley West Rock Ballyshannon.  Enquiries welcome for postal and other details.

    The blogs are original and are not taken from the book above.

    Ballyshannon Musings:  Good to hear that people from the Ballyshannon area are enjoying the blog worldwide. Please let people with an interest in Ballyshannon and surrounding areas know about this site, particularly people who are not living locally and those who are abroad. The site is called Ballyshannon Musings and there are a number of back issues available on the internet. Copy this link and it can be googled at The site can be located on the internet (or by connecting to my Facebook page). New items will be posted every week on Ballyshannon Musings during 2013the year of “The Gathering”.

    Lots Happening for Ballyshannon 400 Gathering Events

    Check a recent blog to read about  what happened in Ballyshannon  400 years ago. Ballyshannon will have lots of interesting events to commemorate this event and it would be an ideal time for our diaspora to be here for some or all of Ballyshannon 400 from 5th-11th August when there will be daily events of a historic, cultural and community nature. In the lead up to Ballyshannon 400 visitors will be in town for the Ballyshannon Folk Festival which takes place from the 1st to the 4th August also for a Dedication Service and weekend events to commemorate the Erne Fishery Case  on 3rd and 4th of August. A future blog will discuss the victory in 1933 won by the people in what has become known as The Erne  Fishery Case .

    Check out the events/venues you might like to attend later in the year including Ballyshannon 400 on

    Next Blog posted on Saturday 22nd June " The Games People Played in Bygone Days"

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