RTE Introduces Love Story series with Ballroom Romance
Edited from RTE Press Release from Katie Lincoln, RTE
RTE Television 1: September 14th @ 7:30 p.m.
Before Internet dating and text flirting,
courting-to-marriage ritual had a stricter etiquette. From dancehalls to
amateur dramatics, An Oige to Macra Na Feirme, "respectable" romances usually
blossomed under the watchful eye of the local parish priest...though you might
get away with a sneaky snog on the way home!
"Love born in an earlier era" is the subject of RTE
Television's Archive Unit's new six part series, Love Story. The series
traces stories of love that have endured the test of time, social change, and an
evolving Irish society, back in the days when a "date" meant going to the hop or
After parental approval and a respectable courtship which
could last years, the typical wedding would be at 8:00 a.m. with the bride
wearing her best suit. The honeymoon might be spent touring Naas; the starter
home could be a room with no furniture; and young fathers would be shocked at
the idea of being present at the birth of a child.
series will air for six consecutive Wednesday evenings from the 14th of
September through to the 19th of October at 7:30 p.m. on RTE 1. The programmes
blend RTE archival footage with couples' recollections of their first meetings,
courtship, marriage, and lives together since. Still very much in love, the
couples' banter bounces off each other as they relate stories of romance, tough
times, a different morality and their secrets for keeping the magic alive.
The first program is called "Are You Dancing," and features
three couples that met in the heyday of the ballrooms in the 1950's and 60's.
Despite the parish priest patrolling the dance floor to put a decent distance
between amorous couples that were dancing too close together, the dancehall was
the place for young love in the 1950's. Although the couples met in different
places, their stories are remarkably similar as they convey the innocence of the
was men on the one side and woman on the other, " remembers Christy Perle. "We
has a great view of the good looking ones down the hall."
The real action, though, was on the way home. Noeleen, now
Christy's wife of 50 years, wasn't sure if Christy was the one to escort her. "I
asked him where his friend was," Nancy laughs, "and he said he was at another
dance in Trim, and Christy had a motorcycle, so I asked him if he would take me
to the other dance. He said No!" That walk home--the first of many--sorted our
Not that much could happen. "You left the girl home to the
door, you didn't normally go into the house," Joe Beausang recollects of a more
innocent age. "The temptation was there if you were in the house on your own and
you may end up bringing the relationship further than you intended. And that was
before marriage was a "mortaller" in the sin scale according to Nancy, who found
out to her horror that sex could remain a sin after marriage. "If you had sex
and you practised contraception, it was against your religion," she says. Which
meant regular trips to confession.
The series provides an interesting look into a by gone era
that last throughout the period we call the "showband era." If you met the love
of your life in a ballroom, jiving to the strains of Big Tom, close dancing to
the crooning of Dickie Rock, or "hucklebucking" to Brendan Bowyer and the Royal,
you will enjoy this trip down memory lane. Although most of the footage used of
the dancehalls was shot in the early sixties (vs. the 1950's), the show has done
a great job capturing the innocence of the era through the recollections of the