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End of era as ballroom demolished - Oct. 27, 2005

By Kathy O’Sullivan

THIS week marked the end of an era in Killorglin as one of its most famous landmarks ‘The Oisin Ballroom’ was demolished almost 70 years after it first opened its doors.

Famous throughout Kerry, The Oisin Ballroom attracted people to its dances for almost 40 years and it was also the building where the first sound film was shown in Killorglin in September 1938.

The late Michael Houlihan and his sons built the ballroom on Iveragh Road in 1938. Work began on February 25 and the builders worked late hours to ensure it was completed in time for Puck Fair on August 10.

It was the first ballroom in Killorglin to have a Maples Spring Floor and its owner Patrick Duffy Shea also built dance halls in Glenbeigh, Castlemaine, and Glin in Limerick.

The crowds flocked to ‘The Oisin Ballroom’ and it was particularly busy during Puck Fair when thousands came to the dances held there.

Only three of the ballroom’s builders are still alive, Patrick and Michael Houlihan and Michael McMahon.

Patrick Houlihan recalled this week the huge crowds that attended the dances and films at ‘The Oisin Ballroom’.

“It was a wonderful achievement to build such a hall in 1938 as there was no machinery or concrete mixers then. The people in the town had a great interest in it and we worked late hours to make sure it got finished in time for Puck Fair,” he said.

“The first talking film was shown there in September 1938 – ‘Three Smart Girls’. I remember you could buy minerals and cigarettes. The ballroom’s popularity began to decline after the CYMS hall was opened in 1954. It has been closed down for past 16 years but there is no doubt there is a part of Killorglin’s history gone with the knocking of ‘The Oisin Ballroom,” he said.

A spokesperson for the AIB confirmed this week that the bank had bought The Oisin Ballroom and would be building a new bank on the site.






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In Loving Memory of Grant Gallagher: Sept. 21, 1990 - Nov. 18, 2006