Grand Central Ballroom, Headford, Co. Galway
The story of the Grand Central ballroom,
although ancient history today (it opened in 1944). is a microcosm of what was
all across Ireland in the years after the Dance Hall Act of 1935 was made
law. The story makes for interesting reading.
Thomas Corbett was a 25 year old man who had lived in Headford all his life. His
mother own a pub in town and his father
built the ballroom at a cost of £1,250 to give his son "a start in life." He had
tried to get his license in December 1943 and was turned down
as there was already sufficient dance facilities in Headford (i.e., a Parochial
Hall). The local parish priest strongly objected to the granting of
the license, but the judge took an interesting view of the proceedings. Upon
questioning, the parish priest admitted that the hall ran dances
for charity, while the new ballroom would be for commercial use. Unfortunately,
for the priest, the judge decided the Act made no distinction
between dance held for charity vs. profit and this could not be considered in
making his decision.
As the new hall was more modern and "healthier" than the old parochial hall, he
had no choice but to grant the license to Mr. Corbett while
suggesting he could run some dances for charity and the Parochial Hall should be
let go "the way of all flesh." Interesting stuff.
Music on the opening night was P.J. Murtagh's Ballroom Orchestra. For the next
20 years, the Grand Central Ballroom
was the place for Headford dancers. We have tried our best to research the
future of the ballroom, but Thomas Corbett
apparently applied for his last dancing license in 1965. If you know more,
please email us.