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The Quay Road Hall on Ann Thus complying with the terms of the

Street Ballycastle. Charitable Trust of 1895.

The original Quay Road Hall was The hall quickly became a popular
opened in February 1933 by Lady venue for local social events such as
Boyd who supplemented her original dances and drama productions put on
gift of the land in 1895 by a donation by local performers. One group, ‘The
of £10 towards the hall building fund. Snowdrop Band’, was formed by the
retired Misses Miller of Whitehall to
The late Hugh Alexander Boyd, who recite poetry and produce plays.
specialised in the history of the
Church of Ireland parish of Ramoan, During the war years when
wrote that the land on which the hall Ballycastle was host to servicemen
is built was vested in the Diocesan from home and distant shores, the
Board of Education by a deed dated American servicemen, in their well
11th November 1895. The terms of tailored uniforms (everyone was a
this document established a perpetual General), held dances in the hall twice
trust for “certain particular charitable a week. This is where Ballycastle first
objects”, namely an infant’s school. got to hear the American ‘Big Band’
sound for real, learning the latest
In 1911 a new non-denominational American dances while mixing with
secondary school replaced the infant’s Canadians, Belgians and soldiers from
school until it too was re-located. an assortment of British regiments.
Rental income for the school premises
had accrued and it was decided that Troops were stationed all around the
this fund could be used to build a hall. town. The Americans employed local
The Diocesan Board of Education craftsmen to add buildings at their
agreed a hall could be built and base at Corrymeela, which they then
fundraising activities with individual called “Camp Holiday”. Many of the
donations soon filled the building
fund.
By 1933 the hall was completed,
providing a venue, in the Diocesan
Education Board’s words “for every
form of parochial activity that can be
directed for the moral physical and
spiritual uplift of our young people.”
troops were here for training at to be one around), while the vocals
Magilligan Strand preparing for the had an easy lyrical style the audience
D-Day landings. In the first hour of could join in with. A typical
the landings on Juno Beach 1,000 Showband set could include anything
young Canadian soldiers were killed, from ‘My Way’ to Love me Tender
including many who had stayed in but also include traditional local songs
Ballycastle. like ‘I’ll tell me Ma...’.
After a busy wartime the next players One of the most successful Irish
in the hall’s musical history were the Showbands was The Indians, formerly
“Showbands”. People came on foot, Casino. They were a very colourful
by bus, tractor and train to see their group of seven or eight performers
favourites at the Quay Road Hall. who dressed in Native American
Dick Greer managed the hall and got outfits and adopted Indian stage
his pal at the Flamingo Ballroom in names. Their play list featured
Ballymena to sign acts for Ballycastle, ‘Indian’ songs, some of which were
even big names such as Englebert ahead of their time, songs like
Humperdinck and the Rolling Stones. “Cherokee People, Cherokee tribe.....”
which highlighted the history and
The pop music of the time was
plight of the tribe in modern day
dominated by America. There was
America. The remainder reflected the
‘Swing’ (epitomised by Frank Sinatra
pop charts of the day which together
and Dean Martin), ‘Country’ (Tammy
with their stage presence has
Wynette, George Jones) and ‘Rock
maintained their popularity to the
and Roll’ (Elvis Presley, Beach
present day.
Boys), but with few of these acts
visiting Ireland, the Showbands Those days are best summed up in
stepped in to do their own versions of these memories of one, not so young
the hits of the day. Armoy man who was a regular at the
hall.
Their sound was much more relaxed
than the more brash American’s. The “Youngsters used to walk, aye walk for
main set-up was a core rhythm section
miles from the country places even the
of electric guitar, (then still a new
fangled thing), bass and drums Glens, to get to the dances. If they were
providing a steady ‘clap along’ 4/4 lucky they might get a ride home on a
beat with accordion, saxophone,
bus goin’ back to Ballymoney. They’d
trumpet and piano (if there happened
pick people up on the way in, at places Begley and Susan McCann that always

like Dervock and the Dry Arch. got the boys attention.

The bands were a great attraction in There’s many a boy slept in a hayshed

them days. The “Indians”, “Brian Call too wet or too tired to walk home, only

and the Buckaroos”, even the “Rolling to wake up the next morning scratching

Stones” played on the Quay Road on himself with the mites all over his legs.

the way from the “Flamingo” in


I wonder what happened to “the Dixies,
Ballymena to “the port” and then on
John Glen, the “Cotton Mill Boys” and
into Donegal.
Dicky Rock? No doubt they’re like me

We had the “Miami Showband”there sitting by the fire somewhere dreaming

once, they were great. Peter Sharp and of those great nights driving an oul’ van

the two big Kieleys from Coleraine kept through black country lanes to a tin hall

the door, boy they were busy that night. in the middle of nowhere, passing the

youngsters in the glimmer of your


There was great music from some of
headlamps as they hasted there way to
the local boys too. The “Glen Country”
hear you play. Boys I always loved the
boys from Armoy, Paul, Harry and
sound of a saxophone on a winter’s
Barney Mulholland with Malachy
night.
Laverty. Then there was “Fiddling” Tom

Cameron, Jo Dolan and “the Drifters” The Quay Road Hall was my favourite

and the “Glenville Country Band”. in those days, that place would be full

to the doors and there would still be


Mind you the best two bands ‘round
more of them dancin’ outside. Aah them
here were “Big Tom and the Mainliners”
was the days!”
and the “Dave Glover Showband”, they

were the girls’ favourites. Then of

course it was the voices of Philomena