NW Showbands era remembered

Ivor  Doherty, on the left, and Johnny Moore, exhibition creator, pictured with Councillor John Boyle, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane at the recent launch the Showbands of the North West exhibition in Aras Cholmcille Heritage Centre.  DER1319GS-048
Ivor Doherty, on the left, and Johnny Moore, exhibition creator, pictured with Councillor John Boyle, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane at the recent launch the Showbands of the North West exhibition in Aras Cholmcille Heritage Centre. DER1319GS-048

An fabulous exhibition of photographs and memorabilia from the Irish showbands era of the 1950s, 60s and 70s was officially opened at the Aras Colmcille Heritage Centre yesterday, in the grounds of St. Columba’s Church, Long Tower. The exhibition will remain in place until Saturday, April 27th..

The exhibition is a fascinating insight into this genre of music which packed dance halls throughout the darkest days of N. Ireland’s ‘troubles.’

Sally Kennedy, on the left, Gillian Quigley and Catherine Moore pictured recently with Councillor John Boyle, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane, at the  launch the Showbands of the North West exhibition at Aras Cholmcille Heritage Centre.  DER1319GS-046

Sally Kennedy, on the left, Gillian Quigley and Catherine Moore pictured recently with Councillor John Boyle, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane, at the launch the Showbands of the North West exhibition at Aras Cholmcille Heritage Centre. DER1319GS-046

Eugene Quigley, the man behind the exhibition, said: “This is a fabulous way to not only celebrate the rich of the showband era but also our social history.

“There are many people across the north west who will have fond memories of the showbands and the exhibition will reignite memories of a time that many remember with great fondness,” He said.

“However I would also encourage young people and school groups to come along and learn about the showband phenomenon.”

Between 1957 and 1972 more than 500 showbands were active in Ireland, working up to five nights a week, playing in ballrooms, dance halls and marquees, to crowds, sometimes in excess of 1500.

Pictured at the recent  launch of the Showbands of the North West Exhibition, at Aras Cholmcille Heritage Centre,  are Seamus McGilloway, Eugene Quigley, Councillor John Boyle, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane , Johnny Moore, creator, Martin McGeehan and Ivor Doherty.  DER1319GS-044

Pictured at the recent launch of the Showbands of the North West Exhibition, at Aras Cholmcille Heritage Centre, are Seamus McGilloway, Eugene Quigley, Councillor John Boyle, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane , Johnny Moore, creator, Martin McGeehan and Ivor Doherty. DER1319GS-044

Local people will recall Gay McIntyre’s Showband, which travelled across Ireland and were highly regarded by dancers and musicians alike as being one of Ireland’s top five dance bands. Johnny Quigley’s All Stars, a big band with thumping brass arrangements, The Clipper Carlton from Strabane, known as the band who put the word ‘Show’ in Showband; the Melody Aces from Newtownstewart), The Dave Glover Showband and The Witnesses.

Visitors to the exhibition at Aras Colmcille Heritage Centre (formerly the Wee Nuns School, in the grounds of the Long Tower Church), are asked to make a donation towards the Aras Colmcille Centre which is managed by a group of volunteers who believe in preserving this great historic building.

Councillor John Boyle, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane, gets a coffee from Kathleen Doherty and Carmel McGilloway during the recent launch the Showbands of the North West exhibition in Aras Cholmcille Heritage Centre.  DER1319GS-047

Councillor John Boyle, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane, gets a coffee from Kathleen Doherty and Carmel McGilloway during the recent launch the Showbands of the North West exhibition in Aras Cholmcille Heritage Centre. DER1319GS-047

Martin McGeehan, on the left, and Seamus McGilloway pictured with Councillor John Boyle, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane at the recent launch the Showbands of the North West exhibition in Aras Cholmcille Heritage Centre.  DER1319GS-049

Martin McGeehan, on the left, and Seamus McGilloway pictured with Councillor John Boyle, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane at the recent launch the Showbands of the North West exhibition in Aras Cholmcille Heritage Centre. DER1319GS-049