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Astor Ballroom, Scariff, Co. Clare

The Astor Ballroom in County Clare opened its doors on Sunday, August 17th, 1947 with a dance which was advertised as being
held "in the New Cinema Hall, Scariff." At that time, the cinema/ballroom was the standard setup in rural Ireland.
A report from the opening night said the ballroom could hold up to 800 people, which was a good size back then, although nothing
compared to the big ballrooms of the sixties that could hold 3.000 people and more *although usually limited by their dance license
to crowds more like 2,000). Over ther next few years, the ballroom was described as the "Astoria Cinema and dance hall," and finally the Astor
Ballroom in 1948 on the occasion of the halls first anniversary. Like all the hjalls of this era, the Astor was the centre of social life in
Scariff: it showed the latest movies, drama and of course, dances. Through the next few decades, the Astor continued to function
as both a cinema and dance hall. In the late 60's it was running dances on a weekly basis. The last reference we can find to the Astor Ballroom for
dancing is in summer 1970 (see below). It had started running Country and Western dances, the last of which was held in August.
During the next decade, the ballroom/cinema was used for everything from auctions to drama festivals to public meetings but was consistently referred to
as the Astor Cinema. In June, 1977, the ballroom was put up for sale by public auction. It was referred to in a 1979 article as
Scariff's renovated Astor Club" but we can no other mention of the club. As latye as 2005, we found a reference to a staging of
Romeo and Juliet in the Astor cinema, but nothjing  since. As you can see from the Google Earth photo below, the Astor is still there
and appears to be still in use.






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