Coliseum / Danceland Ballroom, Portlaoise, Co. Laois
The story of the Danceland Ballroom actually
begins in 1943 when Portlaoise was spelled Portlaoighise. A dance license was
sought by local man, Joseph Kelly, for the hall which "was being put up at great
expense and would be one of the finest halls in the country."
The license was granted for dancing up to 3 a.m. (4 a.m. on the opening night).
The ballroom opened on Easter Sunday,
April 25th, 1943 to the sounds of "Tony Bannon and his Band (augmented)." For
the next two decades, the ballroom
functioned as the centre of town life including meetings, functions and
everything in between. The Coliseum held
its last dance on August 29th, 1962 hosting the Clipper Carlton, the showband
that started it all. A little over a month later
a news article reported the ballroom had been purchased by the Reynolds brothers
and would be renamed the Danceland
Ballroom. It was closed for several months for major renovations.
The sixth of the Reynolds' "land" ballrooms, the Danceland in Portlaoise opened
its doors on December 5th, 1962
with the music provided by the legendary Royal Showband. For most of the next
decade, the ballroom (like all the Reynolds'
ballrooms) had only the best bands for dancers. The demise of the ballroom is
difficult to state with any confidence.
On February 13th, 1970, the ballroom advertised Donie Collins playing. This was
the last advert we can find for the hall.
Then, a month later, on March 20th, Laois County Council looked for tenders to
demolish the twenty seven year old ballroom.
A few months later, an article appeared in the local paper announcing the plan
for the Portlaoise "link road" (bypass)
which would take Dublin to Cork traffic around the town and required the
demolition of the ballroom. Like so many others
the Coliseum/Danceland ballroom disappeared without so much as a marker to
commemorate its existence.