Embassy Ballroom, Derry, Co. Derry
In major cioties like Dublin, Belfast and
Cork, ballrooms were plentiful long before the showband era and the ballroom
blitz of the 1960's. In Derry, the Embassy Ballroom was one such establishment,
located on the third floor of 3 Strand Road in the
heart of the city. Tony Kearney (a local hotelier) was Managing Director of the
ballroom and the Embassy opened its doors
with a Gala Dance on the 31st of August, 1956. Music was by Stan Morgan
and the Embassy Band.
Unlike the ballroom scene just a few years later, in the 1950's (especially in
the big cities), dancing was six nights a week
to the same resident band. In fact, in the early days of the Embassy, the bands
that played there would actually be more
widely know as the ballroom as when they toured, the fact that they were from
the Embassy in Derry was newsworthy in and of itself.
Ken Austin, Louis Conn and Stan Morgan were just three of the bands that
entertained the audiences in the Embassy in the
late 1950's. In 1957, the BBC started broadcasting live from the ballroom from
9:45 to 10:15p.m. featuring Ken Austin's band.
Just as the showband era got rolling in January, 1963, the Embassy Ballroom
caught fire and was basically destroyed (the roof caved in).
However, the ballroom was rebuilt and continued through the sixties and into the
1970's running a variety of dances and
concerts with everything from country to International pop. The Embassy changed
with the times and featured showbands and
acts like the Small Faces in 1968. We can't find any information about the
Embassy until the late 1990's when the ballroom came
back as Fusion club for teens. A look at their Facebook page shows no entries
since 2013. If you know any more
about the Embassy, please let us know.