Unlike many of the large ballrooms of the
day that were built between or close by large towns, the Palm Court was
built far out in west Mayo nearly 40 miles from Ballina, the largest nearby
town, on the outskirts of Belmullet, a small town. The brainchild of the Mangan brothers
from Doohoma who had spent sixteen years in England working in the construction
industry, they returned home and bought the
land which was to originally include a hotel as well (which was never built).
Construction started in late 1970 and the ballroom was completed early the
following year. With a 4,000 square ft seating area and 2,600 sq ft maple dance
floor it was not the biggest ballroom in the West (a little over half the size
of nearby Pontoon), but given its location, it drew great crowds from across
north-western Mayo. The ballroom opened its doors on Easter
Sunday, April 11th, 1971, to the sounds of the late Jim Tobin and the Firehouse. Over
the years, the Palm Court did great business as one of the West's premier
ballrooms. Unlike so many of the ballrooms that were around when it opened
(including Pontoon), it managed to keep going; growing and changing to suit new audiences as
the years marched on.
In early 1994, it appears the last dances were held in the ballroom as there
were no more ads.
Then in mid-1995, the ballroom
was put up for sale (see below) and was sold in December 1995 to Havenway
Enterprises and one of the directors was Brendan Padden. The new owners invested
several hundred thousand and reopened
the venue after getting a
license to sell alcohol and renamed it The Web nite club. Limited by building
codes to crowds of 910 people or less, the club did a nice business for several years until the summer of 2005 when it
closed yet again.
A few years later the ballroom was purchased
by Frank Brogan Ltd and underwent a major renovation when the new owners invested €3.7 million to turn it into the Gateway Leisureplex
Centre which opened in 2009 complete with bowling lanes and many
other indoor entertainments. The photo below was taken from Google Earth in 2017
and the centre is still going strong.
In November, 2017, we received an email from original owner, Eamon Mangan, who
wrote to let us know he is still going strong, although taking it easy and
enjoying time with his grandchildren these days in Belmullet.