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Royal Ballroom, Castlebar, Co. Mayo

When Patrick "Paddy" Jennings built the Royal Ballroom onto his Traveller's Friend Hotel in 1963, it was regarded as possibly the largest ballroom
in the country. It touted a "floor space of over 8400 sq ft," although it is difficult to ascertain whether that was the dance floor
or total floor space. The ballroom opened on December 20th, 1963 to the sounds of the Capitol Showband. For the next twenty years
it was the biggest and best ballroom in the West with all the biggest names week after week. Sadly Paddy passed away on August 6, 1967 and
his wife, Mary (who passed away in 2010) took over running the ballroom and hotel. Soon, their son, Pat, took the reins of running the operation
and continued to grow and develop the ballroom to new highs in the 1970's. In the early 80's, as discos and nite clubs
took over from the ballrooms, attendance at the Royal was on the decline and it appears to have stopped weekly dancing around August
1982. The ballroom was still used for major events such as concerts and the Castlebar Song Contest, but its days as a regular dance venue
appeared to be over. For the next 20 years the ballroom was in and out of use, but never actually "closed." Finally, Pat Jennings decided to
turn the venue into a Theatre and the old ballroom was more or less demolished (see photo below). The new Royal Theatre would open
in 2008 and since then has become a major international entertainment venue, the largest outside of Dublin.

2002-2017 GMS Productions

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