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Garrafrauns Carnivals
Carnival PosterCarnival PosterThe Garrafrauns carnivals which were held annually from 1955 - 1962 are remembered with fondness by both locals and dancers from further afield. John Coleman organised the carnivals from 1955 - 1960. He was succeeded by Frank Kilgarr

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iff who organised the 1961 carnival, while Fr. Cribbin organised the 1962 carnival. Initially held in Christy Reddington's field (now the site of Jimmy Nestor's house), the carnivals took place in the pump house field for the final two years. Local lads who helped erect and take down the marquees were admitted free to the carnival for the duration.

Patrons travelled by bicycles in the early years and then by car from surrounding villages. Such was the popularity of the venue dancers came from Glenamaddy, Milltown, Ballindine, Cloonfad and Tuam. The carnivals took place usually each August and sometimes at Easter, for a seven to ten day period. Takings for the season ranged from £300 - £350. Dancing took place from 8 pm - midnight, with libation available from the mineral bar.

The dancers who ranged in age from 18/19 years to those in their 50's and 60's, strutted their stuff waltzing and doing the Siege of Ennis and Foxtrot, as they competed for spot prizes for the best dancers. If they were unsuccessful here, all was not lost as they had a chance to impress in the fancy dress competition. Sometimes up to 800 dancers travelled to the marquee on a good night, paying from four to eight shillings depending on the reputation of the band. As many of the bands travelled long distances local ladies prepared tea and sandwiches for them before they took to the stage.Poster 1958Poster 1958

Bands which played in Garrafrauns included The Stephen Garvey Orchestra from Castlebar which charged the equivalent of £20 per night, Mattie McDonagh ( The Black Diamond Orchestra), Claremorris, ( £12 per night), Jack Ruane, Ballina, ( £l 5 per night), Andy Hennessy, Kilbeggan, ( £25 per night), Johnny Flynn, Tuam, ( £l 8 per night). Jimmy Kerins, Ballindine, ( £12 per night). The Swingtime Aces, Kilkerrin, ( £l 5 per night), Ollie Maloney, Tuam, (£12 per night). Silver Seven Dance Band, Drogheda,  (£l 5 per night) and The Bandits, Tuam, (£12 per night).
Other popular acts were Des Kelly and Quicksilver, Turloughmore, Paddy Benson, Limerick; Jimmy Rohan, Tralee; Bobby Rogers Orchestra, Kildare; The Dixietones, The Paramount, Tuam; The Rhythm Stars, Kevin Woods and his orchestra, Drumshambo; Des Jenkins and his Orchestra, Cavan; The Premier Aces; Patricia and The Castaways, Mick Delahunty; Brose Walsh, Ballina; Chick Smith, The Flying Aces, Drogheda and Johnny Brady, Hollymount.

Brian Grace with Marquee n the backgroundBrian Grace with Marquee n the background


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