Offaly people feature prominently in a new book edited by Clara's PJ Cunningham recalling the halcyon days of the showband era, which was launched this week.
From The Candy Store to the Galtymore chronicles the 1950s to the 1970s in rural and urban Ireland through the stories of the young men and women who religiously went to their local Ballroom of Romance each weekend.
The book echoes an era of social and cultural uprising in Ireland as the country began dancing the weekends away to the sounds of showbands in newly-built ballrooms.
It was the time of Joe Dolan, Brendan Bowyer, Dickie Rock and Butch Moore and wherever they played, the crowds followed.
Birr natives Eileen Casey (Cordial) and Brendan Mulhern, Edenderry resident Mary O’Connor and Clara brothers Ed and PJ Cunningham (who is also one of the book's editors) all give accounts of their dancing days and nights.
In addition, New York-born Peter Nolan, whose father hails from Clara and was a great Offaly and New York footballer of the 50s and 60s and Frances Browner, who spent her youth holidaying in the Ferbane-Cloghan area, also give vivid and incisive accounts of their exploits on the dance floor.
Co-editors PJ Cunningham and Dr Joe Kearney trawled the country over the past year to bring Ireland’s showband stories together in one book.
The book, which is dedicated to music man extraordinaire Clara's Ricey Scully, also contains two hilarious stories rolled into one by the former Twiggs and Crackaways member concerning The Singing Nun and U2.
It is available all over the country from this week and is published by Ballpoint Press.