Thursday Doors – Old Town Hall

Cavan’s old town hall features in this week’s Thursday Doors. It has recently been given a makeover and looks so much better. No longer the town’s administrative building it’s now the Town Hall Cavan Arts Centre, where courses and events in the arts are held.

‘Town Hall erected by Cavan Urban District Council W.A. Scott ARIBA Architect W. Callaghan and Sons, Bldrs L.C.P Smith, Chairman Thomas McGuinness, Clerk 1909’

One of my favourite sculptures in the town is right beside this lovely building and is set in a bed of roses. It’s such a joyful piece, it makes me smile every time I see it.

It is the work of artist Tina Quinn depicting a father and daughter dancing. This reflects the important roles that music and dance have always played in Irish culture. In bygone days, usually in summertime, young people would walk miles to meet up for a reel and a jig, often at a crossroads. Spontaneous bouts of music and dance would also occur at someone’s home if there was a fiddle player or tin whistle on hand. Even travel journals from the early 1800’s give accounts of how much the Irish ‘peasants’ loved to dance. One of the first references to Irish dance is in a letter written in 1569 by Sir Henry Sydney to Queen Elizabeth 1st of England, “They are very beautiful, magnificently dressed and first class dancers,” Sydney wrote of the girls he saw dancing enthusiastic Irish jigs in Galway.

In the newly independent Ireland of the 1930’s the government was greatly influenced by the Catholic church. This resulted in morality being very strictly monitored and eventually the Public Hall Dance Act of 1935 was brought in. This allowed dance gatherings to be regulated by introducing a licensing system and a tax on admission. It was basically a ban on groups of people gathering to dance in domestic and non-regulated places. Interestingly, contraceptives were also banned that same year. If you would like to read more about the history of Irish dance here’s a good link.

Thanks for joining me on this week’s blog post. For a great selection of Thursday Doors carry on over to Norm’s blog.


About Jean Reinhardt

Author of 'A Pocket Full of Shells' an Amazon International best seller, Jean writes young adult and historical fiction. She has been known to shed a tear over Little House on the Prairie.
This entry was posted in Art, Blogging, Cavan, Historical buildings, History, Ireland, social issues, society, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, Travel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Thursday Doors – Old Town Hall

  1. Thank you for this excursion, Jean 🙂
    Lovely to see an old place receiving some TLC.
    ‘and Sons’ on the inscription, how lovely, but not seeing this much lately…
    The Father-Daughter statue at the end is the cherry on top 🙂
    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ally Bean says:

    A beautiful building with plain but useful doors. Around here people join clubs to do Irish Dancing. It looks impossibly difficult to me. I like the statue very much. It is happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I took a few lessons as a child but didn’t like the teacher, he was very cross and impatient so I gave up. As an adult I learned to dance a few sets and the first couple of lessons I got blisters on my feet. Great exercise, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Norm 2.0 says:

    Because dancing will most certainly lead to….
    Oh that Catholic Church, what a funny bunch they can be 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • In my parents’ younger days, when dances were organized in parish halls the priest used to keep an eye on things and carried a stick which he would place between a couple if they danced too close together.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I like the statue, too. The building looks very sturdy…in a good way.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Teresa says:

    A beautiful building and sculpture of the dancing father and daughter.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A lovely stone building with all its bits and put to good use. I can understand why you admire the statue. It really is a joyful piece of work.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dan Antion says:

    The building is beautiful, Jean. The statue makes me feel good, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Rowlands Rowlands says:

    I remember the priest roving around the dance floor in St Johns Pavilion on the top of Mulgrave street. ( now Mahon Street – just a wee bit taken from Mulgrave street)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. joey says:

    That statue is magnificent — highlight of this post, for me! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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