'Welcome to my world, won't you come on in'

By Marion Coy
 
IF, as you read these words, the name Jim Reeves immediately pops up in your head, then you know the world to which I refer – rural Ireland in the 1960s. The transformation of Irish life in that decade was astonishing and one of the great emblems of this transformation was the appearance in a small village in North Galway of The Singing Pub.
It has a strong case for being considered the first singing pub in the country, but it certainly led the way in Co Galway. The pub was in Glenamaddy and was owned by Paddy and Mary Quinn.
He was the musician, and she was the business head and together they brought a new form of entertainment to the area. They also brought a new way of life to a changing Ireland in North Galway.
No more did women slip in the side door into the kitchen if they wanted a drink because “the doctor said it would do me good”. Now, the day’s work done, they put on their dancing shoes and headed to the Singing Pub. During the summer, at Easter and especially at Christmas, they were joined by their families from Coventry, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, London and increasingly, from New York, Boston and Chicago.
In the early 60s, most young men and women left Glenamaddy for work. But so too did many husbands and fathers who worked in the UK and only saw their families for short holidays each year. The joy of their homecoming was now celebrated on the dance floor of the Singing Pub.
Read the full feature in this week's edition of The Tuam Herald, on sale in shops and online www.tuamherald.ie

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