Otherwise, it was the result of a corporate, voluntary effort under the leadership of the then C.C. Fr. O’Shea. Local people brought the sand and gravel. The building of it was put out to tender; there was one Irish one from Smith & Pearsons, Dublin but the lowest one was from J. McManus, Hammersmiths who sent the materials to Ireland, galvanize, doors, windows and timber all cut and ready, and these had to be collected from the railway station at Youghal, by horse and cart. The material was galvanise lined with timber and felt in between. Local tradesmen, backed by voluntary help, worked on the assembly.
It was opened on a fine June Sunday, the hall being packed for a performance by a Lismore group of a play ‘The Shamrock and the Rose’. Johnny Fitzgerald (former occupant of Paddy Carlton’s house) had brought the scenery from Villierstown Ferry by horse and cart.
A big wooden sign spanned the hall “For Happy Homes for Ireland, for God”.
It served as a club and the first caretaker was Jim Eddy (an old coastguard who lived on site of Jimmie O’Connors house) who kept a roaring fire in the central stove. People came, at a charge of 2p to play billiards, cards, throw rings or read the newspapers provided. A small billiard table had been provided by Captain Turner of the Anchorage.
There were woodwork and cookery classes too. Cinema performances (lighting by carbide) took place during the War period 1914-918.
Later on, there were frequent concerts and dramatic performances, and later on again, it was used very much as a dance hall. Jim Rooney speaks of very fashionable dances, inaugurated by the West Waterford Hunt, being held here. He speaks of the ladies with sleeveless long dresses but, with long sleeves covering the arms completely. We remember the 4p hops and 1/- ones on a Sunday night, during the late thirties and early forties. All the many organisations and groups in the area used it as a venue for meetings and for fund-raising.
However, it didn’t suit the changing modern needs of the local community, and the fabric had given long years of wear and was showing its weaknesses.
There was a number of public meetings and it was finally decided that a new hall would be built on the site and that it should continue to be an integral part of the local community.
The actual building was done under the Anco Youth Training Scheme, so the labour was free. Co. Council assisted with drawings and plans and the local community provided the funds.
It is a great tribute to the hard-working local committee who met weekly to monitor the situation. Naturally, there were many headaches and differences of opinion along the way, and it was a proud day for all concerned, when it was officially opened by his Excellency, President Hillery in July 1987.
All organisations are represented on the Hall committee which holds monthly meetings.
Author: Siobhan Lincoln