By Mossie Walsh, Guhard
While I’m sure funny things happened at Hegarty’s Hall, I recall two funny incidents, which as Eamon Kelly would say are “pure true”. One night when there was a big crowd there, Seán Downes arrived at the hall in good form. He crossed the floor to where the girls were sitting on the Ballybunion side. He started at the top near the bandstand and proceeded to ask each one down along, and despite being a good dancer he did not succeed in getting a partner.
All of a sudden he dropped down on the floor near where the girls were. They surrounded him as he lay stretched out. One of them, being a nurse was very concerned in case it was a heart attack, knelt down beside him and gave him the “kiss of life”, which seemed to go on for a good while. By this time a big crowd had gathered, suddenly Seán sat up, amazing everybody and said “carry on, that’s lovely, I hadn’t it as good in years”. His acting over, he got a round of applause. He wasn’t short of dancing partners for the rest of the night! They were relieved and delighted because like Lazarus, he had come back from the dead.
At another dance, again a very funny thing happened. Jerdie O’Connor, Bud O’Connor and myself were chatting when the late Eamie Kissane came in and joined in the conversation. The band was playing a lovely waltz but the dancers were shy on taking to the floor. Eamie was merry and being the character he was, Jerdie and Bud were betting with him that he wouldn’t cross the floor and ask a girl to dance.
“No problem” says Eamie “if you will come with me Mossie”. There were two newcomers present that night and Eamie said we would ask those two “clients”, which was Eamie’s word. They both agreed to dance and we had the floor to ourselves for a while. Eamie appeared to be getting into difficulty with his woman, as they didn’t seem to be compatible. Next thing Eamie was abandoned and he came back to the boys.
When that dance was over I asked Eamie what had happened?
Eamie, not to be outdone, says very seriously “you didn’t see at all what happened to me and my client”. “Turning at the top near the bandstand , what did she do but put her high heel shoe into the fold of my trouser leg and stayed that way all around the floor. She nearly had the trouser brought off of me, I told her to sit down and I went back to the boys”.
That was the story he told us, which caused a lot of laughter. A crowd gathered around as he retold it several times and added “I’d say ‘twas her first time at a dance and she hasn’t a clue” and of course Eamie couldn’t be wrong!
Recalling the bands who played at Hegarty’s Hall, in my opinion The Vanguard Six was the best. I enjoyed many a good night there.