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Showbands: How Ireland Learned To Party, Friday, 21.10, BBC4

And thanks to the golf there’s no Mastermind either, so we’re afraid it’s just a repeat to feature here. Not bad, though, as it discusses an aspects of Irish culture that’s by and large failed to cross over to the UK, much like The Angelus and the Rose of Tralee. The showbands were a huge deal in Ireland in the post-war years, touring the country to bring a bit of fun and colour to otherwise sleepy parts of the country with their performances of standards, pop songs and dixieland jazz, delivered with boundless enthusiasm. For many people, these showbands helped bring together communities, with many of them regularly crossing the border into Northern Ireland, but the rise of the disco and increased sectarian violence saw them become largely defunct by the eighties. Lots of people still look back on them fondly, though, including Ardal O’Hanlon who fronts this documentary.

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