While it is now just a rusty old shed located along the N17 between Tuam and Galway, for around 50 years this was one of the county’s most famous Ballrooms of Romance.
Even though the Ranch House in Cummer closed down back in the 1980, memories of some of the big showbands it attracted came flooding back when the property along with two and a half acres went under the hammer last week at an auction in Galway city.
Many in attendance at the O’Donnellan and Joyce auction recalled the times they danced and met their future partner in the Ranch House which went under the hammer for €52,000.
Bidding for the property opened at €28,000 and it attracted a total of 18 bids as it climbed in increments of €2,000 and €1,000 until it was eventually knocked down to its new owner. It is not known what is planned for the property which is in a prime location along the N17.
But many of a certain age will recall when this dilapidated shed was one of the best known dancehalls in the West of Ireland which was established by the late Nora and Andy Keaveney and attracted huge attendances for its Thursday and Sunday night dances during its heyday.
Originally known as Keaveney’s Cummer Hall, it attracted dancers from all over Galway, Mayo and further afield and much of this was down to some of the well-known showbands that played there.
The likes of Joe Dolan, Larry Cunningham, Big Tom, Ray Lynam, Margo, Philomena Begley, Brush Shiels and the Memories all played there as did a number of local acts, which were big at the time, including Johnny Flynn, Ollie Maloney and Gerry Cronin from Tuam.
Well known country music journalist Tom Gilmore vividly recalls some wonderful nights in the Ranch House and said that some of the biggest acts played over the years.
“In the early days they came from miles around on bicycles with dynamos on the front so they could see where they were going along the roads. Hundreds of bicycles parked up outside the ballroom was a common sight in those days.
“There are still a lot of people around who met their future partners there and it still holds fond memories for many who danced there. Many still recall Nora Keaveney in the box office and if anyone was short a few bob to get in, she never turned them away,” Tom recalls.
He says that Nora and Andy’s dwelling was situated across the road from the ballroom and when the bands would arrive the members would be treated to a fine wholesome country meal in the house prior to going on stage.
The famous hall went into decline as the singing lounges began to make an impact. But it enjoyed a revival for a few years during the mid-1970s and up to the early 80s when it was run by Frank Keaveney, who resides in Tuam and is still following the showbands with great enthusiasm.
Pubs to remain closed and restrictions on gatherings unchanged
Pubs and nightclubs will not be allowed to open next week, while restrictions will remain in place on indoor and outdoor gatherings, as the Government decided to postpone Phase 4 of the Roadmap to Recovery for a second time.
It will also become compulsory to wear face coverings in shops and shopping centres from next Monday.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin made the announcement this evening, adding that the current situation will be reviewed again in three week’s time.
Asked if pubs would reopen at all this year, the Taoiseach said that due to the way the virus spreads, the Government “cannot give any guarantee right now2.
“International evidence shows very clearly that pubs and nightclubs reopening too early leads directly and inextricably to an increase in community transmission.
“I want [publicans] to know that I have enormous sympathy for their plight. The virus is taking away their ability to earn a living. It is stopping them from providing a key service in the heart of many communities.
“We have to heed our Chief Medical Officer and NPHET [the National Public Health Emergency Team] advice and we have to keep the pressure on this virus.
“I know this will come as a bitter disappointment to many people; the Cabinet has agreed to continue with the current public health measures that are in place. Pubs, bars, hotel bars, nightclubs and casinos will remain closed.
“The current restrictions on numbers attending indoor and outdoor gatherings will remain unchanged [50 people indoors and 200 outdoors].
“We will review the evidence again in three weeks’ time.
“This virus has not changed. It remains as virulent as ever and it is constantly on the search for new people to infect. It remains completely indiscriminate in its cruelty. But as dangerous as it is, we have shown we can beat it. Each one of us has the power to suppress it,” the Taoiseach said.
At a press conference tonight, Mr Martin also said that pubs which are currently trading (with food) will have to close at 11pm.
The Government has also announced that five locations – Malta, Cyprus, San Marino, Monaco and Gibraltar – have been removed from the so-called ‘Green List’.
Influx of visitors heightens Covid fears
Local health chiefs are planning for the worst case scenario of a second surge of Coronavirus brought on by domestic tourism – as ‘staycationers’ from parts of the country where the virus is more prevalent carry it into the west.
There has been just one new confirmed case of Covid-19 in Galway in the past week, and just a handful of new cases in the past several weeks.
But the authorities fear tourists from parts of the country more affected by the virus will result in an increase here during August and September.
There are also concerns that there are not enough beds in the public health system to cope with a resurgence of Covid-19 alongside regular winter hospital admissions.
Tony Canavan, CEO of Saolta, which manages public hospitals in the West, at the HSE West Regional Health Forum this week, said health workers are anxious that the deadly virus will spread to the West, as the reopening of society continues.
“There are concerns among those working in the health system associated with Government plans to reopen society and the economy, even though we know that is absolutely necessary and important for the well-being of the population as a whole.
“But the concerns we have relate to the greater movement of people whether it’s going to and from work, or going about their business, whether it’s attending the shops or entertainment events and so on, and that greater movement of people creates an environment where the risk of the spread of Covid-19 is increased.
“We’re particularly concerned in the West and North West, that there would be a level of movement of people associated with tourism at this time of year,” said Mr Canavan.
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Chanelle McCoy unveils her clinically proven cannabinoid cure
The usage of CBD food supplements to treat a whole raft of illnesses and conditions in recent years has given rise to concern that many of the products currently on the market are being sold to consumers without any clinical trials to verify their safety.
It was the rise in demand for these products that first caught the attention of well-known Loughrea business woman Chanelle McCoy who this week, together with her business partner and fellow Galwegian Caroline Glynn, launched the first CBD product on the Irish market that has been clinically proven to be safe – Pureis.
Chanelle, whose family business Chanelle Pharma in Loughrea has a proven track record in the medical world, stepped back from that venture five years ago to focus on her own Chanelle McCoy Health.
“My family business in Chanelle Pharma in Loughrea and so I’ve worked there for about 18 years. When I joined the business, it was a veterinary business and my father and I co-founded the medical side of the business. Then I was lucky to have the opportunity to lead that medical business over the last 18 years with a great team and with Caroline working with me,” says Chanelle of the beginning of her working relationship with Caroline.
“We bought the medical business into 96 countries around the world and we got over 2,500 product licences granted across those 96 countries. We would be looking at products in terms of what to put into the R&D pipeline and I started looking at CBD back in 2015, probably inspired a bit by Vera Twomey and the inability for moms like her to access good quality CBD products for kids like Ava,” she says, explaining that Cork woman Vera Twomey’s plight to secure cannabidiol treatment for her daughter’s epilepsy was a real eye-opener.
Read the full feature in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.