An old house stood where the present day school now stands. A local committee took it over to run dances in the 1930’s and in the late 30s it was burned down.
In 1941 Johnny Bourke of Belcarra decided to build a dance hall. The clergy at the time were opposed to dance halls.
While the P.P of Carnacon was on holidays the foundations for the new hall were laid and on his return the P.P. said he would oppose it all the way. At a court session in Castlebar the developer met with Joe Quinn, a historian who had researched the parishes in the area, and who informed him that hall was in fact in Drum parish (part of Parish of Balla.).
Mr. Bourke was afraid to approach the Parish Priest of Balla but he was friendly with the local Garda Sergeant in Balla who canvassed the priest for him. A license was granted at Hollymount court in November 1941. The conditions for granting a license were strict.
No alcoholic beverages could be sold, No ladies under 18years could be admitted. Only 8 long dances (until 3am) per year were allowed. There was no limit to the number of short dances (until 1am). All dances started at 8pm.
Brose Walshe and his band supplied the music for the first dance, while Madame Bourke from Castlebar played on the second night. The lighting for the hall was supplied by dynamo, as the area did not receive electricity until nearly the last years of the hall’s existence.
On other occasions music was supplied by Tony Chambers and the Twilight Serenaders from Newport, The Romanis from Foxford, The Powers from Ballinrobe and on occasion The Stephen Garvey Orchestra who were the biggest band in the country at the time.
The hall continued to provide entertainment in the locality until 1958 but had to close as the roof was in a bad state of repair and the numbers were beginning to fall due to opposition from bigger halls.
By Brian Hoban.