End of an era with the last dance for Portarlington Vincent de Paul

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

End of an era with the last dance for Portarlington Vincent de Paul

The final dance is in the Gandon Inn this Monday night September 9.

Portarlington's Monday night charity social dance in the Gandon Inn is coming to an end this Monday September 9, after some 50 years of entertaining loyal dancers who come from all over Laois and Kildare.

The dance began in Portarlinton as a fundraiser by the Arch charity for people with disabilities. in the past 15 or so years, it has raised thousands for Portarlington St Vincent de Paul.

Phyllis Donegan has been the organiser in recent years and is sad to see it end.

“It breaks my heart, so many people are upset. We get about 40 to 60 dancers every week, from all over Laois, some of them are coming for decades. It's their night out. They even have their own tables and chairs they like to sit at. It's like a family,”she said.

The dances are ending mainly because of the loss of their venue. The Gandon Inn is due to start a renovation of their restaurant so the function room is to become a temporary restaurant.

Phyllis has also announced her retirement in organising the dances, which involve booking about eight different bands on rotation.

“I'd love someone new to take it on. I would be happy to help them but it's time for me to stand aside and let a new brain in. The bands have been so good to us, and the Treacy family in the Gandon Inn have been a huge support and we want to thank them for their kindness,” she said.

A new venue would need to be a hotel too Phyllis said, as hiring a hall would involve costly extra insurance costs.

The final night will be a big one, with The Gandon providing food at no charge. Music is by John & Terry, with spot prizes and raffle. Contact Phyllis 085 8707372. The night begins at 9.30pm.