“Romancing the Border” storytelling night gets a great “reception”

“Romancing the Border” was the theme of a Peace IV storytelling night on Monday 11th February, and there were lots of stories of romance, love, heartbreak, and matters of “wife and debt”. The event was facilitated by Francis McCarron, and it wasn’t long until people contributed all kinds of stories – lost love, chat up lines, cross border barriers to romance, dancing decks, carnivals, and weddings. It was a hilarious night – tales of sneaking out to a venue across the border, the checkpoints, haggling for a wedding ring, and brides given as a luck penny on the sale of a farm. Memories included Condor tobacco, courtships, a tale of finding love in the Maple Ballroom in Rockcorry, and dancing on the decks at Mullan Mills, Killylough, Emyvale, Corcaghan, and Clontibret. The visit of Roy Orbison to the carnival at Graenemore was recalled with fondness, as was the Hank Loughman dance in Keady Parochial Hall. Swan Park with it’s mineral bar and walnut floor was a popular venue – but well “policed” by the owner with a gold top cane separating couples who were dancing too close. The Fireman’s Ball, the Nurse’s Ball, and the Castlebar Bacon Factory dances were the stuff of style and society. Patrons for the dances arrived on bikes – it cost 6d for the cloakroom to mind your coat and the pump for the bicycle. The storytelling event was a fast paced, hilarious evening’s entertainment – with contributions of stories, song, and poetry – a great night out sharing memories of unrequited and true love.