Adam Shaw spoke to McGinty, who wants to bring the Irish dancehall tradition back to Kilburn
The pillars of north London’s Irish entertainment community are looking to preserve the tradition of social dancing across the city. Following the closure of Burnt Oak’s Conway’s 3 in February, it was feared that organised dancing events would gradually die out. But Michael Troy, popularly known as McGinty, who first played there over thirty years ago, is hoping to revive the custom with the opening of The Ballroom of Romance.
“There’s a big Irish presence in London so we need to keep things like this up; it would be a real shame if it were to end,” he said.
“A lot of places have closed down – we lost Conway’s 3 which was a bit of a tragedy, really – and I just want to help keep it going.
“A lot of people need something like this; it’s an important part of their social lives.
“It’s particularly attractive to pensioners as they can come down, meet one another, have some food and have a dance.”
McGinty, who has been involved in the entertainment scene for 43 years in Surrey and Greater London, admitted that his project will start out as a test. He plans to run events every Monday evening at the Quex Road Social Club in Kilburn and, if it’s a success, will add an extra night on Fridays.
He’s also confident in securing some of the best acts available, if the demand is there. “If it’s going well, I’ll get the bands, don’t you worry,” he predicted.
“Over the next few weeks we’ve got Pat Hayes in, as well as Tom Healy, and we’re looking at people like Sean Wilson and so on.”
He says the feather in his cap so far, however, is the JCB Man himself – Seamus Moore. Seamus, who was the driving force behind Conway’s 3, has returned to his first love of performing and McGinty hopes he will be the name to bring in the crowds.
He said: “Seamus has been the biggest attraction in London for years. It’s all down to Seamus – he brought all the big bands over and, if it wasn’t for him, most of us would never have heard them.”
And while the Offaly man concedes that his target audience is relatively limited, he’s optimistic that, in time, he can attract some of the younger members of the community.
“I think the youngsters are more interested in pubs than clubs to be honest so, currently, I’m not sure there’d be too much demand for it,” he said.
“They’re certainly not out of reach though; I know it’s very popular in Ireland since Nathan Carter made a big deal of it.
“All we can do is keep advertising, get the message out there, and we’ll see what happens.”
The Ballroom of Romance opens next week 16 May at the Quex Road Social Club in Kilburn. Admission is£5 and includes a light buffet.