Saturday, April 06, 2013

Public Dance Halls Act 1935 in Ireland

Excellent Dublin newspaper/blog Rabble has an interesting piece on the Public Dance Halls Act 1935 in Ireland, which remains in force to this day. The Act requires a licence from the state for any dancing 'which is open to the public and in which persons present are entitled to participate actively' and applies broadly not just to pubs and clubs but to any 'place' defined as 'a building (including part of a building), yard, garden, or other enclosed place, whether roofed or not roofed and whether the enclosure and the roofing (if any) are permanent or temporary'. In practice, the police have historically used this even to apply to private houses in some cases.

As Rabble points out, the Act was originally passed on the back of a moral panic about jazz undermining traditional Irish culture - but ironically its implementation undermined that very culture as it was used to stop country dances too.

The future regulation of drinking and dancing in Ireland is a live political subject, with a Sale of Alcohol Bill currently under discussion (see Rabble article).

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