‘Showband era’ remembered at Enniskilen library exhibition

Phillip Darcy Show band exhibition  in Library


A COLLECTION of hundreds of items of memorabilia from Ireland’s historic ‘showband era’ has been launched at Enniskillen Library.

The era, throughout the mid 1950s to the late 1970s, is remembered as an era of huge prominence for Irish musicians – with Fermanagh itself playing a big part in contributing to it.

The exhibition has been put together by Enniskillen man Philip Darcy, and it runs until March 14.

It includes photographs of bands from the era (dance hall handouts), books, annuals, LPs, records, cassettes, stamps and other items of interest.

Philip’s interest in the showband era stemmed from living close to ‘The Skyrockets’’ founder Cecil Kettyles.

“He was resident nearby and I got to know the boys through that,” Philip explained.

“I used to asked the boys where they were going that night. If you’re going to Donegal – you’d have to leave at 6pm and they wouldn’t be back until the early hours of the morning. I was always interested in where they were going. These were long journeys.”

He gradually began collecting photos and memorabilia of the band – branching out into other bands, far and near.

Philip attended dances himself – and was given memorabilia from relations and friends who attended dances.

His collection soon spiralled into the visual feast it is today.

And, in September, Philip was approached to put his collection on display.

“I spoke to the management here, and was told there were two weeks in March.

“I’ve been here for a few days put things up on the walls and I’m getting good reaction.

“There’s a great fan base, I know there will be an age gap – but there’s been a great reaction.

“This is the pinnacle of my journey collecting.”

In May, part of Philip’s exhibition will go on display in the Fermanagh County Museum. But, from now until March 14, during Enniskillen Library opening hours, the exhibition is free to view.

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