Social History

Social Life

The Market area was not just an area of industry, but a thriving community built on social bonds, kinship and community spirit that emanated through shared experiences. The Market was not only home to notorious dance halls, but many big names such as Charlie Chaplin, G.H. Elliott, Dan Leno, Eugene Stratton and Vesta Tilley who stayed in the Georgian houses due to their proximity to the Empire, Grand Opera House and Alambra theatres.

The Upper Market was also well known for the Fiesta ballroom, opened by John Dosser on Hamilton Street. There was no shortage of pubs around the Market which served as a vital part of the Community life. There were at least 27, including: the Trocadero, Mooney’s, the Golden Jubilee, the Black Bull, Lagan Street Social Club, the Central Bar, McEntee’s, Savage’s and Donnelly’s. The Grand Bar on Joy Street was known for having a special box for the women to drink in, as it wasn’t the norm for women to drink publically at that time.

Local industry in the area also ensured that while people were out shopping, they were socialising together. Cromac Street/ Square acted as the hub in this sense. There were grocers, (George Gray’s, the co-op, Stewart’s) butchers, (Shannon’s, McShane’s, Alan’s, McCaffrey’s) bakeries, newsagents, pharmacies, draperies and the I.T.L, Irish Temperence League Cafes. There were countess little shops around the area that created an eternal buzz. Joe Donnelly was well-known for penny drinks, McGlade’s shop for never closing, Murdock’s for horses and many more.

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