Gary & Claire’s wedding, the first wedding in the newly refurbished Plaza Ballroom in the heart of the Main Street in Buncrana.Over the years The Plaza Ballroom witnessed its share of romance. Saturday night dances probably saw the beginning of many relationships with young couples who would go on to marry after a first meeting under the ballroom lights. The small hall opened in 1944, the Main Ballroom on July 12th 1958 and throughout the 60’s and 70’s The Plaza was at its peak. Later years saw the Dance Halls up and down the country wane in their popularity, and lights of The Plaza grew dim. Saturday night dancing was replaced by Sunday night Bingo until that too came to and end in the 90’s. Over the years the building had fallen into disrepair, and the black & white pictures of the dance goers in their Saturday night outfits which lined the walls faded into memory. The Sunday morning display of pictures in the little shop across the street, where couples or friends could buy a copy of their photographs from the night before, ended too. A community led effort in recent years has seen The Plaza come to life again and once more the crowds are drawn in on the weekend for bands, plays and dancing. The celebration of Gary & Claire’s marriage, with catering by The Lily Rose, was the first wedding reception to be held here in maybe 40 years. The couple themselves painstakingly crafted the table favours and the decorations.A new era of Saturday night dancers, as we pay our little homage to the tradition of ‘having your picture taken’ at The Plaza. Gary & Claire with Ursula, who helps manage The Plaza today as it comes back to life.So, the lights have come back on and once again the dance floor in the Plaza fills with people.
Perhaps more than most countries, Ireland has a history of emigration. Stretching back over the centuries, whether out of economic necessity or a sense of adventure, Ireland’s people have found themselves in the furthest corners of the globe. Still, it seems however far they travel, or for however long, this place remains “home” in the minds of the diaspora.
That feeling of home, of being at home in a place, of being of that place, recently brought baby Oliver back ‘home’ from Australia to be christened at St Columb’s Cathedral in Derry. In the midst of his family and in a place they felt to be a part of them. Occasions such as this can be tinged with a little sadness too, families being only briefly reunited before once again going their separate ways. We were delighted to be able to photograph the event and make these pictures which he and his family will always have to remember this day and this place.