Abbey Ballroom Indoor Football: An Oral History Exhibition

Old Drogheda Society  

Helena Byrne with news of an upcoming exhibition.

Drogheda Local Voices in collaboration with Drogheda Museum Millmount and County Museum Dundalk have organised an exhibition on the Abbey Ballroom Indoor Football leagues that ran in Drogheda in 1966-1967. The Abbey Ballroom Indoor Football: An Oral History Exhibition will open on the 9th of August at the County Museum Dundalk, all are welcome on the night. It is hoped that former indoor football players from Drogheda, Dundalk and its environs will come together on the night and share their memories of the leagues. 

Name: Abbey Ballroom Indoor Football: An Oral History Exhibition

Venue: County Museum Dundalk

Time: 7pm

Date: 09/08/2018

Indoor football was one of the most popular pastimes in the late sixties all over the north east. From looking back in the old papers, we can see that the first big competition organised was on April 3rd, 1966 in the Adelphi Ballroom, Dundalk. This was closely followed by the Abbey Ballroom, Drogheda with competitions starting there on the May 3rd, 1966. 

Competitions quickly sprang up in ballrooms all across the northeast with competitions being played out in Blackrock and Haggardstown, Co. Louth, Navan, Co. Meath, Castleblayney, Inniskeen and Rockcorry, Co. Monagahan and in Warrenpoint, Co. Down.

In some of the reports we can see both the men’s and women’s teams travelled great distances to compete in the competitions, teams travelled from Dublin, Crossmaglen, Newry, Cavan and even a team from Cork competed in the Abbey Ballroom, Drogheda. 

These competitions were unique in that they actively encouraged women to participate and lots of Gaelic footballers were able to play a sport closer to soccer than Gaelic and not get penalised under Rule 27. It seems that the indoor football craze all started in Dundalk, but it is still unclear where the idea for these competitions came from and why they fell out of fashion?

The old newspapers can tell us a lot about times and dates of matches, give us an insight to some of the fixtures with photos and short reports but they can’t tell us everything we need to know. For instance, they don’t tell us where all the teams came from, who was on the team, how they were formed, why people got involved and what impact indoor football had on participating in other sports. Therefore, it is important to record the oral history of the former players, spectators and organisers of the various competitions. 

Come along on the night to share your memories, photos and memorabilia. No matter how long or short we would like to hear all your stories. For any more information on the exhibition or the project please contact County Museum Dundalk on 042-9392999 or by email info@dundalkmuseum.ie. 

Drogheda Museum Millmount,
History, Archaeology & Heritage,
Governor's House,
Co. Louth,

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