Disco Dancing in 1982 Ireland Was Wild

Disco competition in Ireland 1982

The Ballinlough Festival in County Meath, Ireland was the place to be for a good ol’ dose of fun and games back in 1982. Picture this: disco dancers frolicking, music blaring, and a tug-of-war showdown that would make even Hercules break a sweat.

Enter Martin Smith, lovingly nicknamed ‘Speedy’ for reasons we may never know. This man didn’t just dance; he pirouetted, grooved, and disco danced his way to victory as the undisputed King of the Dancefloor. With disco classics like ‘Born To Be Alive’ and ‘Strut Your Funky Stuff’ as his soundtrack, Martin’s moves were so slick, even John Travolta would’ve been impressed.

Meanwhile, teams from all over descended upon Ballinlough to flex their muscles in the epic tug-of-war contest. Burly lads from far and wide, gripped that rope for dear life, their faces contorted with determination – or maybe it was just the effects of too much fun in the sun.

But the real spectacle? The clash between the Kells Gardaí and the Army Team from Mullingar in the ‘It’s A Knockout’ battle royale. All in the name of good-natured competition.


As RTÉ News reporter Caroline Erskine captured the chaos and camaraderie on August 23, 1982, one thing was clear: the Ballinlough Festival wasn’t just an event; it was a glorious collision of disco fever, fierce rivalries, and belly laughs that would echo through the ages. Disco on, Ballinlough – you’re a shining star on the dancefloor of history!