Bandstands and The Great Gatsby ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 136

The Bandstand, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford
The Bandstand, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford

I’m always drawn to bandstands and I love the one that stands so proudly in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford.  It was erected around 1900 and I’ve been reading in the Waterford Co. Museum’s Dungarvan: Historic Guide & Town Trail that:

Here on many summer evenings, tourists known locally as ‘Gaybricks’ and Dungarvan residents enjoyed the music of the brass band. 

All of this makes me think of  The Great Gatsby and especially the 1974 version of the film starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. I had adored the novel as a teenager and it was in May 1979 that I finally got to see the film.

The reason I remember that first viewing is because it was the night before my final exams in Trinity College and my ‘big sister’ arrived to check on me and fully intent on advising me not to stay up all night cramming. She was stunned to find me lying on my bed totally engrossed in The Great Gatsby which I was viewing on the portable black and white television that my parents had given me for my 21st birthday the previous October. Seeing, that I was in another world, ‘big sis’ headed off, phoned home to report  our mother  that I was possibly ‘too relaxed’ about the exams!

Last night, I watched the 1974 version of  The Great Gatsby again and I have a feeling that no matter what the new version is like I will forever remain in this dreamy time-warp.

Go on tell me what bandstands evoke in you!

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

18 thoughts on “Bandstands and The Great Gatsby ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 136”

    1. Hi Angeline, thanks so much for writing, Somehow, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed and I’d love to hear what you think of it. I confess that I’m looking forward to the new release but it has a lot to live up to!

  1. Bandstands are great aren’t they? Super-rare to actually see a band in one these days though. Certainly in England they were a feature of most of the many public parks that were laid out for city dwellers in the 19th century. One typical one was Small Heath Park in Birmingham which also had a magnificent paddling pool, long since closed for health reasons. Funny I don’t remember being unhealthy after long days enjoying it 😦

  2. Hi Roy, you have me thinking now about Howard Davis Park in St Helier. Is there a bandstand there? I certainly remember hearing a brass band play there one lovely sunny day.
    Apart from Dungarvan, the other main bandstand that appeals to me in Ireland is the one on Dun Laoigaire Pier. I used to walk a lot there and always hoped that I’d hear a band play but never did. As for the paddling pools, I don’t seem to remember them as being a part of my childhood. Maybe that’s because the sea always felt like a better option.

    1. Howard Davis Park is lovely. It has a sort of covered stage facing out across the grass which is used for concerts in the summer. I can hear the music from my apartment. It was laid out as a park in 1938, maybe a bit too late for a Victorian bandstand.

  3. I never saw a bandstand until I went to live in England at 18. They now evoke in me hot summer days , lying on the grass in the park, with melting icecream cones. Since then I have seen and admired dozens of them, often as a ‘gaybrick’ in various places, but never experienced live music coming from one!

    1. Hi SV, yeah, I’m the same. I live in hope, though, that one day a brass band will be playing on one of the many bandstands that I love and I can just see myself dancing in 20s style with no shoes on and not an inhibition in the world!

  4. I watched the Robert Redford version of The Great Gatsby movie yesterday afternoon. A lovely afternoon snuggled on a sofa in a cozy room of the house with rain clouds brewing outside. I love the movie! So well done with a script that is wonderful. It struck me at one point when the narrator was speaking, that I could almost see F. Scott at his desk writing those words. I will now go to the new release soon to see how it measures up. I’m almost afraid to go….Oh, and I have an awakened love affair with Irving Berlin.

      1. Angeline, I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the Robert Redford version. Have to say I’m not a bit surprised about the love affair with Irving Berlin. Is it an awakened or re-awakened one?

  5. Hi there.
    You might be interested in a new app we’ve made, that brings these bandstands back to life. More info here – .
    We are a theatre company called The Other Way Works, based in Birmingham UK>

    And you can download the smartphone app from here:
    or here

    We have so far only made Bandstand Audio Theatre Experiences for 2 bandstands in the Black Country (near Birmingham, UK), and you do have to visit the actual bandstands to hear the pieces. But, hopefully we’ll be able to develop more in the future for other bandstands.

    All the best,
    Katie Day, Artistic Director, The Other Way Works

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