The Fastest Reel in the West


About this Item

John Conneely dances a reel in his unique style.

  • Title
    The Fastest Reel in the West
  • 1st Broadcast
  • Contributor
    Gay Byrne (Presenter)
  • Clip Duration
  • Material Type
  • Series title
    The Late Late Show
  • Clip title
    The Fastest Reel in the West
  • Extended description

    Gay Byrne introduces John Conneely from Knock, Kilshamuck, Co. Mayo, who performs a reel in his own unique style to the music of 'George White's Favourite' performed by John Cleary. The remarkable thing about this is that John had previously been hospitalised for months following a fall on a building site in England which left him with a broken back.

    Ciaran MacMathuna who is sitting in the audience describes John's unique dance as "the fastest reel in the west".

    Planxty and the Chieftans who also featured on the show.

  • Information

    An extract from 'The Late Late Show' special on Irish traditional music broadcast on 23 December 1972. The entire programme was devoted to traditional music.

    In his introduction to the programme presenter Gay Byrne remarks that he hopes that those who have been critical of 'The Late Late Show' for not including enough traditional music will enjoy the programme. He also says that this programme is being broadcast now so that many Irish people who are living abroad but are at home in Ireland for Christmas might get to see it.

    Among the acts featured in this special programme are Planxty, The Chieftans, Dolly MacMahon and Seamus Ennis.

    'The Late Late Show' was intended to be a summer "filler" but proved so successful with the public that it became part of the regular schedule. The idea for the programme came from the show's producer, Tom McGrath, who wanted to present an Irish version of the American talk show 'The Tonight Show'. Gay Byrne was to be the show's presenter and would remain so for the next 37 years.

    Tom McGrath's original idea was that the show would be informal and have the feel of people dropping in for chat. 'The Late Late Show' became an important forum for the airing and debating of many issues in a changing Irish society.

    The first programme of 'The Late Late Show' was broadcast at 11.20 pm, 6 July 1962. At the time, it was unusual to have a live talk and entertainment show on so late in the day's viewing. The programme is still running today and is presented by Ryan Tubridy.

  • Local keywords
    Traditional Music, Irish Dancing, Music, John Conneely, John Cleary
  • Geographical coverage
  • Topic
    Arts and Culture
  • Publisher Broadcaster
  • First broadcast channel
    RTÉ One
  • Production year
  • Country of production
  • Original identifier
  • IPR restrictions
    Rights Reserved - Free Access
  • Rights terms and conditions

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  • Item type
  • Item colour
    Black and White
  • Item sound
  • Aspect ratio
  • Language used
    English (eng)
  • Original language
    English (eng)