Exhibition on the Abbey Ballroom Indoor Football Leagues
Drogheda Drogheda Local Voices

Drogheda Local Voices (DLV) is a not- for- profit community organisation that records and archives the oral history of the Drogheda area. It has been active for about a quarter of a century and has an archive of many hundreds of audio and video recordings.

This project was primarily the work of a team of students from the MLIS and MSc courses at the School of Information and Library Studies in UCD with training and guidance supplied by DLV. The subject chosen was the indoor 5-a-side football leagues, male and female, that were played in the Abbey Ballroom in Drogheda in the late 1960’s. The participation of women’s teams is believed to be the first organised female team sport to have been organised in the town.

The students were trained in best practice standards relating to the management of digital materials and the legal and ethical issues that arise during an oral history project. A useful guide called the Resource Guide of Current Best Practice on Information Management: For Drogheda Local Voices Staff & Volunteers was created by students at the School of Information & Library Studies, at University College Dublin, as part of their Capstone project, in association with Drogheda Local Voices. A copy of the guide is attached here – Resource Guide of Current Best Practice on Information Management.

A collection of interviews with participants in the league was recorded in audio and video media. The content was then edited and a series of exhibition quality display panels were designed and printed. In addition, a 12 minute audiovisual display incorporating excerpts from the interviews, photos and scanned reports from contemporary local newspapers were prepared for playing on a continuous loop.

This material was then mounted as a temporary exhibition in Drogheda Museum Millmount. Some additional artefacts relating to the competitions were also included in the museum’s dedicated display cases. The exhibition was formally launched on 2nd July and remained open to visitors until it was replaced by another exhibition on 16th September.
Feedback from the launch and from subsequent visitors was excellent. It provoked interest not only among the families and friends of the interviewees, from other participants in the leagues, from the general public in Drogheda but also from visitors from abroad. Some of these were, of course, members of the Irish Diaspora. The memories provoked by youthful participation in what was at the time a social phenomenon but had been long forgotten, attracted people to return to their native town to see the exhibition and to renew old friendships.

The exhibition was promoted extensively on the museum’s website and on its Facebook and Twitter pages and this was a factor in attracting and increasing the attendance. Although the temporary exhibition has now been replaced and there are no immediate plans to repeat it, the display panels and the audiovisual presentation have been retained and can be remounted at any time either in the museum or any alternative venue. The interest created by the exhibition has encouraged many other participants in the league to come forward and so the oral history project continues.

A report on the exhibition is also included here – Report on Drogheda Local Voices Exhibition on the Abbey Ballroom Indoor Football Leagues. In addition, an ongoing relationship has now been developed with U.C.D. and future collaboration between Drogheda Local Voices and the university in organising student projects are a distinct possibility.

Overall, the original objectives of the project have been met in full and the potential for future projects that will attract tourism to Drogheda has been established.