‘Immoral, vulgar and disgusting’: the Irish campaign against jazz

Back in the 1930s, Ireland was gripped by a moral panic about the evils of the foxtrot and the shimmy. Author Emma Warren tells the story of the clampdown against dancehalls, which were once considered the scenes of ‘orgies of dissipation’

Controversy: Richard Clements and Lisa Lambe of the Abbey Theatre’s 2017 production Jimmy’s Hall visit the site of the original hall and the ruin of Jimmy Gralton’s home in Effrinagh, Co Leitrim. Photo by Brian Farrell

Emma Warren

Priests and politicians tried to control the foxtrot and the shimmy in the Ireland of the 1930s.