Tuesday 12 December 2017

End of an era: Southsiders bid farewell to Wes as much-loved disco site gets a facelift

The Old Wesley Disco Hall is being torn down.
The Old Wesley Disco Hall is being torn down.
The Old Wesley Disco Hall is being torn down.
Emily MacKeogh
Holly Keating

Laura Larkin and Eimear Rabbitt

The famous Old Wes disco will be forever changed as its original venue is getting a major facelift.

The clubhouse attached to the Old Wesley rugby club in Donnybrook has hosted the much-loved disco, which has long been a staple in the social scene of the south Dublin teens.

Emily MacKeogh
Emily MacKeogh

However, now the club have begun demolishing part of the building, as work is set to begin on a refurbished clubhouse.

Many Dubliners will have fond memories of their first night on the tiles or their first romances in the hall that hosted the once-weekly event.

Images showing the partial destruction of the Dublin 4 venue are sure to stir nostalgia in many, including some of the well-known faces who attended the disco as teens.

Dublin model turned jewellery company owner Emily MacKeogh was a regular at the popular haunt, attending both the Wes junior and senior discos in her time. The former pupil of Muckross Park College has some fond memories of her adventures on the Wesley nightclub scene, not to mention a few embarrassing encounters.

Holly Keating
Holly Keating

"I grew up in Donnybrook, which is just around the corner from Wes so myself and my friends used to get ready at my house," Emily told the Herald.

On one memorable occasion daring Emily got more than she bargained for when she attended the disco without telling her parents.

"One time when we were 15, we were caught out as we hadn't told our parents that we were going to Wes.

"Then my cousin turned up and had our names called out over the speaker system telling us that we had to leave.

"You can imagine how embarrassed you would be in front of all of your friends at that age," laughed the owner of Crystals and Co jewellery.

"I dropped my boyfriend's sister to a disco a few weeks ago and I couldn't believe how much older they all looked with their professional make-up and new outfits.

"It's very different to the kind of stuff we used to wear," added Emily.

Bray beauty Holly Keating has some fond memories of attending the popular teen disco.

"We used to hang out in Foxrock before going to Wes and then we would usually stay in [my friend's] house and get collected by our dads," Holly said.

"That was when we were about 15 and we would go to junior Wes - it was our haunt."

"We also went to the older Wes a few years later and we always had great fun checking out the nice rugby boys," added the 26-year-old.

The rugby club declined to comment on the future of the disco.

Planning documents show that the new clubhouse will include extended changing and training facilities and use of the function room for members and guests for entertainment purposes.

In a letter submitted with a planning application on behalf of the club in March 2015 the club said it needed to "re-invent itself".

"The club now finds itself under increasing pressure to maintain its place within the game.

"Dwindling membership is threatening to render the club's critical mass unsustainable … to survive the club must re-invent itself," the letter reads.

The club plans to provide "a wide range of health and leisure facilities".


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