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The Social
A visual record of Friday night dances and the stories that go with them
The Social - Image by Hazel Greene.jpg

It used to be the way! The social life of the Church of Ireland youth was conducted around ‘The Social’.  


Friday night dances, overseen by the parents of the parish, to which people would travel probably 40 miles.  There are very few photographs, posters or imagery of any sort from these ‘coming of age’ occasions.


Through this project, we will create a visual record of those times to capture the atmosphere and the norms.  Award winning artist, Hazel Greene will work with the south Offaly parishes, meeting each group to explore the subject and to collect materials and memories.  The ‘youth’ who are the subject of this project are now 60+ and happy to reminisce.  

Hazel sees the end result as a collation of images, many will be created in response to the stories collected from the groups with the final collation presented at a gathering of the people involved in the project and stakeholders.  
The finished show will then be available for viewing on Birr Theatre website channel for future reference. 

Artist, Hazel Greene, has works in State and Heritage collections, is a member of Visual Artists Ireland, Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, Council of Irish Fashion Designers and former Visual Arts Coordinator of Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival.
She has taught painting within the community and continues to do so from her own studio. 
Greene was previously involved in collating and typesetting the book ‘200 Years : St. Mary’s Church of Ireland Shinrone’ published 2020 and the 2016 exhibition ‘A Woman of Strength’ recording the life of Kathleen Kingston.

On the 18th of October 2023, Hazel revealed the video that documented the whole project to an audience made of participants, funders and public members gathered at Birr Theatre & Arts Centre.

This movie features her depictions of the fashion mentioned by the participants in their recollections of The Socials and a tailor made soundtrack evocative of the times gone by, by Trevor Kelly.


 "The Social" is a heartfelt tribute to a cherished past, a celebration of community, and a reminder of the passage of time. Hazel Greene managed to breathe life into the participants memories history and create a tool to transmit this under-documented experience to a younger generation.

Looking back on the project artist, Hazel Greene said  “Memories and stories were shared with lots of laughter over many cups of tea, followed by one-to-one meetings to explore further and gather photos/invitations.  It was amazing how sharp the memories of the clothing / cars / halls / refreshments / hair styles were once you asked a question.  I found that exploring these norms in conversation, prompted recollection and discussion of personal experiences. The feedback from the participants is very positive and, more surprisingly, the feedback from their families.

"The Social" stands as a testament to the power of art to illuminate the past and connect us to the essence of our shared human experience.

This project is supported by Offaly County Council Creative Ireland Community Project 2023

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