On New Year's Day 1934, Fr. Conifrey led a march through Mohill, County Leitrim, in which demonstrators shouted "down with jazz" and "out with paganism" and called on the government to close the dance halls and ban all foreign dances in Ireland.
De Valera sent a representative to the rally and wrote a letter of support.
Jazz, the campaign argued, was "abominable" music that originated in central Africa and was exported to the West by "a gang of wealthy Bolshevists in the USSR to strike at church civilisation throughout the world."
Jazz was an "engine of hell" deployed to do the devil's work. The Gaelic League weighed in on the day with an attack on then-Minister of Finance Seán MacEntee, who, in allowing jazz to be broadcast on Radio Eireann, was "selling the musical soul of the nation for the dividends of sponsored jazz programmes.
This documentary looks back at that anti jazz campaign.
Try listening to this program without imagining it made into a comedy film. The
mono-manical Fr. Conifrey, driven mad by the sounds of the Charleston, trying to
enforce "good, decent IRISH music"; dragging the Irish government into the fray,
and luring 3,000 Leitrim residents on a chilly New Year's Day march (shudder).
Comedy gold, low-hanging fruit - hanging right there, suspended in front of the
faces of film-makers.
Yeah yeah you're right, we need to make another 734 XMen and Spidermen movies first.