Ireland Folk Dancing Highlights Tour
Appreciate the best of Irish folk dancing with a road trip taking in the best destinations for traditional dancing. Begin your Irish folk dancing tour in Dublin, which is definitely the best place to enjoy folk dancing shows in pubs and other venues. Then stop over at Kilkenny, which hosts a Celtic Festival that includes top folk dancers, before heading to Cork, where the International Folk Dance Festival showcases unique regional styles from all over the world.
Fantastic Folk Dancing
Irish folk dancing has become renowned world-wide, due to popular dancing Celtic shows such as Lord of the Dance and Riverdance. Lines of step dancers in perfect sync with each other are mesmerising to watch. Accompanied by the rousing beats of traditional Irish jigs and reels, professional dancers’ feet move at awe-inspiring speeds.
Folk dancing in Ireland dates back more than two thousand years, as the ancient Celts arrived from Europe and brought with them their circle dances, which influence the traditional ring dances today. There are several different types of folk dancing and many different complex dances. Sean-ns Dancing is a traditional form which developed alongside folk music and features a more relaxed upper body and improvised steps: this style can be seen all over Ireland, but is particularly popular in Connemara.
Another variety of folk dancing is cil dances, complex social dances that may include up to sixteen dancers, or even an unlimited number of couples in a circle or line. Step dancing is the formalised and competitive form of Irish dancing, that can be seen at the major dance festivals across the country. Shows featuring performances of this famous style of dance are immensely popular, and there are also many venues in Ireland where you too can try out this distinctive and energetic folk dancing. Dancing is at the heart of Irish tradition and culture, and you’ll be captivated and delighted at the vibrant and skilful dancing shows around the country.
Dublin is undoubtedly the best place in Ireland to view Irish folk dancing performances. Several shows operate all year round featuring dancing, and some are dinner shows pairing Irish music and dance with the region’s delicious traditional cuisine. Pubs often incorporate Irish dancers into their entertainment, so check local schedules for events.
The Barn at Dublin’s Abbey Tavern showcases the best Irish dancing, accompanied by top traditional musicians and singers. The tavern also hosts a typical Irish dinner while you enjoy watching the energetic dancers. Another unique folk dancing experience in Dublin is the Irish House Party, where musicians and dancers host visitors in a welcoming, homely setting. An evening at the House Party is a brilliant introduction to Irish culture, and you can just watch the lively dancers and singers or even try out some simple dance moves yourself.
Dublin’s Merry Ploughboys features one of the longest running dance shows in Ireland. National and World Champion Irish Dancers perform at the show, so you can be sure you’re witnessing the very best of Irish dancing, and the audience can also get involved in the high-energy performance.
Lively Dance Festivals
Lively dance festivals across Ireland provide a platform for top dancers to show off their talents, and the wonderful atmosphere at these events adds to a brilliant experience for those who want to see brilliant Irish folk dancing.
One such festival is the Cork International Dance Festival, which brings together dance groups from all over the globe as well as Ireland. Dancers from as far afield as Georgia, Hungary, Mexico and Poland come to showcase their unique regional styles, and many local Irish groups also display their talents.
The lovely town of Killarney hosts a major traditional music each year, which also caters for folk dance fans. The Gathering includes workshops on set dancing, sean-ns dancing by day and a cil each night. Kilkenny also holds the Celtic Festival, which is centred on all aspects of Ireland’s Celtic traditions and history. The festival features both international and local Irish dancers in a variety of exciting events and shows.