World Championships of Irish Dancing

Irish dance Image by Shelly Allen Art

(Belfast, Northern Ireland) The World Championships of Irish Dance, which this year took place in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has just wrapped up. While many people in America associate Irish dancing with The Lord of the Dance-type spectacles, Irish dancing has been alive and well for decades before anyone ever heard of the name Michael Flatley.

For serious Irish dancers, this is the top-notch event of the year. I can’t even begin to describe the dedication, preparation, and training the dancers at this level have.

This year in Belfast, there were more than 4,000 competitors from all over the world. If you are interested in seeing the results, you can check the following website:

For someone who grew up Irish dancing (I started before I knew how to read or write at age 5, and continued on as a teacher of my own Irish dancing school until just a few years ago), I can attest to the positive influence it can have on one’s life.

My very first time on an airplane was flying with a team of dancers to compete in a competition known as a “feis.” And my first-ever trip overseas was to Dublin, Ireland…where I competed in my first World Championships. My team took second place, and it was one of the best moments in my life. It is what prompted me to study in Ireland for a year during college and to later work for the Irish American Cultural Institute in NYC. It was the beginning of my life-long love of travel and hunger to learn about and share in other cultures. It taught me that dedication and sacrifice are necessary in order to make your dreams a reality. It is WHY I am a travel writer & photographer.

So, to all of this year’s competitors…I hope you had fun, and may your experience lead you to great success in the future!

Now…about those costumes and wigs! (It was not like that back in my day!)

Dance on,


3 thoughts on “World Championships of Irish Dancing

  1. Thank you for the personal account on Irish dance. The wigs and ueber make up had me a little apprehensive, (my daughter started dance two years ago.) Our school, (I started dancing, too!), doesn’t prime our dancers for the wigs and pagentry aspect. There are some classic schools.

  2. I have done Irish Dancing for nearly ten years and till this day I stil absalutely LOVE it!! It has become apart of me and who I am and what people recognise me for. Myself and my mother have put in an enormous amount of time, money and effort and I would not change it for the world! Yes the wigs and the amount of make up can be off putting for people on the outside who don’t really know about Irish Dancing but its like anything else, you change and adapt and it simply becomes apart of the sport! No questions asked. However, I would agree at the fact that small children of the ages of five years are starting to plaster on the make up and fake tan, that is something which I am against. They are young children who don’t need to grow up so fast, plus I think that there is simply no need for it. If a dancer is good then judge them on their foot work and not by the amount of make up they wear. Especially whenever they are only five years old! However, like I said, its like any sport, it is just something that people get used to. Plus people are complaining about how children these days are getting so fat because of the lack of excerise they do. Irish Dancing is one of the best forms of excersie there is imaginable, if you don’t want to do the competition side of it fine. But if you do it for the fitness then I guarantee you, you will see the benfits of it within 3-4 weeks. But don’t just take my word for it! Try it and see!

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