(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 web site: http://www.clrg.ie/english/home.php
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 your future!
Now…about those costumes and wigs! (It was not like that back in my day!)