A friend of mine and I are going to Ireland (from the U.S.) for our first time in October.  Both of us are long-time traditional dancers from the U.S. and are hoping to find some places where we can participate in some sean 'nos dancing and set or ceilidh dances while in Ireland.  

We are more interested in local traditional culture than tourist sites.  We are more hoping to find some informal sessions where we might be able to dance or some local dances.  

We know we will be in Dublin, but are just now planning the rest of the trip.  Any and all suggestions or tips will be appreciated 

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A Rasby, a chara,

I'm always happy to find people who are interested in the culture of Ireland and the music and dance in that culture.  I'm sure I don't know all the local trad dance and music gatherings in Ireland, but here are a few that I and my girlfriend visit regularly.

The Sliabh Luachra area, despite its well known music and dance, has very few tourists.  On Monday nights the local musicians gather for a session in the back part of  Scully's Pub, Newmarket, Co Cork.  Timmy O'Connor, box player leads, and occasionally some people will do a set (polka set).  The musicians may also play a waltz or barn dance.  You may have to ask about a set, because they may dance only when we come in the summer.  Stay at Scanlon's in town.

On Wed nights in Doyle's Fairfield Tavern in Knocknagree  local musicians will play for the polka set and the jig set.  (The later set is called the Jenny Ling by outsiders but don't say that in Doyle's; you will be promptly corrected.)  This session begins after 10:00 pm.

On Fri and Sun nights in the Bridge Bar, Port Magee, Kerry, a couple of (hired but local) musicians will play for several sets, some local, some general revival sets found anywhere.

There's local music to be found in Spiddle (Spide/al), Conamara, Co. Galway.  There are no sets danced here, but waltzes or barn dance music gets played.  And if you do sean nos step dancing this is the place.  I think musicians will enjoy you dancing to their music.  Several pubs in Spide/al and in the vicinity have sessions.

In Donegal we love to hear music and possibly dance a Donegal couples dance or two in Roarty's, in Gleann Cholm Cille, in the southwest corner of the county.  There are no local sets.  I'm sure there are other pubs with music in the region also, maybe in Ardara or Teelin or Carrick.

We will be dancing our way up and down the west coast from July 9 to Aug 16, attending one festival, Scully's Fest in Newmarket, the 2nd weekend in Aug.  I've not been in these areas in Oct, so I don't really know what's actually happening at the time.  Check out Bill Lynch's Set dancing News for more info.  Be open to quick changes of plans and you'll have a great time,

Sla/n anois,

Michael Collier

As one of my English friends has taught me to say, Ay Up Michael,

What great information.  I am so excited to hear from you and will put all of these events on my list to check out. 

And thanks for yet another new vocabulary word for me.  I'm loving picking up the phrases, and a chara has such a beautiful ring to it as does your closing which there is no way I can pronounce :)  

Thanks so very much for your detailed list of dances and places.  Perhaps we will run into you in one of these places?  That would be such a treat.  

My deepest gratitude,

Rasby



Michael Collier said:

A Rasby, a chara,

I'm always happy to find people who are interested in the culture of Ireland and the music and dance in that culture.  I'm sure I don't know all the local trad dance and music gatherings in Ireland, but here are a few that I and my girlfriend visit regularly.

The Sliabh Luachra area, despite its well known music and dance, has very few tourists.  On Monday nights the local musicians gather for a session in the back part of  Scully's Pub, Newmarket, Co Cork.  Timmy O'Connor, box player leads, and occasionally some people will do a set (polka set).  The musicians may also play a waltz or barn dance.  You may have to ask about a set, because they may dance only when we come in the summer.  Stay at Scanlon's in town.

On Wed nights in Doyle's Fairfield Tavern in Knocknagree  local musicians will play for the polka set and the jig set.  (The later set is called the Jenny Ling by outsiders but don't say that in Doyle's; you will be promptly corrected.)  This session begins after 10:00 pm.

On Fri and Sun nights in the Bridge Bar, Port Magee, Kerry, a couple of (hired but local) musicians will play for several sets, some local, some general revival sets found anywhere.

There's local music to be found in Spiddle (Spide/al), Conamara, Co. Galway.  There are no sets danced here, but waltzes or barn dance music gets played.  And if you do sean nos step dancing this is the place.  I think musicians will enjoy you dancing to their music.  Several pubs in Spide/al and in the vicinity have sessions.

In Donegal we love to hear music and possibly dance a Donegal couples dance or two in Roarty's, in Gleann Cholm Cille, in the southwest corner of the county.  There are no local sets.  I'm sure there are other pubs with music in the region also, maybe in Ardara or Teelin or Carrick.

We will be dancing our way up and down the west coast from July 9 to Aug 16, attending one festival, Scully's Fest in Newmarket, the 2nd weekend in Aug.  I've not been in these areas in Oct, so I don't really know what's actually happening at the time.  Check out Bill Lynch's Set dancing News for more info.  Be open to quick changes of plans and you'll have a great time,

Sla/n anois,

Michael Collier

A Rasby, a chara,

I know only a little Gaeilge, but it comes in handy to understand place names and some aspects of Hiberno-English.  I don't seem to have the fada symbol available; at least I haven't found it.  So I use the slash / after a long vowel.  

For the words I used in the email and I apologize if you already know this, 'a' is a vocative particle, 'chara' is the vocative of cara, friend.  I love this Irish greeting in letters/email because it is not gender specific.  It could save some embarassment.

Sla/n, pronounced like slawn, translates to 'health'.  The Irish use it in goodbyes and of course it's the basis of slainte (slawntcha, approximately).  Anois, (anish), translates to 'now'.

I hope this helps a little.

Sla/n anois,

Michael (Michea/l [Mihaul], as Gaeilge)

Michael,

Thanks so very much for the explanation.  I don't know any Gaeilge at all and can barely remember the Spanish and Italian I took in school.  So it will be fun picking up at least a few phrases.  

Cheers, 

Rasby 

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