Feis Glendarragh, Nottingham

Feis Glendarragh, Nottingham Leah Staunton (Brooks Academy) won the U7 mixed championship.
Leah Staunton (Brooks Academy) won the U7 mixed championship.

Feis Glendarragh, Nottingham with John Egan

Aidan and Helen Comerford formed the Glendarragh Academy in the Midlands over 30 years ago. Their feis is one of the popular stalwarts in the Midlands dancing calendar and is now in its 26th year.

In recent years, daughter Ciara has been added as another qualified teacher to the academy.

Feis Glendarragh, Nottingham Gracie-Lea Lynch (Inis Cara) won the U10 prelim championship.
Gracie-Lea Lynch (Inis Cara) won the U10 prelim championship.

Over the years the academy has had successes at all major championships including over ten world solo championship titles.

I was curious about Glendarragh as a title for their feis and academy before Aidan informed me that ‘We spent some time researching the name in Trinity College library. Darragh was a high chieftain from the glen in our ancestral area and we thought this formation of Glendarragh was a good Celtic sounding name that was more appropriate than using our family names of Comerford and Harrison in the school title, like so many other schools do’.

In its 26 year history the feis had been held in different venues in the East Midlands but in recent years it found a new home in the magnificent newly built Becket School in West Bridgford, Nottingham, just a short bowl down the road from the famous cricket test ground of Trent Bridge.


Sourcing good venues like this is a continuing problem for many feis organisers. Dancers and their families are always conscious of location, location, location and are influenced by issues such as a good stage, availability of practice and changing areas, sufficient seating areas for family audience, and good food.


A more contentious and sensitive issue among some outspoken dancer sections is the perception of adjudicator bias. From birth we are all imbued with a sense of fairness and sometimes find difficulty in not being awarded the top spot.

This is an issue that will rattle on in the greater world of Irish dancing long after my own demise, but I am confident that it is not an issue that will ever raise its ugly head in connection with Feis Glendarragh.

It is a feis that I know has always received good feedback and this year even more so. This must be very satisfying as so much work is done behind the scenes prior to the event by the organisers and by the contribution of parents to its smooth running.

Find out more on the Glendarragh website.


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