Leinster Championships in Ashbourne, County Meath
By John Egan
It felt good to be back in the ould country again, this time for the Cumann Rince Dea Mheasa (CRDM) Leinster Championships at the Pillo Hotel in Ashbourne, Co Meath.
Dance competitions kicked off in the hotel’s ballroom shortly after midday on day one and almost a thousand dancers trod the boards until the final evening of this three-day event, hosted by the Doyle Halpin school of Irish dancing.
Dancers came from all over Ireland, UK , Isle of Man and USA. I met dancers from the Daly school in New Jersey, USA, who made the long journey to Ireland for the first time because they wanted to experience Irish dancing in its natural habitat .
I also met Yolanda Shang, age five, whose family hails from Shenyang in China. She won first place in her championship reel. I sense that little Yolanda is the tip of an iceberg of a dancing population from immigrant families who are keen to take up the art form and who will go on to develop skills and even raise standards over the years to come.
The CRDM dance organisation has come a long way from its relatively recent birth in 2002.
It has developed structurally, numerically and in membership. In addition to regional oireachtais it also holds its own All Ireland Championships and World Championships.
Information about the organisation and its future feiseanna and oireachtais can be found on CRDM.ie.