Irish dancing: Leinster Championships

Irish dancing Leinster Championships
Sarah Godfrey (Bernie O’Sullivan school) won the age 20 championship; Joanne Furlong 2nd (Furness school), Charlie Doolin 3rd (Foley Acad), Celine Zimmermann 4th (Greenwood school), Nicole O’Neill 5th (The Academy).

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.

Irish dancing Leinster Championships
In the age 15 prelim championship, podium places went to Emma Cox 1st (Ward school), Ally Heffernan 2nd (Josephine Mahon school), Lauren Malcolm 3rd (Seven Towers), Abbie Duffy 4th (Doyle Halpin), Rebecca McDonald 5th (Seven Towers).

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.

Irish dancing Leinster Championships
Aoife Mulligan of More Irish Dance won the age 15 open championship; Charlie McSweeney 2nd (More Irish Dance), Lois Porter 3rd (Royal Tara), Elland Collier 4th (Jordan Acad), Ally Heffernan 5th (Josephine Mahon school).

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 .

Irish dancing Leinster Championships
In the age 15 inter reel championship, podium places went to Niamh Martin 1st (Lawless Acad), Emily Walsh 2nd (Foley Acad), Aine Whelan 3rd (Behan Acad), Niamh Phelan 4th (Behan Acad), Niamh Donovan 5th (Bradley school).

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.

Irish dancing Leinster Championships
Some of the Bradley school’s younger dancers.

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


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