The Culture of Irish Dance

The Celts brought their folk dancing with them when they migrated to Ireland over two thousand years ago. Primarily, they would dance as part of their religious rituals, but it then carried over into all kinds of celebrations. From then on, Irish Dancing has evolved tremendously, and is now a world-wide competitive phenomenon.

The attire worn in competition also varies. Each dance school has their own school design that is sewn onto dresses. These dresses are worn in Ceil or Team competitions. In Solo competitions, each dancer has an individually designed dress. The dancer can specify certain details about the dress, such as color, or design, and the dress maker then transforms it into a beautiful dress. Because of the intricacy, time, and energy put into making these dresses, they end up costing sometimes over two thousand dollars.

Interestingly, the origin of the curly wigs worn by Irish Dancers in present-day, dates back hundreds of years. The story that has been passed down from one generation to the next is as follows: Every Sunday, communities in Ireland would go to Church, and would then hold a sort of celebration or festival afterward. The young girls of these communities would curl their hair every Sunday and dress up for Church. During the gatherings after Church, the girls would come together and dance. Their curls would bounce up and down as they hopped and danced around. These Sunday gatherings became a tradition, and the story of the curly hair still remains to this day.


Competitive Irish Dancing has spread all over the world, including the following countries: