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Traditional Irish Dance ICH Experiences

10 February 2021 | By Newry, Mourne and Down District Council

Image | Traditional Irish Dancers - Celtic Storm Irish Dancers

Spotlight on intangible cultural heritage providers

Country of Origin: Northern Ireland
Atlantic CultureScape ICH Partner Cluster: Newry, Mourne & Down District Council
Intangible Cultural Heritage type: Performing arts / Dance

Josephine Brennan King has been involved in Irish Dancing all her life. From the beginnings of a small class in a rural parochial Hall in Co. Down, to travelling the world as Michael Flatley’s Principal Dancer and Dance Captain, in the world-renowned show, “Lord of the Dance”, Irish Dance has played an intrinsic part and central role in Josephine’s life. Now located in Northern Ireland, Josephine is the Dance Director of the Celtic Storm Irish Dancers, training the next generation of Irish dancers from tiny tots right up to world contenders and then onto professional show dancers.

Through participating in the Atlantic CultureScape Project (Northern Ireland Cluster) Josephine is developing Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) Experiences due to be available to visitors later in the year. Located in Downpatrick at Denvir’s Coaching Inn, her Traditional Irish Dance ICH Experiences will encapsulate the history of Irish Dance and its journey into the modern day, bringing the Celtic Ceili to life.

About Traditional Irish Dancing:
Centuries ago, in Ireland people would gather at the crossroads, in houses and eventually in parochial halls to entertain themselves with music, song and dance.  Irish Dance and Music has a wonderfully rich history and dates back to the time of the Celts and the druids and the County Down area has given rise to some of the most revered Dance Masters.  The dances taught by these Dance Masters have their origins steeped in the County Down landscape and these dances are still performed today. The word “Ceili” in its rawest form means a gathering and Josephine, through her ICH Experiences, will promote and transmit the fun and engagement of the Ceili with the skills of the dancer past and present, along with the artistry and tradition of the Dance Master. 

Traditional Irish Dancers - Northern Ireland
Traditional Irish Dancers outside Denvirs Coaching Inn

About the Atlantic CultureScape ICH Experiences being developed:
In the intimate surroundings of Denvir’s Coaching Inn, the oldest Coaching Inn in Ireland dating back to 1642, Josephine will keep the living tradition of Irish Dancing alive by presenting a rich, vibrant, and diverse show of Irish Dance and traditional music and delivering a workshop, teaching the steps, the movements, and the dances just like the traditional Dance Master did.

Josephine will offer two Traditional Irish Dance ICH Experiences:

  • Experience 1: The Celtic Ceili Dinner Show will take you on a journey.  From dancing at the crossroads to the global phenomenon of “Riverdance” and “Lord of the Dance”, the Traditional Irish Dance Experience keeps the tradition of music and dance alive.  The History, The Heritage and The Hooley is what brings this ICH Experience to life.  Guests will not only see the living tradition of Irish Dancing, music, and song, but they will get to immerse themselves in it.  They can learn the steps to the Ceili swing and the brush dance, experience the pulsating rhythms and try out a traditional dance shoe for themselves.  The Celtic Ceili Dinner Show is the living tradition of Irish Dancing with all its richness, vibrancy, diversity, and history. Our audience will certainly take a little bit of Ireland home with them.

The Hooley is the craic, the dancing, the laughter and everything that goes with experiencing the Traditional Irish Dances in a Ceili atmosphere.

  • Experience 2: The Celtic Ceili Workshop will be two hour Irish Dance Experience teaching you how to master Irish Dance steps old and new. From the old-style basic movements of rocks, clicks, and swings to the iconic rhythms and movements showcased on the global stages of “Riverdance” and “Lord of the Dance”, our groups will sample it all. The History and Heritage will be delivered all through the fun of the Hooley.

The two Traditional Irish Dance ICH Experiences;The Celtic Ceili Dinner Show, and the Celtic Ceili Workshop, play a vital role in keeping Irish Dance and music, which are intrinsically linked, alive and flourishing.From the crossroads to the Dance Masters to the world stage, the Traditional Irish Dance ICH Experiences really do capture The History – The Heritage – The Hooley of Irish Dance.

Contact Josephine at

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