Irish Dance _ Irish Music by aihaozhe2


									The beginning of traditional Irish music in Ireland is somewhat vague, as songs,
music and lyrics were only passed down orally from one generation to the next,
mainly in rural areas. It is said that there were thousands of ballads and Irish songs
ever before people began writing them down! Most Irish songs and ballads reflected
what was going on in the country at the time, so a lot of the songs that we sing today
are steeped in history.

Long ago you'd usually only hear Irish music being played in peoples homes, but after
1920 (when Ireland gained its independence from Great Britain) Irish music
flourished and crossroads dancing became very popular. It drew people from near and
far and soon became the main social event in the area.

During the 1930's, the 'Dance Hall' was where you could enjoy Irish music and dance.
The 'Ceil Band' also emerged during this time.

In 1951, Comhaltas Ceoltir Eireann was set up to encourage traditional Irish music.
This group created the Fleadh Ceoil Festival which is still held in various locations in
modern day Ireland. By now traditional Irish music was a part of everyday living and
became even more popular due to music programs on the airwaves.

The main instruments used in Irish music are the tin whistle, the accordion, the
concertina, the uilleann pipes, the flute, the bodhrn, the banjo, the mouth organ, the
piano, the fiddle and of course the harp. The harp was a very popular musical
instrument in ancient Ireland and it's even said that Irish monks in the 6th century
took their harps abroad when they travelled to Europe.

Of course, it's impossible to talk about Irish music and not mention Irish dancing, as
the two go hand-in-hand! It's said that Irish traditional music was mainly invented to
accompany dancing but it's also said that Irish dancing became a way of enjoying
Irish music.

Traditional Irish dances include reels, hornpipes and jigs. These step dances
originated from "Sean-Ns" dancing which was an old style/version of dancing in
Ireland and there are many variations of them depending on what dance school you
learn from.

Other popular Irish dances include cil dancing and polka sets. Cil dances can involve
many people dancing to Irish music at the same time. Dances like this include the
"Walls of Limerick", "Shoe the Donkey" or the "Siege of Ennis".

Irish set dancing is hugely popular all over the world and features a set of eight
dancers (four couples). Sets can be different from one area to the next for example, in
Ireland we have the Corofin Plain Set, the Clare Lancers Set and the Connemara Set
to name a few.
Thanks to productions such as Riverdance, Irish music and dance have become loved
all over the world, and it has even created many spin-offs like "Lord of the Dance"
and "Celtic Storm".

Irish dancing is alive and well in Ireland today. You'll find cls the length and breath of
the country in halls or even in the local pub! Most towns in Ireland have their own
schools of dance, which hold weekly classes in Irish dancing and some welcome
beginners and visitors!

When you visit Ireland, make sure you go to a cil where you'll enjoy a great night of
traditional Irish music and dance. Dont pass up the opportunity to join in, as Irish
dancing is great fun!

No matter where you are in Ireland, you're sure to come across a session. If you join
in with the locals you'll experience something that is truly "Irish". Or you can just sit
back with your favourite tipple and take it all in. A lot of pubs have live traditional
Irish music at the weekend, so browse our list and find somewhere you can enjoy a
session. Don't forget to be part of it, mingle with the locals, make friends, and above
all enjoy the atmosphere and the "craic".

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