“In life, as in dance, grace glides on blistered feet.”
One of my favorite jobs at Feis America is getting to spend time with the three generations who often accompany competitive Irish dancers to events. There are not many athletic pursuits or pastimes that draw extended families together and it’s worth celebrating!
It follows, of course, that the month of March-with dance-outs, parades and performances all across North America-is also a celebration which extends to several generations and friends, too. Reunions take place, lost souls are honored, stories are exchanged, babies are introduced and photos are shared almost instantly.
The connection we Irish Americans have with one another is not unique; other cultures are known for their family gatherings too. What continues to astound me, however, is the connection we Irish Americans have with Ireland herself. The desire of North American dance families to get to the All Ireland Championships or Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne (World Championships) means a journey back ‘home,’ even if the family is two or three generations removed from an Irish birthplace!
The opportunity to study, travel and explore Irish culture is a goal of nearly every dancer and their non-dancing siblings I meet. I encourage families to make the most of any trip to Ireland to include a roadtrip ‘off the beaten path.’
The Irish Life Experience is a tremendous opportunity to reinforce that connection with Ireland, while promoting our American ties there on the Emerald Isle.
For all of our great grandparents or grandparents who emigrated and could never look back, your experience in Ireland honors the sentiment and beauty of what they left behind to make a better life.
Your only obligation is to bring back stories to inspire a new generation to make the journey themselves!
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day from North America’s favorite Irish dancing magazine, Feis America!
***Thank you so much Kathleen for your wonderful article! Kathleen O’Reilly-Wild is the founding publisher and editor in chief of the consumer niche magazine, Feis America, published in Connecticut. Feis America is a bi-monthly full color celebration of everything related to Irish dance in North America and beyond and serves a market of more than 150,000 Irish dance students and their teachers, parents, families and fans with articles, competition followups, results, health, adult Irish dancing, first feis, sights, sounds, feis music, feis world, and directory of trusted events and resources for Irish dance enthusiasts around the world. If you would like more information or would like to subscribe to Feis America, visit their website: www.feisamerica.com, become a fan on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter.***
Excellent article Kathleen. All of us Irish dancers feel drawn to Ireland, whether we hail from there or not. It becomes a part of our culture and a goal for every one of us to experience the land for ourselves. I hope to someday have stories of my own to tell.
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