Twenty-one years since Riverdance's jaw-dropping Eurovision debut, the novelty of watching indigenous clog-clopping re-worked into a Vegas-style spectacular remains profound. And make no mistake, spectacular is exactly what Michael Flatley's farewell production – he choreographed the show and makes a triumphant appearance towards the end – aims to be.
There's a winningly ludicrous plot, involving a glow-in-the-dark villain, possibly inspired by Balor of the Evil Eye from Celtic legend, and singing from former former Girl Aloud Nadine Coyle (what next? Zayn Malik as half-time All Ireland Final entertainment?).
But, as with Riverdance, the driving force is the hoofing – frantic, sometimes almost martial in its severity (had anyone involved cracked a smile they would surely have combusted on the spot). Obviously with extravaganzas of this nature – Cirque Du Soleil by way of Bunratty Castle – a whiff of silliness is inevitable. Then, Lord of the Dance is as epic as it is ridiculous and, provided you leave your incredulity at the coat stand, giddily enjoyable to boot.
The evening began with an outbreak of cooing over a hologram of Flatley's young son trying to push a clock-hand towards midnight. He was joined by a video-projection of the dancer, who tipped the clock to twelve, ushering in an sugar-rush of stomping, pirouetting and a candy-cane visual sensibility owing more to Willy Wonka than the Book of Kells.
Enthusiastic throughout, the crowd turned truly wild when Flately himself emerged. It was weirdly winning moment – and poignant too, as Flatley's father had passed away just a few days earlier. Above all, it was a reminder that, though his toes twinkle as brightly as ever, rock-star charisma has always been Flatley's greatest asset.