Reel success as Riverdancers step into record books
'RIVERDANCE' once again catapulted Dublin on to the international stage, with a successful world record attempt.
As part of the 'Riverdance – The Gathering Weekend' festivities, 1,693 people from more than 44 different countries danced their way into the Guinness World Record books by forming the longest 'Riverdance' line in history on the banks of the River Liffey in Dublin. The previous record had been a line formed by 652 dancers in Tennessee.
Starting at the Samuel Beckett Bridge, the dancing troop lined the quay down to the Sean O'Casey Bridge.
Dancers travelled from all over the country, and even from as far afield as Serbia and Chile. At noon yesterday, they all joined hands and danced for a full five minutes.
Just a stone's throw from where it all began, Jean Butler, the 'Riverdance – The Gathering Weekend' ambassador led the 'Riverdance' line on to the Samuel Beckett Bridge.
The dancer-turned-jewellery designer was joined by the current lead dancer of 'Riverdance', Padraic Moyles, to kick off proceedings.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, an overwhelmed Butler said it was her "best day in Dublin so far''.
'Riverdance' made its world debut at the interval of the Eurovision in the Point Theatre, Dublin, in 1994.
"We are so close to the Point, where it all began; we are on the river and it's 'Riverdance', and there are so many people here from different countries. It's pretty amazing," she said.
The New York dancer, whose mother is from Mayo, first achieved acclaim for her dancing prowess when she joined the Chieftains on stage.
She went on to be the lead female dancer with one of Ireland's most famous cultural exports.
However, she ranked the success of yesterday's event as high as that moment on stage almost 20 years ago.
"It's very similar. The energy, and the welcoming crowd. And just the goodwill and the support for Irish dancing, it is just incredible."
Dance schools from across the country made the journey to the capital to claim their place in the history books.
Marese Garrigan (21), of the Lee Byrne Academy in Lucan, Dublin, began Irish dancing at the age of three and was very excited to be part of the event.
"I used to love watching 'Riverdance' when I was younger. It was just something that I wanted to get involved with," she said.