independent

Friday 23 August 2019

Enniscorthy woman Seána reviving the spirit of ancient Irish dancing

The Enniscorthy Sean-Nós Dance Group performing on the top of Enniscorthy Castle to mark the Summer Solstice
The Enniscorthy Sean-Nós Dance Group performing on the top of Enniscorthy Castle to mark the Summer Solstice

Simon Bourke

A form of traditional Irish dancing which had almost completely died out is being revived in Enniscorthy by local woman Seána Redmond. During her time in the Connemara Gaeltacht learning Irish, Seána developed a love for Sean-Nós (old-style) dancing, a type of dance which was popular in early twentieth century Ireland.

'It's very different to traditional Irish dancing,' said Seána. 'Sean-Nós is more freestyle, there's a freedom of movement in it, you just go with the music and your steps are closer to the ground, there's no high flying legs or anything like that. It was danced by the Irish on the decks of the Titanic and many emigration ships hundreds of years ago. It was particularly popular in the cottages in the West of Ireland. Household items such as half barrels, frying pans and brushes were used as props.'

However, with Irish people emigrating in their droves at the turn of the century Sean-Nós dancing gradually became less prominent throughout the country, eventually replaced by the type of routines made famous by Michael Flatley and Riverdance.

But having witnessed its growing popularity in the Western side of the country, Seána is now intent on re-introducing it to Wexford. To this end she has set up an Enniscorthy Sean-Nós Dance Group which, since its creation in September of last year, has grown in popularity with 25 members meeting up on a weekly basis at the Old Church Theatre for both adult and kids classes.

In a special event to mark the Summer Solstice, the group gathered on top of Enniscorthy Castle and showcasing their skills in front of a rapt audience. Featuring musical arrangements on the tin whistle and Sean-Nós dances the performance provided the perfect backdrop for an evening long associated with ancient Ireland.

Enniscorthy Guardian

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