Why are the arms down in Irish dancing?

28 09 2013

We loved Ireland. After Morocco – which wasn’t our fave experience, we arrived at the Aer Lingus plane to hear laughter, joking, all in this charming accent like twittering sparrows, and felt a huge sense of relief!
Dublin was great – Sally (Danny’s sister) and Brendan gave us a fantastic intro to Dublin by inviting us to the Bernard Shaw Pub on the first night…..and we just went from there. The ‘Craic’ (the chat, the jokes, the puns, the stories) were fantastic, we laughed and laughed…..Phil felt right at home! An invite for a 30th the next Saturday decied the shape of our stay.

Sunday we experienced Hurling – no not throwing up – its the national game and really quite fast and furious – cool!

We had nearly 2 weeks in total in Ireland, 4 nights at first, then we hired a car and went West to Galway, Connemara, Cararroe….stayed at a wee bed and breakfast place 2 nights at Cararroe (pronounced Carrrrroy), then headed back to Dublin – with a night at Longford –  back to Dublin for Des’s 30th birthday where he was going to have a ‘spelling workshop’!! They love words – the Oirish – and it was a fascinating workshop then a great party!

We stayed another 5 nights in Dublin and had time to explore the city really well.

Went to a museum/collection by the engineer Alfred Chester Beatty where we viewed hundreds of ancient manuscripts and learnt how they were created – fantastic. And the floor with all the religions stuff was amazing – much food for thought there….Christian, Hinduism, Muslim, Jewish, Japanese Shintu, Chinese Buddhism, Tibetan, etc all their worship material – beautiful, and so beautifully representing their particular religious ( and political) aesthetic.

Went to the Irish Dance Museum – and I had to ask – why did Irish dance develop with arms down by the sides?

to the Irish Museum - which was really tiny but I found out about the arms!!

to the Irish Museum – which was really tiny but I found out about the arms!!

The answer – from the horses mouth – the dude at the Museum who was also an Irish dancer ………apparently it all stemmed from the Catholic Church not allowing the sexes to intermingle!!! Surprise, surprise!!
So they would go to dance halls to dance but the girls would be on one side, the boys on the other, and no touching, so arms kept tightly down by the sides!
another thing – yes they did take the doors down and lay them on the dirt floor because they wanted to make sound with their feet, and the doors were small spaces so it made sense to keep the arms in and down there also!!
So there you go!!

And – we got tattoos! Phil had been talking about getting one all through this trip and I’d been thinking about getting a second one on my 60th ( 3 years ago) but never got around to it soooo – here we  were and we liked their aesthetic – so we found a tattoo place and had matching ones done one afternoon. Phil got the artwork and some words meaning ‘Home and Family’ (Baile agus Can Clann) but I just got the artwork PHOTO – ouch that was enough!!!

Dublin is a great town. Hope to go back some time.




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