This month is the ideal opportunity to find out if you have two left feet with the many Irish Dance celebrations going on in London for St Patrick’s Day!
Learn how in Good Company!
To kickstart the long weekend, the place to be on Thursday 14th March from 7pm is O’Neill’s Irish Bar in Wardour Street, London W1. The event is ‘Join the Jig’, an attempt on the world record for the most people dancing a jig together – anyone can join in and they’ve laid on people to teach the prospective dancers the steps. O’Neills says it can hold 900 people so there could well be a lot of learner dancers there.
Dance your Feet Off …
Then, from Friday, the 15th through the big day on Sunday, the 17th you could head on up to Camden Town and the London Irish Centre where they’re hosting the self-proclaimed “Best St Patrick’s Party in London.” Events include a family Céilí (pronounced ‘kaylee’ – an Irish music and dance party) on the Friday, a “BIG Party” on the Saturday and everything from a St Patrick’s Mass (with full Irish breakfast) through a “bacon & cabbage dinner and dance” and an ‘Elders’ Tea Dance and Social’ to a ‘Traditional Irish Concert and Céilí’ on St Patrick’s day itself. If you’re joining in with everything (as 1,500 people did last year) I shouldn’t plan on still having the use of your feet by the Monday!
Prefer to be a Spectator?
The biggest event in London on the big day (good old British weather permitting!) is bound to be the Mayor’s St Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival, starting at Green Park at 12pm and finishing at Trafalgar Square, where the dance displays will share the limelight with music, comedy and a food market – over 100,000 people spent the day there in 2012! A highlight of the parade will be a ‘puca’, a 36-metre-long inflatable dragon, brought to London by Irish artists Bui Bolg. You can even join in the family section of the parade yourself if you wish – contact the organisers at email@example.com to get an application form.
For an Irish event (for which, read ‘I expected almost everything to be green!’), last year’s parade was surprisingly colorful – and multi-cultural, although even I was surprised to see a Hari Krishna float, and I never did find out who were the bagpipe band in full black and red kilt regalia! Several dance troupes looked as though they would be more at home in New Orleans, or at least Notting Hill – I think my favorite was the young lady in nowt but a gold bikini and green feather wings (in London, in March …).
Keep Up the Good Work!
After such a fantastic weekend you’ll probably have a taste for all that rhythmic jigging, so once you get the use of your feet back, you could go along to one of many regular Irish Dance classes and Céilí held across London – check out in-gb.co.uk/to-learn-irish-dancing as a start – and have fun!
Beryl raises Maine Coon kittens and blows her own trumpet (literally) on the outskirts of London, UK, where she has lived and worked all her life. On St Patrick’s Day, she’ll be playing in a brass band contest and then congratulating a friend on his birthday that day.