Irish Set Dancing Classes Dance Class Dublin Ireland
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Irish Set Dancing Classes: Lessons in Dublin City, North and South

Weekly Irish Set Dancing classes in Dublin City. Everyone welcome, no experience needed. It's really great fun, good exercise and a great way to socalise.

Classes typically run from the second week of September each year, until the end of May the following year. During the Summer months, many of the class participants meet up at one or other of the many great festivals in various locations around the country.

Next class:

  • Tuesday Morning: Dublin South (this class was previously held on a Wednesday morning and may return to a Wednesday in the future)
    Function Room, The Glenside Pub,
    Landscape Road, Churchtown, Dublin 14 D14 KC58 South Dublin
    Next class: Wed 26th Feb 2020 11am to 1pm
    click here for map      more info

  • Tuesday Evening: Dublin South
    Tuesdays: Our Lady's National School Clonskeagh,
    St Columbanus Road,
    Dublin 14 D14 N8H4 South Dublin
    Next class: Tue 25th Feb 2020 8pm to 10pm
    click here for map      more info

  • Wednesday Evening: Dublin City North
    The Edmund Hall, St. Mary's College, Marino Institute of Education
    Charlemont, Griffith Avenue, Drumcondra / Marino, Dublin 9 D09 R232 Dublin City North
    Next class: Wed 26th Feb 2020 8pm to 10pm
    click here for map      more info

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Beginners and experienced dancers welcome at all classes. We love to introduce new people to the set dances which have been danced in Ireland for generations - people who never danced before are especially welcome. Go on, give it a try! If you still need convincing, click here to visit our Frequently Asked Questions page
  • You don't need a partner, most people come along on their own.
  • You don't need any special clothing or footwear.
  • You WILL be made very welcome and you will enjoy it!
We look forward to seeing you at the next class.

If you would like to be informed about any updates, please enter your email address below and click "Join Mailing List".

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Set Dancing Classes in Dublin, Ireland:
  • two evenings classes a week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
  • plus one morning class
  • venues Northside and Southside, switch between classes in the different venues any time you like

  • 2 hours of set dancing + half-hour of steps and, if you play an instrument, join in our learner's session at break time
  • 10 euro in total for two and a half hours
  • no experience needed, partner not required, no need to book, just turn up
  • it's really great fun - go on, give it a try!
Click here to join our mailing list.

Visiting Dublin?
If you are visiting Dublin, from abroad, or from elsewhere in Ireland, you are very welcome to join us, even if it's only for a single night. It's a completely different experience when you participate, as compared to being a spectator. The class provides a relaxed and friendly environment in which to enjoy the fun of Irish set dancing. The class runs each year from around the second week in September until the last week in May the following year. Come along and give it a try - note that the taking of photographs or video is not allowed during class.

Mailing List:
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Class Format:
  • During the first half of the night, we teach a set from scratch, starting with the basics. No prior knowledge of dance is assumed or expected. This part of the night is particularly suitable for people who are new to set dancing
  • At around 9 pm, we declare a break, during which you have the option of taking a rest, or, if you play an instrument, you are very welcome to join our Learner's Session.
  • After the break, we typiclly dance through one, two or maybe even three sets, which we have covered previously in class. This gives the "regulars" a chance to put into practice some of the dances that have previously been taught. Newcomers are encouraged to join in, but it's absolutely no problem if you decide to sit out a set. The emphasis is primarily on having a bit of fun and no one takes it in any way seriously if something goes astray.
  • We typically finish off with the same short set each night, currently The Ballyvourney Jig Set, finishing at 10pm
The reason for finishing with the same set each night is that, if you attend regularly, you will know this set "like the back of your hand" and you will be able to dance it "on auto-pilot", without thinking, which is by far the most enjoyable way to dance. We typically stick with the same finish set for many months, so that everyone gets to know it well.

From time-to-time, we occasionally have a night of ceili and two-hand dances instead of set dancing. Ceili dances, such as The Siege of Ennis and The Walls of Limerick and two-hand dances such as Shoe the Donkey and The Stack of Barley are very popular at weddings and other family gatherings and whenever we want to celebrate our Irishness, such as around St. Patrick's Day.

About our Set Dancing Classes:

This website is about Set Dancing classes which take place in Dublin, Ireland. A "set" typically consists of 4 couples, facing each other in a square, whereas Sean Nós is a solo dance, where typically one person takes to the floor to "throw a step". In times past in Ireland, the sets and half-sets were danced in the country farmhouses when neighbours gathered together at harvest time, "American wakes", "joins", or for no reason at all, other than the urge to play music and dance. While house dances still take place in some parts of Ireland, the majority of set dancing and ceili dancing is now done in halls at regular monthly ceilis, festivals and annual local gatherings.

The set dancing classes described in these pages focus on dancing for fun and enjoyment. We are not involved with competition dancing or performance dancing, we dance just for our own enjoyment and it really is great fun!

You don't need a partner to join in, most people come along on their own, but if you can convince others to come along with you, so much the better, the more the merrier!

You are very welcome to join us any time you are available, you will be made very welcome and we guarantee a good night's craic!

Throughout the year, the figures (movements), timing and steps of the popular sets are explained and practised. While experienced dancers are very welcome, no prior knowledge of set dancing is assumed.

The class is mainly about set dancing. However, we may from time-to-time also do some ceili, two-hand, and solo steps (Sean Nós).

Set dancing is really great fun, good exercise and a great way to meet people. The lessons cater for both experienced dancers and beginners and you can join in at any stage. It is not necessary to have a partner, but couples may of course dance together if they wish.

The class provides detailed instructions on the steps, figures and timing for the popular sets and there is ample opportunity for participants to put into practice what has been learned in class. The main emphasis is on dancing for enjoyment and many of the class participants meet up at ceili and festival events throughout the year.

Beginners and experienced dancers are welcome at any time.

It is not necessary to book in advance, just come along.

Clothing and Shoes:

No special clothing is required, just wear whatever you are comfortable in. Although leather-soled shoes are easiest to dance in, your choice of footwear is totally up to you. You don't need special shoes, but if you do decide to invest, make sure not to get "noisy" ones, such as the ones sold for tap dancing, hard-shoe, and other types of solo dance. Whereas solo dancing shoes may have "metalwork" on the heels, toes, and/or soles, set dancing shoes do not require any metal at all on the heels, toes, or sole.

Class Outline:

The aim of the class is to teach the steps, figures and timing for the popular sets, such that dancers who attend regularly will be able to dance a set, without calling.

The content of the class could be roughly broken broken down as follows:
  • Steps:

    Steps will include:
    Reel Step: a step for dancing the reel figures of a set, for example any of the Clare sets
    Jig Step: a step for dancing jig figures, such as the jig figure of the Caledonian, or any of the Clare Plain sets
    Hornpipe Step: a step for dancing the hornpipe figure of a set, often the last figure
    Polka Step: a polka step for dancing polka figueres, such as any of the Cork/Kerry sets
    Connemara Reel Step: a step for dancing the reel figures of the Connemara Set
    Hornpipe Double: a step for dancing the hornpipe "double", such as in the 4th figure of the Cashel Set
    Reel Double: a step for dancing the reel "double", such as in the last 2 bars of the house around in the Clare Lancers
    Sean Nos Dancing: a bit of fun with some solo steps in the Sean Nos style

    In much the same way that we all have individual accents, everyone has their own unique style of dancing (even though some people may not know it yet!). When teaching steps, the emphasis is on encouraging individual style. The basic steps will be explained, demonstrated and practised in class. People who have been dancing for a while are encouraged to keep and develop their own way of dancing, while beginners are encouraged to take these basic steps and develop their own individual style.
  • Figures (Movements):

    During the dance lessons, the movements of each figure of each set will be explained and practised in class. Typically, once the set has been taught, the full set is then danced through, with a short pause between each figure.
  • Timing:

    Dancing in time with the music is one of the main factors which makes set dancing so enjoyable. While steps vary from one dancer to another and figures vary from one set to another, dancing in time to the music adds to the enjoyment of all set dancers across all sets. We will start by teaching one set, which we will then dance through at some stage each night. After a while, the figures of the selected set will become well known to the class. We will then use this as our reference set for explaining and practicing dancing in time. At the end of the term, dancers who attend regularly will know the selected set well and will have a good understanding of the impact that dancing in time has on the enjoyment of set dancing.
New dancers are welcome at any time. We start a new set from scratch every few weeks, so newcomers are not at any disadvantage.

Mailing List:

If you would like to receive class email messages, such as a reminder when a new term is about to start, please enter your email address at the bottom of this page and click "Join Mailing List" - you can unsubscribe at any time by replying to any message, indicating that you wish to unsubscribe.

Cameras & Phones:

It is not allowed to take photographs or video during class - we aim to provide a comfortable environment in which to learn Irish Set Dancing and taking photos or video would be an intrusion. Anyone wanting to take a momento photo, please say so and we will invite people who wish to be in the photo to assemble during break time, or at the end of class.


The aim of the class is to cover the figures, steps and timing for the popular sets which are commonly danced at ceili events throughout Ireland, such as:

Clare: Cork/Kerry: Galway: Tipperary: Recently-composed Sets:
Other sets:
  • Other sets may be added throughout the year, e.g. a local set in the run-up to a festival in a particular part of the countrty, or on request.

Other Dances:

While the emphasis is on the popular set dances, other types of Irish dancing will also be covered at some stage during the year, including:

  • Ceili Dances

  • Two-Hand Dances
  • Solo Dancing Steps
    • "Sean-nós" steps
    • Tradition Irish Step Dances

  • Other
    • The Waltz Cotillion

    The emphasis is on dancing for enjoyment and many of the class participants meet up regularly at local ceili events and at festivals at home and abroad.

    Above all else, the primary objective is to have fun!

    Why not give it a try by coming along any night at 8 pm - you will be very welcome.


    The word "ceili" has many meanings, for example:
    • In some parts of Ireland, "going for a ceili" means a social visit to a neighbour's house. This meaning doesn't necessarily have anything to do with dance or dancers, just an informal social get together at the end of a day's work for neighbours to chat, tell stories and maybe play a game of cards. A house where neighbours gather in this way is sometimes called a "ceili-ing", or a "rambling house".
    • Among set dancers, "going to a ceili" means attending a dance where the majority of the dances are sets.
    • Among ceili dancers, "ceili" is a genre of Irish dance, separate from set dancing.
    • Among musicians in Ireland, "ceili music" means traditional Irish music, jigs, reels, hornpipes, slides, polkas, etc.
    Any and all of these meanings could be applied to our set dancing classes. Neighbours, and those from further afield, are very welcome to join us. We will be mostly doing set dances, but we will also do other dances from time-to-time including Sean Nos, ceili, two-hand and solo steps

    Note that in the Irish language, there would be a fada in the word "ceili" and it would not be considered gramatically incorrect to add "ing" or "ers" at the end, to form "ceiliing" or "ceiliers", but, while these words might not be in Irish grammer books, that's how it's actually spoken in many parts or Ireland. In times past, in ceiling houses around the Irish countryside, youngsters would be told to "get the milking done before the ceiliers arrive". As darkness fell, the neighbouring men would gather around the fire and tell stories, or in Winter time, play a game of 25, or, if there were a lot of players, perhaps a game of partners, with lots of nods and winks! There was no formality, they came in their working clothes, lifted the latch without knocking and came straight in to sit around the open hearth fire. Even if everyone was out doing farm work and there was no one home, they would still gather around the fireplace, in the absence of anyone belonging to the house. In effect, a ceiliing house was considered as a sort of communal space, where regulars felt totally at home.


    • The Glenside, Churchtown: click here for map

      The Glenside is on Landscape Road, Churchtown, Dublin South, within easy reach of Churchtown, Rathfarnham, Templeogue, Terenure, Dundrum, Milltown, Clonskeagh, Rathmines, Ranelagh, Nutgrove, Goatstown, Mount Merrion and surrounding areas. Sat Nav Decimal Degrees:

    • Our Lady's National School, Clonskeagh: click here for map

      Our Lady's National School, St Columbanus Road is next door to Windy Arbour Luas Station in South Dublin and is within easy reach of Milltown, Churchtown, Rathfarnham, Templeogue, Nutgrove, Terenure, Dundrum, Ballinteer, Goatstown, Clonskeagh, Dartry, Rathmines, Mount Merrion, Stillorgan, Kilmacud and surrounding areas. Sat Nav Decimal Degrees:

    • Marino Institute of Education, Drumcondra: click here for map

      Marino Institute of Education is on Griffith Avenue on the North side of Dublin City and is within easy reach of Marino, Drumcondra, Whitehall, Clontarf, Raheny, Coolock, Glasnevin, Beaumont, Phibsborough, Dublin City Centre and surrounding areas. Sat Nav Decimal Degrees:

    More Information:

    Well, there isn't really any more information. The aim of this website is to give you all the information you would need in order to make a decision about coming along to give it a try - any other questions you might have can be answered face-to-face in class. We've added everything we can think of and the website is up to date as of today, 21st February 2020. But, if you have read everything on this website, including:

    and you still do not have enough information to make a decision on whether or not to come along, then it seems that we have forgotten something. In this case, please click here to contact us and we will get back to you by email as soon as possible. Please do not telephone the venue, as venue staff have no details about the set dancing classes. If you do not have access to email, please come along to class any night and we will answer your questions then.

    Mailing List:

    To join our mailing list, please enter your email address and click "Join Mailing List":

    Your email address:

Up-to-date, as of: Friday, 21st February 2020

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Irish Set Dancing Classes Dance Class Dublin Ireland