You may or may not know that I was a champion Irish dancer in my younger and fitter days. I was lucky enough to be able to incorporate my love of Irish dance, Irish tradition and the Irish landscape into one exhibition. This exhibition photographed Munster’s World Champion Irish Dancers for the first time. Each dancer was photographed in a meaningful landscape or location, with many performing their signature step.
This exhibition began as a collection of photographs of Clare’s World Champion Irish dancers captured to celebrate this heritage as part of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann Inis 2017. To celebrate 50 years of Oireachtas Rince na Mumhan, Comhairle na Mumhan commissioned the expansion of this project to photograph Munster’s World Champions on this anniversary occasion.
31 of Munster’s World Champion Irish dancers were captured here by me.
Clare: Michael Donnellan, Zoe Griffin, Anthony Sharkey, James Devine, Keeva Corry, Martina O’Mahoney, Gary Collins
Cork: Debbie O'Keeffe, John Lonergan, Donna Griffin, Caroline O'Leary, Aisling O'Meara
Limerick: Cian Nolan, Daire Nolan, Niamh O'Brien, Therese Corless, Siobhan O'Mahony, Eoin O'Sullivan, Conor Holmes, Ronan O'Brien, Fionn O'Sullivan McCarthy, Catherine Cronin
Kerry: David Geaney, Sean Slemon, John Fitzgerald
Tipperary: Siobhan Phelan, David Pyke, Shauna Ryan, Michelle Lawrence, Bernie Flynn
Waterford: Richard Murray
Creating this exhibition involved 4800 kilometres of travel around Ireland, frequent use of a weather app, meeting new people and sharing stories. Siobhan Mahony for example brought along her mini-me Irish dancing doll from the 1970s in a costume matching her own. Also notable is Munster’s only World Champion Irish dancer siblings – the Nolan brothers from Limerick. All of the dancers were delighted to be involved and appreciated the recognition of their achievement in the legacy of CLRG Munster.
I’d like to once again thank all the dancers involved for their participation and trust. This exhibition was a reminder of how there legacy continues to the present day.
Thanks also to Comhairle na Mumhan for commissioning this exhibition and capturing the achievements of this unique group at a moment in time.
Here are a few images from the exhibition.
Sean Slemon | Ballybunion Castle, Kerry
John Fitzgerald | Fermoyle Beach, Kerry
Shauna Ryan | University College Cork
Cian & Dara Nolan | King Johns Castle, Limerick
Niamh O'Brien | The Living Bridge, Limerick
David Geaney | Dunquin Pier, Kerry
John Lonergan | The Shakey Bridge, Cork