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Welcome - Failte Romhat!

When the translation is provided submissions to the blog will be published in both English and Irish. Please send submissions to the webmaster address shown at the very top of the blog. Please visit us often. This blog is the companion of the Ottawa Comhaltas website:

Beidh poist a fhoilsiú i mBéarla agus i nGaeilge nuair is féidir. Tabhair cuairt orainn go minic. Is é seo an blag an compánach an láithreán gréasáin Comhaltas Ottawa:

Friday 28 December 2012

What is Irish Set Dancing?

Irish set dancing (or"country set dancing"), is a form of social dancing popular in Ireland for over 150 years. These dances are based on French quadrilles (which were brought to Ireland by the British army in the nineteenth century), that were adapted by the Irish by integrating their sean-nós (old style) steps and Irish music.

The distinguishing characteristics of Irish set dancing is that it is danced in square "sets" of four couples (eight people), and consist of several "figures," three to six figures with a short pause between each, frequently repeated throughout the set. These "sets" are danced by people in a formation similar to that of American square dancing. Each part of the set dance (figure) is danced to music, mostly reels, jigs, polkas, hornpipes and slides. The sets come from various parts of Ireland and are often named for their place of origin; examples are the Siege of Ennis, Antrim Square, and the Clare Lancers Set.

At the CCÉ Ottawa Branch ceilis we enjoy dancing several of the most common Irish Set dances. To give an idea of what we do here is a clip of the first figure of the Antrim Square, performed by some member of the CCÉ Ottawa branch:

If you are interested in learning how to do Irish Set dancing, check our website for more information: 

Our weekly class will start on January 7th, 2013, and we hope that you will join us. Remember, you do not need to know how to dance nor need to have a dancing partner. Everyone is welcome!

Thursday 6 December 2012

Solstice Song - A Celtic Christmas - Dec 18

Ars Nova

Solstice Song - A Celtic Christmas


Acacia Lyra: Janine Dudding & Susan Sweeney Hermon, Celtic Harp, Seán McKiernan, Traditional Instruments
Greg Weeks, Cello
James Farr, Guitar
D'Arcy McGuire, Bodhrán
Simon Honeyman, Counter-tenor
Master of Ceremonies: Richard Weeks

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 7:30 p.m.
Church of St. Bartholomew, 125 MacKay Street

Tickets: General: $25

(Ticket includes a special Wassail reception following the concert)
Tickets on sale at: Compact Music, CD Warehouse, Leading Note and Books on Beechwood as well as online at and

The winter solstice will soon be upon us. Surrounded by the quiet, warmth and beauty of the Church of St. Bartholomew , let voices, harps, and instruments transport you to misty valleys and snow-covered hills, filling you with the spirit of Christmas. Following the concert, ring in the season with a traditional Wassail Reception in the parish hall.

Wednesday 5 December 2012

CCE Website and Blog Updates

In case you haven't noticed, the CCE webpage has undergone some updating. While the look and feel remains the same, the content has been updated. In particular a new tab has been added for Irish Dance, and the What's New tab contains news of recent events and, for example, currently has an audio file attached for your listening enjoyment. The Gallery page is also refreshed with recent photos and video from the November ceili. Contact Us and the Links page have been revised and checked, and pages which contain mostly unchanging information are now in both English and Irish. If you haven't read the latest newsletter, you will find a recent archive of newsletters on the Newsletter page.

Don't forget, if you have news or stories that are of interest to CCE Ottawa, send them to the Public Relations officer for inclusion in the newsletter. Also, you may submit them to this blog by emailing your story in plain text to the CCE-Ottawa Branch webmaster or you can submit your post at:

Until next time / Go dtí an chéad uair eile!