It was the year of Ed Sheeran in a lot of ways.
Sheeran’s album ÷ (Divide) set sales records left and right, all around the globe. But for Irish dancers not already won over by Sheeran’s catchy tracks, there was another reason to like the guy: He incorporated traditional Irish dance and music into his songs and music videos, featuring some of the world’s best dancers and trad musicians.
That said, it’s no surprise that 2017’s top Irish dance videos were largely Sheeran-related. Speaking of which, here’s the countdown, starting from No. 10 and working toward the top Irish dance video of 2017, as determined solely by YouTube pageviews:
10. Shevlin Twins perform to Nancy Mulligan – 50,410 views
World Champions Niamh and Gavin Shevlin headed to the Donegal coast to tap it out. The original video, produced by photographer and videographer Paul Doherty, first appeared on Facebook and eventually made its way to Irish Dancing Magazine’s YouTube page. The Facebook video has been viewed more than a million times.
9. Leprechauns Dance – 53,602 views
Umm. This one is super weird, and the comments below the video are even weirder. The track appears to be produced by Ebunny, who throws it over some footage of Irish dancers. The dancers look good, but you can’t hear their feet, and the song is not synchronized to their steps. I’m not sure why this video amassed so many views. Your guess is as good as mine.
8. Hannah Redlich dances to River by Ibeyi – 56,820 views
Hannah Redlich shows us her very own “River” dance here, dancing to an unlikely tune that Redlich says she “couldn’t help but feel a connection to this beat and message.” This isn’t the last you’ll see of Redlich, who appears later on this list.
7. Fusion Fighters at World Irish Dancing Championships – 89,088 views
The Fighters had quite a year, performing at the CLRG World Irish Dancing Championships and organizing one of the most popular Irish dance social media campaigns #step4sheeran, we’ve ever seen.
6. #STEP4SHEERAN – 92,941 views
We can’t help but think the Fusion Fighters’ hashtag campaign helped direct Ed Sheeran to some of the top Irish dancing talent on the planet. The carefully curated stream of dance clips features dazzling feet and uncannily complicated choreography.
5. Innova Irish Dance Company on Britain’s Got Talent – 188,750 views
This video actually topped our 2014 list, but it’s recently been re-uploaded by a new BGT-held channel that highlights the show’s dance routines from around the world. So three years on, the Innova dancers are still showstoppers.
4. Oscar wows on Little Big Shots – 220,287 views
Wee Oscar first won our hearts when his mom released a video of the then 4-year-old champ dancing Kilkenny Races at speed 110, showing us all that the tot is a better dancer than most of us will ever be. Just a year later, at just 5 years old, he tore up the Little Big Shots stage.
3. Hannah Redlich dances to Nancy Mulligan – 587,600 views
Hannah Redlich caught our attention in 2016 with her Hamilton choreography, complete with period-specific garb. Her Sheeran-inspired performance also nods to older times. For this video, she collaborated WW2 reenactors at Latta Plantation in North Carolina.
2. Hession dancers step for Ed – 11,228,295 views
Galway’s Hession dancers answered Ed Sheeran’s call for step dancers in a very convincing way, performing a perfectly choreographed hard shoe routine to Sheeran’s Shape of You. The originally video was popular enough, but when it was reposted by the Fusion Fighters, views skyrocketed into the millions. The count above is a combined total views of both videos.
Spoiler alert: Sheeran heard those taps loud and clear, inviting the troupe to appear in his Galway Girl video.
1. Galway Girl official music video – 296,080,942 views
Not only does Galway Girl feature Grammy-nominated trad band Beoga, it also hosts a bevy of stellar dancers, including the group from Hession School of Irish Dance (see No. 2 on the list), soloists Matthew Gardiner and Claire Greaney, and ceili dancers Leona Donoghue, Aoife Lyons, Elaine Moylan, Anna Sheil, Roisin Corrigan, Rebecca Connelly, Eleanor Burke and Lynne McNally.