world irish dancing championships

The top 10 Irish dance videos of 2017

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.


RinceBits: Irish dancers making [news]papers

These week, I want to amplify Irish dancers’ appearances in community newspapers and on local news stations — and they’re not necessarily being recognized for their dancing!

Great to see so many Irish dancers making the news for dance abilities, and a variety of other skills and honors.

South Buffalo woman taps heritage to stir Korean flavors into her cuisine, The Buffalo News
I’m proud to say this article is about my pal and teammate Mollie McCabe, a Korean-born Irish dancer who uses cooking as a way to merge her biological roots to her adopted Irish heritage. You may recognize Mollie from her Heartbeat of Home audition video. Not only can she dance, the girl can cook.

Over the moon: Local woman earns spot at World Irish Dance Championship, The Frederick News-Post
Whitney Hanson, a 27-year-old dancer, didn’t get started in Irish dance until she was about 14 — that’s pretty late in the game, considering many world-qualifiers were learning their first dance steps not long after taking their first walking steps. Still, Whitney earned her spot among the best, and she’ll be competing in the World Irish Dance Championships in London. Whitney, who works in a pharmacy, says she practices “between two and six hours every day she isn’t working.” That’s dedication. Good luck, Whitney!

Starring role for Larne’s Lord of the Dance, Larne Times
Morgan Comer, 24, is the new Lord of the Dance — well, one of the many talented dancers since Michael Flatley to play the role of the “lord.” Congrats, Morgan! We look forward to hearing more about your first performance as lead male dancer.

Stepping up for diversity: UI student shares Irish dance, culture as part of homecoming kickoff, Iowa Now
University of Iowa student Meghan Ryan danced at a local diversity festival. As much as her Irish dance backgrounds contributes to her sense of personal culture, it’s her studies in foreign languages that show how truly devoted to diversity the young woman really is. She studied Spanish, French and Arabic in school. Arabic got her interested in the Middle East, and she ended up studying abroad in Morocco this past summer.

"Big Jig"

TLC’s ‘Big Jig’ trailer released — watch it here!

"Big Jig"TLC has finally released a sneak peek of its hotly anticipated “Big Jig” special.

The YouTube teaser’s info says that the special will follow five American dancers to the World Irish Dancing Championships in Belfast.

In April, a talent scout for the show had reached out to me, and I wrote a post about it right here on

“Big Jig” will air Oct. 9 on TLC.

Watch the trailer below:

‘Jig’ now available on iTunes

Get ready to feel simultaneously inspired and inferior, dancers. “Jig” is now on iTunes!

While the World Irish Dancing Championships are underway, I’m sitting comfortably in my upstate New York apartment wallowing in self-pity, watching “Jig,” carbo-loading for the big competition for which I never have (or will qualify). WAAAAAHHHHHH.

In related news, two “Jig” stars have won gold at Worlds so far. My heartfelt congratulations to two of the Irish dance scene’s most lovable, charming youngsters: Brogan McCay (McConomy) and John Whitehurst (Carey). Congratulations, you two.

Best of luck to all dancers yet to compete in Belfast. Enjoy your time at Worlds, and know that I am home slamming bagels while you live the dream. I envy each and every one of you.