Your Top 5 Irish Set Dances

Well, the results are in and by popular vote, it looks like the classic sets are still the most popular. We had 1,469 votes altogether from many different parts of the globe-thank-you!

Top 5 Irish Set Dances 2015 Popular Vote

-> Almost two-thirds (63%) of the vote was for sets within the top 10.
-> Top 5 are all considered “classics”– sets that have been danced for 100 years or more.
-> 55 sets received at least one vote or more.
-> Two new sets have ranked well in the top 10Antrim Square Set (Des Jackson, Australia) and The Merchant Set (Padraig McEneany, Ireland). Congratulations to both Des and Padraig for creating successful sets that dancers like to dance.

TOP 5 SETS – Quite Interesting (QI) Points
I love to watch Stephen Fry on QI and I thought I might make a few observations about our top 5 voted sets that you might find quite interesting (forget the pompous accent – can’t manage it!).

1. Ballyvourney Jig Set – the starting move on the spot has been varied over the years & it’s almost guaranteed now that every couple will be doing something a little different at the start of each figure! They used to call it “the gimp” but now the move is reverse the lady, as per Kerry Sets. What will it be next? All 5 figures used to be danced separately (that’s how I learned it from Denis in Cork) but at some point it all came together for 7 minutes of riotous dancing.

2. Clare Plain Set used to be danced to polkas, not reels,  and according to Dan Furey, “Some crowd in Dublin changed it”. A number of the moves have also changed including a lovely rocking arm-hold that has disappeared. Other moves have been added, including a house at the end of each figure.

3. Connemara Set – has sides on the right of tops, not left as is most often the case. Also, the last figure has it’s own polka music tune – Maggie in the Woods, which is a bit unusual for sets. The Connemara Set also has it’s own step, not wildly unusual but there are many interpretations of the step, which makes it fun to dance as a couple (when you’re both doing a different version 🙂

4. Clare Lancers Set – this set was also originally danced to polkas, not reels and is one of only a few sets that concludes with dancing a double on the last 2 bars of each figure.

5. Cashel Set – to circle, or not circle? That is the question in Figure 5 – whether to circle at the beginning and after each part of the figure? This has led to a variety of recorded  musical lengths for this set, which  as a dance teacher, can be a bit of a lottery!

Thanks to everyone who has participated.
It’s been tremendous!

Nora Stewart
Irish Bliss
irish bliss globe of world flags

8 thoughts on “Your Top 5 Irish Set Dances

  1. The winning sets are some of my favourites 🙂 Thanks for that interesting history of each of the winning sets… I did see one youtube video of a Ballyvourney jig set being danced in Ireland, and there was a couple who were doubling, which I thought was a pretty amazing achievement in a jig figure!

  2. Pingback: Top 10 set dances of 2015 | DanceMinder

  3. Pingback: Your Top 3 Irish Céilí Dances | Irish Bliss

  4. Pingback: Vote For Your Top 5 Sets 2016 | Irish Bliss

  5. Pingback: Your Top 5 Sets for 2016 | Irish Bliss

  6. Pingback: Vote For Your Top 10 Irish Set Dances 2017 | Irish Bliss

  7. Pingback: Your Top 10 Irish Set Dances 2015 – 2017 | Irish Bliss

Leave a Reply