Half Door Club – A Light Heart Lives Long
Set Dancing group with an international focus. Founded in 1993 by Connie Ryan with the torch being carried by many including John Sinnott, Micheál Lalor and Peter Redmond. An American branch of the Half-Door Club is located in Philadelphia.
The group have run a set-dancing festival since 1994, with attendees coming from as far afield as Canada, U.S.A, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and regularly the group have visitors from France. Every May Bank Holiday the group host a festival here in Laois with visitors arriving from all over the world. The festival attracts up to 1000 people to the picturesque village of Castletown, and céilí’s are held in not just the Castletown community hall, but traditional Irish pubs such as Sheeran’s Thatched Inn of Coolrain. Hospitality is always paramount and everyone is welcomed and accommodated in whatever way possible: parking a Camper van, tea and sandwiches and home baked buns, cakes, tarts and flans all baked freshly every day by a local lady and served free of charge midway through the dancing. Accommodation is provided courtesy of the De La Salle Brothers Castletown, and visitors stay before and after the festival to explore the beautiful Laois countryside.
Every July the group attend Gennetines Bal de L’Europe festival), near Moulins, in central France, in association with the House Around Group to help with set dancing workshops and mix with other European musicians and dancers.
2023 will be the 27th year of the festival and the group are expecting a great turn out as people return to socialisation and get their dancing shoes on. The festival will encompass a series of workshops, céilí dances, poetry workshops, and music sessions. Festival club sessions will also take place every evening after the céilí.
To find out more about the festival, support the group, learn about the céilí dances or bands playing, contact the Half Door Club on the details attached.