The Korea Herald


Irish folk festival to get feet moving in Seoul

By Korea Herald

Published : Sept. 2, 2015 - 18:35

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Keen to keep Irish spirits up and feet moving, the Irish Association of Korea will be hosting a festival of traditional Irish music and dance this month.

The festival follows on from last year’s Ceilidh, a kind of Celtic dancing event centered on group participation, and helps fill in the gap between the IAK’s St. Patrick’s Day festivals.

This year’s festival will be more about showing off Irish traditions than last year’s event.

“We are just trying to spread Irish culture and heritage around the world and get people to know our country and what it’s all about,” explained Oisin Feeney, the IAK’s press relations officer.

There will be performances of Irish dancing from Tap Pung, a local dance group that performs the most famous “Riverdance”―like form of Irish traditional dancing. 

Festivalgoers dance at the Irish Association of Korea's Ceilidh last year. (Oisin Feeney, Festivalgoers dance at the Irish Association of Korea's Ceilidh last year. (Oisin Feeney,

As well as “sean nos” ― or “old style” ― singing and dancing, Irish jigs and performances from the bands Bloody Foreland and Boss Hagwon.

A raffle will also be held, with the top prize being a return flight ticket to Ireland.

Among the traditional performances will be a rare showing of Irish brush dancing.

“The best way to describe the difference is that in (regular) Irish dancing you keep your arms rigid at your side. And sean nos is a more freeform version of the dance,” said Feeney. “With brush dancing you are actually dancing around a brush.”

Feeney said that while Irish people generally knew about brush dancing it was rare to see it even back home.

“I have only seen it on the far west coast of Ireland in a very old pub at the end of the night, so it’s crazy that we have a brush dancer in this country. And it looks pretty impressive,” he said.

Feeney said that those who want to see traditional Irish music regularly, or even join in, could catch some at the Wolfhound pub in Itaewon every Sunday from 4 p.m.

“We usually keep it fairly Irish orientated, as in toward Irish songs, but we get all sorts,” he said. “We’ve had bagpipes, we’ve had uilleann pipes, which are special Irish bagpipes. Usually if you have an instrument they’ll let you play.

The festival takes place from 1-5 p.m. on Sept. 19 at D-Cube near Sindorim Station in Seoul. Go to exit one and it will be right outside the exit.

By Paul Kerry (