Here are some of our students competing at feiseanna across the country!
A `Feis` (Irish Gaelic: , roughly `fesh`) is a traditional Gaelic arts and culture festival. The plural form is`feiseanna` (Irish Gaelic: `fesh-a-nae`).
The word Feis originally meant a "coming together". It was the name of an Irish gathering at which new laws were decreed, as well as folk music, dancing, and sports played between neighboring clans.
"Feis" began to be applied in the 1890s to the annual competitive cultural festivals organised by branches of Conradh na Gaeilge (the Gaelic League), which had been founded in 1893 for the preservation and promotion of the Irish language, when it had been snuffed out of much of the country due to bans and suppression.
Competitions were typically held for essay writing, poetry and song composition, storytelling and recitation, unaccompanied and accompanied solo and choral singing, solo and group dancing, and the playing of instrumental music (usually in the early days on fiddle, uilleann pipes, and harp). They were adjudicated by known specialists before public audiences.
True community festivals, the feiseanna quickly became established throughout the country. They were generally open to all comers, with competitions organised separately for men and women, adults and children. Medals and certificates were given as prizes, and a final prize-winners concert was often held.
Now a feis is a family-oriented, community event that brings both dancers and musicians together to show off their best skills. It is what has raised Irish Dance from a simple, rhythmic folk dance to a highly skilled and developed art form. We highly encourage our students to participate and support this cultural phenomenon!!