Hundreds Of Dancers Participate in 'Siege Of Ennis' at Milwaukee Irish Fest

From: Dunphy Public Relations
Published: Sun Aug 19 2007

Over 400 people from all over North America and Ireland danced the 'The Siege of Ennis' at the world's largest Irish festival today. The Céilí Siege was held at the Milwaukee Irish Fest in Wisconsin where over 140,000 festival goers have congregated this week for a celebration of Irish music, food, history, heritage, dance, sports and culture.

Today's session was hosted by a tourism delegation from County Clare, which has travelled to the Milwaukee in recognition of the fact that The Banner County has been named at the central theme of this year’s Fest.

Based in the festival's 'Cultural Village', organisations such as Clare County Council, Shannon Development, the Clare Tourist Council, the Clare Tourism Forum and Shannon Heritage have organised a series of events aimed at showcasing the County. The Clare delegation has also been distributing tens of thousands of promotional brochures on Shannon Airport and the region’s tourist attractions.

"Today's 'Siege of Ennis' was more of a fun event than a set-dancing lesson for those involved, whether they were beginners or experienced dancers. It featured various dance schools and teachers from Milwaukee and Chicago and participants of all ages from as far away as San Francisco and Canada, the organisation of which has been ongoing for months", explained Carmel Greene of Clare County Council.

Ms. Greene, who is also the Director of the annual Ennis Trad Festival, said that Irish dancing and set-dancing had become extremely popular throughout the United States largely due to celebrations of Irish culture at festivals in Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Ohio, Kansas, Chicago, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Colorado, Buffalo and Michigan. It is also very popular in areas such as Japan and the UK.

She explained, "Historically, traditional Irish dancing was done at social events. Even when Irish immigrants came to the US they would seek out dance or social events to meet others in the Irish community. The social element to Irish dancing remains but increased public interest in Irish culture has led to a surge in number of dancing teachers and schools appearing around the United States. This can only be good for the future development of Irish dancing and set dancing."

With the recent surge of interest in Irish dance, stages featuring step dancing have become a popular attraction for festival goers at the Milwaukee Irish Fest. Guests can also learn Set dancing at workshops held daily in the week prior to the Festival. The Festival's Dance Pavilion is open during all hours of the festival and this year features performances from Cherish the Ladies and the Clare Céilí Band. Other participating artists featured at the 2007 Fest include Gaelic Storm, the Celtic Tenors, Damien Dempsey, Beoga, the Dave Munnelly Band, Finbar McCarthy and the Steel Bonnets.

The 'Siege of Ennis' session, meanwhile, is one a number of events being hosted by the Clare Tourism delegation to promote the various aspects of Clare's history, culture and heritage. Members of the delegation are also delivering a series of public lectures. They include presentations on two of Clare and Ireland’s most significant historical figures, the last undisputed High King of Ireland Brian Ború and the founder of the GAA Michael Cusack.

While the Clare tourism delegation's promotional drive in Milwaukee is expected to lead to plenty of interest in the County, a number of other Clare-based musicians, cultural event organisers and artists have also travelled to the Fest.

On Friday, Muiris O Rochain, founder and director of the famed Willie Clancy School, addressed festivalgoers about the musical heritage of County Clare. Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy is Ireland's largest traditional music summer school, held annually since 1973 in memory of the piper Willie Clancy. During the week, nearly a thousand students from every part of the world travel to Miltown Malbay to attend daily classes taught by experts in Irish music and dance.

Elsewhere, the Clare Céilí Band are performing throughout the four-day festival while Cherish the Ladies musician Joanie Madden, whose mother hails from Miltown Malbay is providing Tin Whistle classes for intermediate and advanced musicians.

Clare will also be represented at the Festival by Susan Minogue and Ann Moloney of the Clare Crafts Association who are showcasing craftwork unique to County Clare, local artist Philip Brennan who is hosting a class entitled 'View the landscape and natural life of the Burren and County Clare through the eyes of an artist', and the Ennis Players who are staging four performances of their award winning production of 'The Dandy Dolls'.


Notes to Editor:
- To arrange an interview please contact Mark Dunphy of Dunphy Public Relations on 00353-868534900 or
- High-resolution images available on request

Mark Dunphy
Dunphy Public Relations
County Clare
00353-868534900 (Mobile)
00353-656839692 (Fax)
Company: Dunphy Public Relations
Contact Name: Mark Dunphy
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 00353868534900

Visit website »