THE REAL IRISH DANCING

 

Sir, Dancing master Joe O'Donovan credits one Bean Sheain Ui Chuirrin with being the composer of The Walls of Limerick and The Siege of Ennis, according to Victoria White (December 18th). The secretary of the centenary celebration of ceili dancing, Tom Marry, will more easily recognise this famous dancer as Teresa Halpin or Treasa Ni Ailpin.

She was born in Garryown, Limerick, June 3rd, 1894, and died on December 18th, 1983. Her father, Joe, was also a great dancer. She and her husband (the translator of Dracula) are generally given the credit of having invented the two hand (1) dance Rogha an Fhile, but, unless The Walls of Limerick and The Siege of Ennis are post-1914, it seems unlikely that she could have invented them.

Can anyone give the earliest references to these dances being done at ceilis? J. G. O'Keefe and Art O'Brien were London Gaelic Leaguers, and in their book A Handbook of Irish dances, first published in 1902, they say that Limerick Walls was taken down in Glasgow from Thomas Danaher of, Monegay, Co Limerick. Maire Ni Mhurchu and I will have a reasonably long account of Treasa and Sean in the forthcoming fifth, volume of our biographical survey of the world of the Irish language in the century 1882-1982. Your, etc.,

Sidmonton Gardens, Bray, Co Wicklow.