A Limerick-based Irish dance school is celebrating after success at the 2014 Munster Championships. The Keane School of Irish Dancing, run by Melissa Keane McCarthy, brought home a number of well earned accolades after several months of preparation and training.
The event, held at the INEC venue in Killarney, saw a number of Irish dance schools across Munster compete for the top spots.
A team of 13 dancers between the ages of seven and 16 travelled to the competition to represent the school which is based at Janesboro, Ballyneety and Cappagh - and they swept the board in a number of different categories.
Melissa Keane McCarthy, their teacher and former competitive Irish dancer, expressed her delight at her dancers’ success.
“I couldn’t be prouder. Over all we had one podium placer, top 10 placers and recall medal holders in various age categories. It’s not an easy activity to be involved in at a competitive level and it takes hours of hard work and dedication. I am absolutely proud of what they have achieved.
“Irish dancing is a great social outlet for the children and they make lots of new friends from other dancing schools which is fantastic to see. I have friends from all over the world through my own dancing career.”
The competition which ran over the course of four days saw nerves running high as each dancer competed in their respective category.
“The only advice I can give at that moment before they go on stage is to do their best. What more could I ask for? I remind them to be confident, shine and more than anything enjoy themselves.” says Melissa.
The advice was certainly heeded as the team of dancers danced up a storm at the Killarney event and saw their months of preparation pay off.
The Keane School of Irish Dancing has been running for almost six years and Melissa credits its success to the support of family.
“It really is a family affair. My own mum is my number one supporter and always comes to events with me. The families of all my dancers also travelled from Limerick to Killarney and it’s great to have such a strong support system for the school.
“There are fantastic Irish dancing schools in Limerick and it’s inspiring when you see that they are still able to produce world championships after years of teaching. I hope to have that drive and passion that they do after so many tears of teaching in the future.”
Melissa says that they are already focused on next year’s competitions.
“Every event is equally prestigious for each dancer because they work so hard. Fingers crossed that in time we will be representing at the world championships.”
The Keane School of Irish Dancing is already preparing for the Irish Nationals which will take place in May next year.