Ballyhugh Cultural Arts Centre houses a variety of exhibitions, features local artworks, and displays a unique collection of artefacts and local photography. Perhaps the highlight of the centre, though, is its delightful offering of courses in everything from creative writing to traditional ceili and down-home cottage Irish dancing. For those with the stamina of a marathon runner, classes in Irish dancing begin at 9:30 on Wednesday evenings (remember that it's still early twilight at this hour, with full darkness still hours away). During the years when dancing was prohibited (1700's), along with virtually every other aspect of their cultural traditions, the Irish developed a way to dance without actually dancing! At local pubs and houses, they'd gather, and when the music started, they'd keep their upper bodies rigid and move only their feet; hence, to anyone who might be watching-and there were many about-the lads and lasses seemed to be perfectly still.
Today, Irish dance is still all about the feet (not the sort of Riverdance fame). Stomping, both to mark time (no one would dare say that an innocent stomp was a dance step) and to celebrate camaraderie, an integral part of such favourites as "The Haymakers Dance" and "Peter and the Ghost," lends a thundering, powerful swell of secrecy and sacredness to these dances. Irish dancing is not a spectator sport. Even the most timid first timer will be drawn, either magically or physically, into simple line dances by willing partners, ready to offer a word of encouragement and brief as-you-go instructions.
Held regularly in the Centre are dances, lessons, concerts, poetry reading, creative writing classes, craft classes. The Ballyhugh Cultural Arts Centre maintains its commitment to offering the community a wealth of resources for education and entertainment while focusing attention on the great traditions and customs of Irish heritage.
Marian and Joe Bradley owners of the Ballyhugh Centre, offer
visitors and regulars a warm hug, friendly smile, and an unending enthusiasm
for Irish education.
How to get there:
From Dublin: N3 to Cavan Town. Follow signposts to Ballyconnell
From Belfast: A3 to Cavan Town. Follow signposts to Ballyconnell
Written by Joy Davis - Summer of Travel 2007