3,000 Irish dancers step up to the mark

THEY hail from many parts of the world and stand out in their bright blue, orange and green costumes, embroidered with Celtic insignia.

About 3,000 young dancers from around the world are taking part in Oireachtas Rince na hÉireann, the All-Ireland Dancing Championships, in Killarney.

The event, running this week in the INEC, continues until Sunday.

The high-steppers, aged from nine years upwards, have come from as far afield as the US, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and European countries.

As well as toe-tapping their way around Killarney, they are also giving a welcome off-season boost to the local industry.

More than 6,000 people are attending the event which has been held at the venue eight times since 2002.

The organisers were accorded a civic reception by Killarney Town Council.

The next major musical event in Killarney will be the 12th annual Gathering Festival, from March 2 to March 6, which will attract some of the country’s leading traditional musicians.

Performers will include Dé Dannan, Eleanor Shanley, Sean Potts, the Glacken brothers and John Carty, to name just a few.

Polka set dancing will again be a major feature of the festival, with workshops for beginners, children and advanced dancers.

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