Thursday 14 December 2017

Maureen was a true lover of Irish dance

MAUREEN Gaul Gaddren was a woman who found the secret of a long, healthy and happy life through dancing.

Without a doubt, Maureen was the doyenne of Irish dance. Long before Riverdance popularised the medium of Irish dancing, Maureen Gaul Gaddren had her legions of ringlet wearing highsteppers cracking out the intricate footwork of 'The Blackbird' in their hard hornpipe shoes.

Sadly, after a life dedicated to teaching young people, Maureen passed away in Wexford General Hospital on Wednesday, September 8. She was an impressive 92 years of age.

Maureen, who lived in 5 Alvina Brook, was known the length and breadth of Ireland as a teacher and choreographer, and for more than 70 years she imparted her knowledge to young people.

Dancing kept her fit and supple, and even in her 90s Maureen was still partial to a turn around the dance floor at Whitford House Hotel.

Indeed, at her own 90th birthday party, Maureen danced a reel in fine style.

Maureen commenced her teaching career when, as a 19-year-old, she cycled to Baldwinstown with Kathleen Culleton to teach local children. By this time she had competed herself and was suffessful at Feis Carman, winning prizes in all grades.

Her classes spread to neighbouring parishes in Rathangan and Kilmore and she also had a sizeable class in Wexford town.

A native Wexfordian, Maureen's father James Gaul was the Social Welfare Officer in town and had his offices in Carrigeen Street. An elected Alderman of Wexford Corporation, James Gaul had many associations with local organisations and was at one time secretary of the Feis Carman Committee. He served as Mayor of Wexford in 1951.

In the 1950s and 60s Maureen's pupils competed in Feiseanna and Aeraiochtas throughout County Wexford and beyond.

Maureen's dancers appeared on many concert bills and entertained visiting dignitaries to the town in the local hotels. Television appearances included 'Trom agus Eadrom' and the 'Bibi Baskin Show'.

One of Maureen's strangest requests was to teach a group of German girls the figure dance 'The High Caul Cap', which was no trouble to Maureen except the eight girls hadn't a word of English and Maureen hadn't a word of German.

Success was achieved, and 'The High Caul Cap' was danced in Dusseldorf!

Some of Maureen's own pupils went on to teach dance classes of their own, including Anne McGuire, Kay Keeley, Alice Goff and the Hopkins family.

Maureen is survived by her children, Jimmy and Rita; her son-in-law, Johnny; daughter-in-law, Mary; grand-daughter, Emer; brother, Sean; sisters, Claire, Kay, Betty and Nuala; relatives and many friends.

Maureen is sadly pre-deceased by her husband John, who died in 1981, and her son Mícheal who died in infancy.

Her remains were interred in St. Ibar's Cemetery Crosstown on Friday, following Requiem Mass in the Church of the Assumption, Bride Street. Fr. Aodhan Marken officiated at the funeral.

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