Wexford's first big ceili of the year at the Talbot
Wexford's first big céilí of the year recently took place at the Talbot Hotel.
Such inspiration! A stranger to the world of céilí might well have looked on in bamboozled amazement at the intricacies of the set pieces and the pedal dexterity.
To witness the old hands in action, however, is to behold an effortless flow of pre-ordained and well-oiled movement.
Advance, retreat, to the left, to the right, dance with opposites and back. And on and on. The band was merciless: if they saw any slacking, a nod from Roche and the tempo went up! Thumping heart? Check. Black dots? Check. Exhilaration? 100 per cent. Dancers at a céilí experience the same endorphin-induced buzz as marathon athletes!
The evening opened with a short but brilliant set by the young dancers of the Sullivan Academy of Irish Dancing.
Then the house band let rip: John Roche and Alice Wickham McIntyre (fiddle), Barbara Walsh and Tom Byrne (accordion), Catherine Roche (uilleann pipes), Emer Mulhall and Nadine Roche (piano), Ann O'Kelly-Guerin (tin whistle) an Padraic Larkin (flute). John O'Byrne was fear an tí and 'caller'.
There was a hard core of regular set dancers in attendance for whom the manoeuvres involved in the various dances was child's play.
These set pieces varied from simple enough to what-just-happened-there. Má bhíothadh beagán ciotach is é John O'Byrne a bhí mar slánaitheoir!
Matt Murphy sang his rousing party-piece, Red Haired Mary. It was in or around this time that red haired Geri took a wrong turn on the dance floor and nearly caused a domino-style wipe-out!
Niamh Page and her sean nós dancers took a turn on the floor with the athletic Ciara O'Grady bringing the house down as always.