Wigging out at the Mid Atlantic Regional Oireachtas in Philadelphia
Mike Farragher pays a visit to the 2012 Oireachtas in Philadelphia
They scurried through the hall to frantically fulfill coffee orders or to fetch that extra can of hairspray for the steel-jawed missus. One father who dared to check sports scores on his smartphone was subjected to a public verbal crucifixion by his wife, an acid-tongued lass from “the auld sod” who was clearly venting her frustration over a curly wig that would not lay down properly over the foam “donut” underneath.
It was competition time! We were directed to Ballroom B, where my friend’s daughter did a mighty job in the 8-hand ceili competition. There were 53 dance groups on the roster that did some variation of a routine called “trip to the cottage.”
Though the routines were fairly repetitive, it was a marvel to see the precision and athleticism dance with one another onstage! It was cause for celebration later that evening when my adopted team finished in the top ten!
The Druids were reportedly the first people to dance in Ireland as part of religious rituals honoring the oak tree and the sun. Many centuries later, the Irish stepdance is a true competition, as intense as any Olympic qualifier.
As the accordion whirled to life as an electric piano veered somewhere between a polka and a reggae jam, my friend closed her eyes and rocked on her heels for a minute.
“I hear the music and it takes me back,” she said. “It reminds me of my mom, the times I had with her that I’ll never get back, and the friendships I had with the girls in my 8-hand group that I cherish to this day. No matter where I am, I can hear that music and I am home.”
Y’know, maybe this isn’t so crazy after all...