Some 1,400 Irish dancers are in Killarney, Co Kerry this week to compete in the An Chomhdháil World Irish Dance Championships.

Held at the Gleneagle Hotel and Gleneagle INEC Arena, the event, the highest level of competition in An Chomhdháil organization, will host more than 20 competitions for solo Irish dancers from all over the world.

An Chomhdháil is sharing pictures, videos, and results from the elite event on its Facebook page. This year's World Championships, of course, look different from any in years past due to strict COVID policies.

The An Chomhdháil World Irish Dance Championships is being held in-person after several pandemic-related postponements.

On March 12, 2020, An Chomhdháil announced that its World Championships competition, scheduled to begin less than a month later on April 4, would be canceled due to the onset of the pandemic.

However, the organization pulled off a mighty feat - a virtual World Irish Dance event in April 2020. 

The group said: “What started as a small idea with a daily activity each day for the 8 days the World Championships were due to take place developed into a huge 8-day event with thousands of people watching from across the globe on our Facebook page. 

“We had many sponsors and as a result were able to give away numerous prizes for the various competitions held throughout the week. 

“On day 1, the usual opening ceremony took place and each day, one of the musicians due to play at the championships played a live practice set for dancers. Stallholders ran wig and make-up tutorials, and some members ran fitness and injury advice classes. 

“The ‘world championships’ throughout the week included colouring, set dance quiz, funniest photo, guess the teacher, writing, share your best tips to survive during isolation and to end the week, an Invention Freestyle competition. 

“Memories from the first World Championships were shared, as well as the video shown above including our founder members. The planned Golden Jubilee Disco and Members event both went virtual as well and our closing ceremony included many celebrities who had heard about the event. 

“The Virtual World Championships ended with dancers sending in videos of them dancing to Somewhere Over the Rainbow and this created a ‘Dance of Applause’ video in support of frontline workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

In May 2020, An Chomhdháil confirmed that its 2020 World Irish Dance Championships, which had been rescheduled for July, would not go ahead.

Later, in December 2020, it was confirmed that the An Chomhdháil World Championships 2021 would be hosted October 31 - November 7, 2021, inclusive.

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