An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha, “CLRG,” has confirmed that it’s 2021 Oireachtas Rince na hEireann (All Ireland Dancing Championships) has been canceled and that it actively pursuing new dates for it's 2021 Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne (World Irish Dancing Championships).

CLRG, which is the largest and oldest competitive Irish dance organization in the world, said in a statement: “At the meeting of An Coimisiún le Rince Gaelacha on Friday, 30th October, a long discussion took place regarding the impact that Covid-19 has inflicted on major events throughout the World. 

“We have been tirelessly updating plans as to how our 2021 flagship events could proceed given all possible scenarios. 

“At the same time, CLRG fully recognises the struggles that dancers and teachers are facing on a daily basis, and the very fine balance that must be reached between reality and providing hope to the dancing community.”

The statement noted the current COVID-19 restrictions that the Republic of Ireland is presently subject to, which include a ban on large indoor gatherings, hotels and guest accommodations reserved for those in essential services, and a 14-day self-isolation period for anyone arriving into the country.

“Whilst it is CLRG’s opinion that there may be some easing of restrictions prior to Christmas, with the anticipated increase in social and family interactions over the holiday season, there will be most likely a return to high-level restrictions in middle to late January. It is reasonable to expect a further return to Level 5 could last for a further 6-8 weeks.”

The All Ireland Dancing Championships 2021

Regarding next year's All Ireland Dancing Championships, which were scheduled to take place in Killarney, Co Kerry from February 14 - 20, 2021, CLRG said: “With these expected restrictions and indeed to prioritise the health, safety, and wellbeing of the dancing community, CLRG has no option other than to cancel Oireachtas Rince na hEireann 2021 with immediate effect.

“The next Oireachtas will take place in February 2022 in Killarney.”

“Cancelling at this time provides some certainty to both teachers and dancers and will remove the burden of entry and fee collection scheduled in the near future,” CLRG said.

The 2020 All Ireland Dancing Championships were hosted in Killarney, Co Kerry in February 2020 not long before the pandemic took hold in Ireland.

The World Irish Dancing Championships 2021

Regarding next year's World Irish Dancing Championships, which had been scheduled to take place in Dublin from March 28 - April 21, 2021, CLRG said: “It is highly likely that there will be some level of Covid-19 restrictions still in place that would seriously impact on the possibility, and indeed the authenticity and viability of, Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne taking place as scheduled. 

“Whilst countrywide restrictions may be slightly reduced from the present situation, it is anticipated that international travel may still be severely curtailed with self-isolation periods still being applicable for overseas visitors. It is totally unfair and unreasonable to expect any dancer to isolate for anything up to 14 days prior to competing, incurring large accommodation, food, and additional expenditure on their families. 

“Moreover, our dancing community cannot be seen to encourage or be complicit in the reintroduction or unnecessary spread of Covid-19. We have a clear moral and ethical duty to take all adequate measures to protect and safeguard each other and indeed the general population of Ireland. 

“Therefore, after much deliberation and soul searching, it is with regret to announce that An Coimisiún has accepted that Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne 2021 cannot take place on the original dates. 

“CLRG is critically aware of the impact that such devastating news will have on the dancing community at this time, especially being so close to Regional Qualifying events. 

“It is therefore actively pursuing the possibility of rescheduling Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne to 25th July through 2nd August 2021 when the venue has full availability and Covid-19 restrictions may have hopefully reduced. This is the only window of opportunity that is open to us at this venue. Dates later in the year are just not possible due to either the venue being already booked or clashes with other already contracted major events elsewhere in the World. 

“CLRG has agreed that a final decision regarding a 2021 Worlds proceeding or not will be made by 1st March 2021, when the Covid19 situation will be clearer and attendees would still have nearly five months to plan accordingly."

On March 18, CLRG announced that it had decided to cancel the 2020 Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne, which would have been the 50th anniversary of the massive event which is the highest level of competition for Irish dancers within the organization.

In April, it was announced that the 2020 North American Irish Dance Championships, which were to take place in Nashville, TN from July 2 -6, were also canceled.

The flagship events presented by CLRG draw thousands of Irish dancers and their families from around the world to compete amongst the best of the best in both solo and ceili competitions.

The recent news from CLRG about its 2021 events has been regarded as both "sad" and "devastating," but ultimately as the right and necessary decision.

CLRG concluded: “We hope that everyone can understand why these major decisions have been taken at this time and have some patience and empathy with members as they redouble their efforts to provide a suitable and safe environment for a return to the wonderful art form that is Irish Dancing.”

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