“Mom, can you send my soft shoes over? We're doing a ceili for the troops.”
These were the words of First Lieutenant Kaitlin Kenny to her mom a few weeks before St. Patrick ’s Day.
Kaitlin, a communications officer stationed at the Ali base in southern Iraq, is the daughter of Marti Walsh-Kenny and Jack Kenny, who run Irish dance clothing company Kilkenny Creations.
Their business has a display booth at the social center of the World Irish Dancing Championships in the Marriott Hotel, downtown Philadelphia.
Jack and Marti are extremely proud of Kaitlin, who began her first tour in Iraq in January. In the run-up to St Patrick's Day, the lieutenant was thinking of ways to lift the morale of the troops. A longtime Irish dancer, she decided that a good ‘ol ceili would be just the thing to rouse the men and women at the base.
Once she got her shoes from home, she duly ceilied St. Patrick's Day away and taught some of her colleagues some jigs and reels.
“It’s the spirit of the Irish to have a good time,” says Marti as Jack chimed in: “And make everyone around them have a good time too!”
Marti and Jack, who are from Cincinnati, have run Kilkenny Creations for 15 years.
“It’s just exciting that the Worlds are in the U.S.,” said Marti, whose Kilkenny roots inspired the company name.
Her husband Jack traces his Irish heritage to County Mayo.