The digital map traces the roots of Irish dancing as far back as 400 AD.

The interactive "StoryMap" has been created by Esri Ireland, the market leader in Geographic Information Systems, and showcases the rich history, diverse styles, and vibrant music of Irish dancing. 

According to the digital map, "For centuries Irish dancing has evolved, it has both absorbed and influenced other cultural dances of the world.

"The origins of Irish dancing are not well known and there is little documented evidence of dance being practiced in Ireland before the 7th century. Scholars believe that this is due to the destruction of written records in Ireland during the Viking raids."

The map also details the importance of the music that accompanies Irish dance and that "historically the music to accompany dancers was the harp, bagpipe or just singing" but today, there are a variety of different dances as well as a variety of music and instruments to go with them."

Irish dance styles have evolved over the years to make up three general dancing styles; set dancing, céilí dance, and step dancing. Dances are often performed at Irish dancing feis (competitions), or festivals.

The interactive map also includes details on dance schools across the island of Ireland which are associated with the World Irish Dance Association (WIDA), one of the newer competitive Irish dance organizations.

Esri Ireland specializes in the application of geographic information systems, helping customers record where things happen and analyze why, with the aim of providing insight and helping them to make better decisions.

As Esri's official point of presence in Ireland and Northern Ireland, it has, since 2002, partnered with both the public and private sectors to help them understand the impact of geography on their business.

The StoryMap was created by Katherine Burton and content contributor Caitlyn Buchanan. The research was launched to celebrate Irish Dance Day, which fell on September 17, and ahead of Culture Night taking place on Friday 22 September.