Members of the Harney Academy
The 43rd World Irish Dancing Championships took place in Boston this year and finished on March 31. Over 7,000 dancers from around the globe competed before the judges in over 30 different categories including group, ceili, hard shoe, and soft shoe competitions.
For only the 2nd time ever, the ‘Worlds’ were held in the US. For eight days, thousands of competitors and spectators filled the city for the prestigious event. “This year’s championships was possibly the best ever attended” according to Liam Harney of the Harney Academy. “A lot of the local residents in Boston attended the competition and it was a fantastic promotion of Irish dancing. It's also huge exposure for all our dancing academies here”.
Harney, (whose academy won an amazing 8 world titles) also spoke of the recognition received for Rita O’Shea who was honored throughout the week for her contribution to Irish dancing over the last 60 years with the O'Shea Chaplin School. “Rita is a pioneer of Irish dancing in Boston and it’s because of her efforts that local Irish dancing schools are now winning at the major competitions.”
Along with the work done by Rita O’Shea, Sally Harney (mother of Liam) was given the Gradham Award for lifetime dedication. Maureen Hansen Keohane was awarded posthumously for over 50 years work with the Hansen Keohane school. The biggest mark of achievement of the work done by the honorees over the past half century is that the CLRG (An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha) saw fit to bring the World Dancing championships to Boston.
Top 10 placements for New England dance schools

Harney Academy: Sub Minor Ceili - 1st, Minor Girls Céilí - 1st, Senior Girls Céilí - 1st, Minor Mixed Céilí 1st, Senior Mixed Céilí - 1st, Minor Girls Céilí - 2nd, Junior Girls Céilí - 2nd, Girls (16–17) - 3rd (Melissa McCarthy), Junior Girls Céilí - 9th
Murray Academy: Minor Girls Figure Dance - 2nd, Junior Girls Figure Dance - 8th, Girls (14–15) - 9th (Kate Babcock), Girls (13-14) - 10th (Clare Murray Macritchie)
O'Shea-Chaplin: Senior Mixed Céilí - 3rd, Senior Ladies Céilí - 4th, Junior Girls Céilí - 8th
Minor Girls Céilí 10th
Pender-Keady: Girls (15–16) - 6th (Anna Sulger), Minor Girls Figure Dance 7th, Senior Ladies Figure Dance 7th, Junior Girls Céilí 10th
Smith Houlihan: Junior Girls Céilí 1st, Senior Girls Céilí - 4th, Senior Ladies Céilí 6th
Gilleoghan Irish Dance: Senior Girls Céilí - 9th
Goulding: Minor Girls Céilí 6th, Boys (15-16) 9th (Samuel Miller)
Griffith: Boys (16–17) - 6th (Colin Dyson), Ladies (19-20) - 6th (Theresa Oei)
Brady: Sub Minor Ceili - 3rd
Heavey Quinn: Junior Girls Figure Dance 7th
Horgan: Dance Drama - 8th
Lenihan School: Sub Minor Ceili - 6th
Lynn: Ladies (20-21) - 5th (Ashley Tuccinardi)
Scoil Rince Naomh Attracta: Ladies (19–20) - 4th (Emily Stewart)