It’s a long way to ….... Boston, Massachusetts, USA, and it’s to Boston that these four lovely ladies are heading. Four girls (pictured above) have qualified to dance at the 2013 World Irish Dancing Championships, which will be held on March 24th-31st of this year in the American city famed for its Irish connections. Clionagh Higgins, Robyn McCarthy, Leah Murray and Hannah O’ Keeffe are all pupils of the Anne Whelan School of Irish Dance, based in Cashel. In the extremely competitive world of Irish dance, these four hardworking young women competed and were successful at their regional Oireachtas and each managed to attain a much coveted qualifying spot in their respective age groups. The World Championships will see the girls compete against dancers from all over Europe, America, Canada and from as far away as Australia. These girls are no strangers to tough competition. Their teacher, Anne Whelan, runs a very successful competitive school and has had numerous dancers compete at the World Championship level over many years.
This year is particularly special for two of the girls as it is their first time qualifying for the World Championships. Clionagh Higgins, 18, the youngest daughter of Derek and Niamh Higgins from Cahir, and Leah Murray, 12, daughter of Declan and Sandra Murray of Wheatfields, Clonmel will be competing for the first time at this level; while Robyn McCarthy, 16, daughter of Robin and Debbie McCarthy of College Street, Clonmel, and Hannah O’ Keeffe, 12, daughter of Diarmuid O’ Keeffe and Debbie Swift, of Silversprings, Clonmel, have previously experienced the thrill of dancing among the best in the world. This will be the fourth World Championships for Robyn, and the second for Hannah.
All roads leads to Cashel for the next six weeks as the girls spend up to 3 hours 4 days a week training at Anne Whelan’s dance studio. According to their teacher Anne, they are all hardworking, dedicated pupils, and all four live, breathe, and sleep Irish dance. The girls will compete at numerous feiseanna in their run up to Boston including the All Scotland Dancing Championships in Irish Dancing (to be held in Glasgow), the Dublin City Championships and the Feis Erin in Ennis. All four girls are champion dancers and have won at many feiseanna in various locations around the country. They look forward to the big trip to Boston and relish the opportunity to make their dance teacher and their parents extremely proud. We wish them the absolute best of luck.