World Record

Carlow to try set Irish dancing world record today - and you're invited

The aim is to get in excess of 652 people to dance while holding hands in the centre of Carlow today.

FANCY BEING PART of a world record attempt? Then fast-foot it to Carlow by 4pm as the town tries to set a new record for Irish dancing.

And before you ask: No, you don’t need to be the next Jean Butler or Michael Flatley to take part.

Local businessman Eoin McKenna has organised the event as part of the International Pan Celtic Festival, which runs in Carlow until Saturday, and is looking for as many people as possible to join him on the Plaza in Carlow town at 4pm today.

There, they will attempt to set the world record for the most people dancing a Riverdance number holding hands.

Pictured with Eoin McKenna are Hannah Matthews (4) and dancers in the  background from left: Nadine Gormley, Emer Doyle, Ciara Hennessy, Nicole Whelan, Claudia McDonald and Michaela Hogan.

The existing record was set in Nashville almost two years ago and stands at 652 people.

Speaking to, McKenna, who runs the Facebook site Carlow Shops, said that it is part of an effort to make Carlow “the first fully integrated social media county”. As the festival moves to Derry next year, McKenna said they “need to leave a lasting legacy for Carlow”.

We’ll gather straight after the International Pan Celtic Festival parade [this] afternoon and I’ll be very disappointed if we don’t have close to 1000 people dancing a few steps. The International Pan Celtic Festival is the official gathering of the Celtic clans will draw as many as 10,000 to Carlow for music and song, storytelling, food, local craft and much more. We want as many of these as possible to join in our record attempt.

He has been learning to Irish dance for last few months, after he fulfilled a Facebook pledge to dance on Carlow’s Tullow St if the Carlow Shops page got 1,000 likes. He admits that his attempt wasn’t the best: “It was so bad that a local dance teacher messaged me on Facebook and said: Look, we’re going to have to teach you how to dance”.

That teacher is Adeline Dargan of the Dargan School of Irish Dance, who will be on hand at today’s attempt to show everyone their ‘one, two, threes’.

This world record attempt doesn’t require any fancy footwork – just those one, two, threes – and for all dancers to hold hands in a large circle. The event has attracted people from as far afield as Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man and Britanny.

McKenna is even going to do a solo Irish dance today, which he admits he is “terrified about”, but is confident that they can beat the record and get up to 1000 people on board for the challenge.

“You don’t even have to know how to dance to join in. I didn’t know how to dance until up to a few weeks ago and have found it fantastic and a great fitness regime,” the father of three said.

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