Anne was born and raised in Co Galway. She graduated as a registered nurse. In 1960, emigrated to Canada and lived in
Montreal for 4 years before making Kingston, Ontario, her permanent home. In 1972 Anne interrupted her operating room nursing career to become co-owner of the Frontenac Hotel. General manager for the hotel, she also managed two Irish pubs called Finnegan’s and Muldoon’s. It was there that Anne introduced Kingston to traditional Irish music. In addition to traveling to Ireland to recruit bands and musicians she hired many talented Canadian performers to provide Irish musical entertainment in the pubs.
In 1978 Anne arranged for the Echoes of Erin Concert Tour to include Kingston in their schedule . There was no looking back - she founded the Kingston Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltori Eireann, was its Chairperson for the following two years, and helped to help create the first school of Irish dancing in Kingston in 1981.
When she resumed her nursing career at the Kingston General Hospital in 1983, Anne began taking Irish dancing instruction from Peggy Kendellan in Ottawa. During this time she introduced Brockville to the Irish dancing and music culture through association with the Kingston Comhaltas Branch.
In 1988 Anne was elected Chairperson of the Eastern Comhaltas Regional Board. When the North American Provincial Council was formed in 1992, she was elected Vice Chairperson, a role which she continued to fill until she stepped down in 2012. Somehow Anne found time to introduce the Comhaltas Music Hall of Fame to Canada in 1996.
Through her encouragement and guidance the CCE Western Region was established in 1997. She so successively lobbied Ireland Head Office and the North American Provincial Council to have Canada included in the Adjudicator Program that Toronto was selected for a seminar in 2003! Through Anne’s efforts an annual Feile Cheoil was established in 2006 - it is hoped this will lead to a North American qualifying Fleadh being held in Canada.
From 2002 - 2012 Anne coordinated the Echoes of Erin concert tours in Canada and, in since 2003, was elected annually as one of two delegates to represent CCE North America at the most senior Comhaltas management committee (Ardchomhairle) in Ireland.
For most of her adult life Anne ceaselessly promoted the development and preservation of Irish traditional culture in North America. Her contributions have been immeasurable and her untimely, accidental death in 2016 has left a deep sense of loss to associations and in the hearts of countless people.
Tara Maria Keigher
chosen in 2011 chosen to represent Edmonton & Western Canada in the Festival, Tara was the first Western Canadian to make it on to the finals
Angela’s parents, Ann and Patrick, were born and raised in the Liberties in the heart of Dublin city They moved to Canada when Angela was 7. There
she began dancing and, at 10 years of age, won the “Most Promising Dancer” award - a brilliant beginning, she went on to win more than 21 “Open Championships” during her dancing career.
In 1996 Angela opened the Knock School of Irish Dance with just over ten dancers. In 1999 she received her T.C.R.G status and was certified by An Coimsiun le Rinci Gaelacha (World Irish Dancing Commission) as a teacher in Irish Dance. In 2010, Angela received her A.D.C.R.G. adjudicator certification. Today, the Knock School boasts over 110 dancers of all ages and levels. Angela’s qualifications, experience and commitment to her dancers at all program levels led to considerable success and in 2008 Angela received her A.D.C.R.G.
She has had more than eighteen Western Canadian Championships, third and sixth place in the National Championships. Her teams have placed first in Western Canada and among the top three at the National Championships. In 2013 she set a Western Canadian record having one of her dancers place 2nd in the World Championships and her team place 6th.
Each year in June, Angela choreographs and produces Knock School’s annual Dance Drama. The magnificent Winspear Centre is the venue, with just over 800 spectators for this presentation. Featuring every dancer at the school, lights, costumes, music, narration and dance bring to life traditional Irish tales - The Bee, the Mouse and the Bumclock; The Children of Lir; Maureen’s Fiddle; Fair, Brown and Trembling; Guleesh; Grainne O’Malley, the Pirate Queen, Brian Boru – King of Ireland, and Deirdre of the Sorrows. Angela’s choreography has excited and wowed audiences all over Western Canada and her commitment to her careers has brought her outstanding success within Canada, North America and the World.
Anne McConnell Strong
Rosaleen’s parents, Desmond and Breda (Whelan)
Carroll, emigrated in 1959 from Dublin, Cabra and
Phibsborough respectively, to start a new life in
Montréal, Québec. The youngest of three children, Rosaleen was raised in a strict Irish Catholic home and attended English school. It was her dad Desmond’s dream to settle in a bilingual city, have his children well educated and fluent in Canada’s two official languages, English and French, which they did.
After completing high school in Laval, Québec, Rosaleen went to Vanier College, completing her diploma in Creative Arts, and then to Concordia University, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in 1986 with a major in Linguistics.
It was that year, 1986, while at university, that Rosaleen was crowned Queen of Montreal’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade from among 52 contestants at the city’s highly esteemed, historic public-speaking event put on by the United Irish Societies of Montreal.
That same year, and for the first time ever in the history of the United Irish Societies of Montreal, Rosaleen went on to represent Montreal at Ireland’s historic International Rose of Tralee Festival. The Rose of Tralee International Festival is an event which has been held annually since 1959 as Irish communities all over the world gather to celebrate young women, acknowledging what they have and can achieve.
Rosaleen recalls her time in Tralee as a truly amazing experience - one that stays with a Rose forever. Extremely proud of her Irish roots, and to have been Montreal’s first-ever ambassador at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in 1986 was a proud moment. Needless to say, her parents, friends and family in Montreal and Dublin (including 65+ cousins!) were elated for their Montreal Rose, and still hold the memories of this unique experience very close to their hearts. Rosaleen’s dad passed away before he could see his daughter’s name etched on the Rose of Tralee Monument in Tralee Town Park, which carries the
names of all Roses from 1959 to present, still she
knows he'd be proud of his daughter being part of the
Rosaleen left Montreal in 1997 to start a new life in
Vancouver, British Columbia, with her two (now adult)
sons. Her parents followed them to be close to their grandkids and keep their Irish legacy alive. She formerly worked as a Canadian Language Benchmark assessor, placing immigrants and refugees into ESL (English as a Second Language) classes according to their levels, needs and goals. Now in Vancouver, Rosaleen works at the Department of Indigenous Services Canada (formerly Indigenous and North Affairs Canada) ... contributing to this 'new found land' and frequently rekindling her Irish roots with visits to Ireland.
Peggy was born in Creggs County, Galway, and the cottage she grew up in is now a heritage site and museum dedicated to the memory of Charles Stewart Parnell. Peggy left Creggs and ventured to Dublin where she met my father Joe Kendellan. They immigrated with two daughters, Joan and Sue, in 1957.
She was the County Galway champion dancer 3 years in a row. She also, excelled in the Irish language and won a scholarship and at the time it meant spending the summers in a school down by the seaside enjoying the summer weather and speaking only in the Irish language. She continued teaching Irish dancing in the local schools. Sometimes this meant her getting on her bicycle with her gramophone strapped on her back and trekking in awful weather to local events. She left Creggs and ventured to Dublin where she met my father Joe Kendellan. They immigrated along with my sister and myself in 1957. By day she was a secretary in the Federal Government where she worked until her retirement in 1976, but by night that Irish dancing was calling her.
About 1960 she was a founding member of the Irish society of Ottawa and went on to teach Irish dancing in Ottawa for over the next 30 years. In some cases she taught 3 generations of dancers. Her first dancers weren't even Irish they were her two daughters and the neighborhood girls who were daughters of German and Italian immigrants. Word got around about her teaching Irish dancing and soon she had all these children of Irish immigrants asking her to teach their daughters and sons, as they yearned for all things that were Irish, as she did.
Countless musicians got their start with her as she persuaded them to play the music for her dancers. Local theater groups called upon her to contribute to their plays with some Irish dancing or teaching the Actors to Irish dance. During those years her name was synonymous with Irish culture and dance in Ottawa. Always by her side was her husband Joe who picked up the dancers, carried the tape recorder and when talent was short and the dancers needed a few minutes to change their shoes Joe would sing an Irish song or tell an Irish joke. Over the years he became almost as famous as she did with his songs and jokes. Joe passed away in 1996 at the age of 77 and Peggy in 2016 at the age of 93. she spent the last 20 years of her life in Vancouver to be with her daughters Joan and Sue. Peggy's daughter Joan Babb danced for her mother for 30 years.
Marie has been a prominent member of the Vancouver I Irish community since emigrating from Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin in 1957. In fact, there are very few committees within the Vancouver Irish Community that have not included Marie as a member at one time.
Her involvement with the Stage Eireann (Emerald Players – founding member) drama group is where Marie dedicated most of her years. Still an active member of the Theatre, Marie she remains involved in four Theatre groups in North Vancouver and does the hospitality for the Theatre BC North Shore Zone.
Marie has been a member of the Irish Women’s Network of BC since its founding in 1998 and for many years organized the annual golf tournament. She volunteered as an ambassador at Irish House during the 2012 Olympics welcoming many Irish athletes. Today she is a director on the Board of the Irish Benevolent Society of BC which runs the quarterly Irish Born Seniors luncheon. The fund also assists those in need.
T.C.R.G. & A.D.C.R.G.
Tara School of Irish Dance
Tara Dancers Performance Association
Elizabeth’s great-great-grandparents Brian and Bridget McKeever
emigrated to St. John, NB. from Limavady, Co. Derry ca. 1854-60 Elizabeth's contribution to the promotion and preservation of Irish culture in Canada was recognized by Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann with her Induction into the Canadian Eastern Region Music Hall of Fame in 2000.
A professional Highland dancer, she discovered traditional Irish dance while living in Toronto in the late 1980s. When she moved back to Halifax, Nova Scotia, she established the Scaip na Cleití dance group which she has led for nearly 20 years. Elizabeth is credited with introducing traditional Irish set and Sean-Nós step dance to Nova Scotia.
A highly regarded workshop leader and dance caller, Elizabeth has taught at festivals and dance camps throughout Eastern Canada. Living in Europe, 2003 – 2007, she taught the Brussels set dancers and instructed at events throughout Belgium and Northern France.
President of An Cumann, the Irish Association of Nova Scotia, she also serves on the executive of the Charitable Irish Society of Halifax. When not dancing or teaching dance, Elizabeth runs her own writing and editorial services firm, Acappella Communications Inc.
Jessica Christine Crowley.
The Rose of Tralee
Angela Hogan T.C.R.G. & A.D.C.R.G.
The Knock School of Dance
Ena O'Brien 151
Invited to perform at the Tuam Traditional Music Festival for the “Gathering”. 2013
Michaela Hinds .
Chair: Canadian Region Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann
Mairead began her dancing career in Toronto. After moving to Vancouver, she danced and taught for the Comerford School where she continued to compete at the highest levels including the Western Regionals, North American and the World Championships. Successful in competition, Mairead placed top ten (1st to 10th) eight times in the regional and top ten six times in North America. Though she enjoyed performing and countless shows, her passion was with teaching where she could share her enthusiasm and energy! Mairead opened her class on Vancouver Island in 1995 while attending the University of Victoria and has taught on the island ever since. Outside of dancing, she is a certified Fitness Instructor and can be found running around the seawall or managing her three children.
The daughter of Irish parents living away from home, Margaret
was sent at the age of five to one of the first Irish Dance classes in Coventry, England. At age sixteen having trained and danced competitively in England and Ireland, she started teaching for St. Brendan’s Irish Club in Coventry.
With her husband Matt and daughter Jackie, she emigrated to Canada in 1964, living first in Uranium City for two years and then made Fort McMurray home. The call of dance returned and Fort McMurray soon became a huge part of the pioneer days of Irish Dancing in Western Canada, and the Tara School of Irish Dancing excelled in solo, ceili and figure dancing. Over 100 dancers travelled regularly to competitions in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. Her highly successful dancing schools in Alberta and British Columbia have developed dancers who represented Western Canada at World Championships of Irish Dancing and produced many stirring Irish Dance Shows.
Margaret is an experienced Irish Dancing Teacher and Adjudicator registered with the Irish Dancing Commission in Dublin. The school is a member of the Western Canada Irish Dance Teachers Association and the North American Irish Dance Teachers Association.She is furthermore founder and director of the non-profit Tara Dancers Performance Association formed to support the performance activities of the Tara School of Irish Dancing. This is a low-profile association which acts in an advisory capacity re fundraising and costume and performance costs. All parents of dancers in the school belong to the association. There is no mandatory commitment; however parent help at school productions, fundraisers etc. is needed and appreciated.
Irish Dancing is a constantly evolving art form based on tradition, with a history tracing back to the 1500’s. Combining artistry, grace and physical strength, the dance itself has become increasingly intricate and athletic. Dance shows such as Riverdance and Lord of the Dance have popularized this art form worldwide.
The Tara School of Irish Dancing continued to flourish in Fort McMurray, competing at the World level until Mullen moved to Kamloops in 1983. Once there, Margaret and daughter Jackie established The Tara School of Irish Dancing in Kamloops shortly after the relocation from Fort McMurray. When she relocated to Campbell River in 2005, despite her best intentions to hang up the dance shoes, within six months she opened a branch of The Tara School of Irish Dancing in Campbell River, continuing the community performance focus. Audiences in Kamloops and Campbell River enthusiastically welcomed the dancers, and Irish Dancing is now enjoyed and appreciated in both communities. Mullen earned her TCRG (Teacher’s Certificate) and ADCRG (Adjudicator) in 1975 and became a Grade Examiner in 2010. She travels extensively to adjudicate dance competitions and conduct Grade Exams.
When the annual World Championships were being held for the first time in Canada Montreal, 2015, the Irish Dancing Commission (An Comisiun Rinci Gaelacha) honoured eight “Legends of Canada” as being at the forefront of Irish Dancing in the country - Margaret was one of them! More than 5,000 dancers from all over the world competed in the nine-day event. The majority of dancers were from Canada, the United States, Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales, but there were also dancers from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan, Mexico, Russia, European mainland and other far-flung countries. There were 13 Fort McMurray dancers who qualified at the first Western Canada Oireachtas (Qualifying Event for World Championships) in Edmonton in 1975 and all travelled to dance at the World’s at the Mansion House in Dublin, Ireland the following Easter.
Choosing then to be non-competitive the school focused on a community performance and produced many stirring dance shows in Kamloops.
1986 Montreal St. Patrick’s Day Parade Queen
1986 Montreal Rose
ROSE OF TRALEE
Born in Surrey, British Columbia where she has lived her entire life with Irish roots going back to her Papa Keigher, who was born in Tulsk, Co. Roscommon. Her maternal grandparents (Burkes and Kelly) are from Dublin and Kildare. Her mom, uncles and grandparents emigrated to Vancouver in 1965. At the age of eight, following in her parents and Nana’s footsteps, she began Irish dancing with the Steel School of Irish Dance, and continued on for another 15 years.
Tara graduated in 2010 from Kwantlen Polytechnic University and began work at Surrey Memorial Hospital.
She says that being part of the Rose of Tralee
International Festival was one of the greatest
experiences of her life and she will never
forget the bonds she made with others of Irish
backgrounds. Tara was a participant in the 2013
Miss BC pageant and is active in fund
raising for the Cops for Cancer
His Excellency Loyola Hearn, Canadian Ambassador to Ireland and Tara, Oonagh & Anhony O’Gara organisers of the 2011 Rose of Tralee Festival.
Marie (Byrne) Morris 125
Stage Eireann (Emerald Players – founding member)
Irish Women’s Network of BC
Director on the Board of the Irish Benevolent Society of BC
The Brockville Irish Cultural Society was established on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th 1996. With the goal of promoting Irish music, song, dance and culture in Brockville and area Following are some of the society’s achievement --- Monthly evenings at St. Lawrence College Student Pub with performance and enjoyment of traditional Irish music, dance, song, and poetry.--- Irish Dance classes for adults
Participation in community events – the Multicultural Festival, Celtic Festival, Museum events and New Year’s Eve Concerts --- . Workshops in Irish Dance and Fiddle by professional teachers - Slow Jam Sessions for beginner musicians --- Concerts and Workshops over the years by well renowned traditional Irish Musicians and Dancers such as The Angel Band (New Hampshire), Tommy Peoples (Ireland), Sean Tyrell (Ireland), Maeve Donnelly (Ireland), The Searsons (Ontario), Ena O’Brien Céilí Band (Toronto), Ryan McCaffrey (Calgary) now a world famous lead dancer of Riverdance; Sláinte Mhaith (Cape Breton Celtic band), Díorma (young musicians from Ireland), Reid Taheny Irish Band Toronto.
Joining the Irish Cultural Society, it’s as easy as filling out the application form but join or not, you are welcome to join the activities which include music, dance, storytelling, singing, drama, language, history.
The Nelson Doyle Irish Dancers., Miramichi, New Brunswick, was a volunteer organization for about 20 years, instructed by Ellen Doyle and including boys & girls ages 5 to adult, instructed in traditional Irish dance, language and history. Students paid no fee for lessons and advanced by merit within the group.
Ellen had over 30 years dance training and experience. Her vision was that all children have the opportunity to dance, no matter their economic situation. Regular fundraisers helped cover expenses.
Well known on both the local and international stage - TV appearances included (CBC), Breakfast Televison (ASN) and documentaries featuring Irish immigration to New Brunswick (CTV and BBC). They performed in Ireland and are featured annually at Canada’s Irish Festival on the Miramichi. As well, they have performed at Celtic Colours International Festival, Souffle d’Irlande Festival in Gaspé, Quebec and at the RBC Multicultural Festival in Halifax.
They regularly performed for Seniors and Children’s charities including Senior’s Multicultural Day, Santa’s Helpers, and countless benefit concerts.
The inclusion of both the Western Canada Irish
Dance Teachers Association and
Irish Dance Teachers Association of Eastern Canada
recognizes the continuous dedication of Irish Dance
Teachers and Dancing Schools in providing excellence
in Irish Dancing to Canadian children in decades past a
nd in the future throughout Canada from coast to coast.
Each November, the Association runs a regional championship called the
Oireachtas (a Gaelic word pronounced Oh-rock-tiss) where the best dancers from across the region compete for titles and qualifying places to attend both the North American and World Irish Dance Championships the following year.Please reach out to the Regional Director in your region to inquire about dance lessons in your area and/or to support our endeavours (such as The Oireachtas) through sponsorship. OIREACHTAS It is with great pleasure that the Western Canada Region extends this invitation to all registered ADCRG’s in North America, Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland to adjudicate the 2017 Western Canada Regional Oireachtas will be held in Victoria, BC, November 10-12, 2017 244
Michaela Marie Siegmund-Hinds was born in 1995 at Brampton Ontario. Growing up in her Irish family culture, she took up the love and talent for Irish dancing at age 3. She has been Irish dancing for the past 18 years and has achieved more than another Canadian in Irish Dancing to date. Her record is remarkable: 11-time Canadian Champion, 8-time North American, 5-time Great Britain, 3-time All-Ireland and 6-time World Champion.
Michaela's mother, Catherine, was born in Belfast, Ireland, and a dancer herself. Michaela truly believes it has been her Mum’s constant support and dedication that has enabled her to achieve so much in Irish Dancing and in other aspects of her life. She is grateful to her Mum for all the sacrifices made which have allowed her to reach the pinnacle of Irish Dancing world wide. In her own words, :My Mum guided me constantly and I am so grateful for all the sacrifices made that have allowed me to pursue my dreams of becoming a world champion Irish Dancer. My success is all because of her dedication and belief she has had in me.”
Currently studying Kinesiology and Health Promotion at Sheridan College, Ontario, her hometown, allows her to continue in her passion for Dancing and her dream of becoming a dance teacher, following in the footsteps of Rose Fearon, who is one of her biggest role models.
Upon completion of her studies Michaela plans to pursue a career in kinesiology and rehabilitation which can be applied to Irish dancing. On her minimal spare time she enjoys being with her friends and family, as well as reading and exercising.
Sixth Time World Champion Irish Dancer
Margaret (Peggy) Kendellan
A pillar of Irish Culture in Canada
The Ottawa School of Dance 179
The Nelson Doyle Irish Dancers
A volunteer organization
keeping the tradition alive
Jessica is a Cape Breton fiddler whose forebears come from Counties Cork and Kerry in Ireland. Her Dad comes from Grand Bank Newfoundland and moved to Cape Breton as a teenager. So it is that Chrissie, now living in Sydne was steeped in the culture of the beautiful Margaree area of Nova Scotia, Canada, a place known for its cherished musical culture. The music of the ceilidh resonates in the majestic mountains and peaceful valleys incorporating not only the tunes of the Scottish Gaels but also those of the area’s Irish and French-Acadians.
Inspired by the traditions of artists who have gone before her, with a firm foundation in the traditional music of Cape Breton she is nonetheless one of an irrepressible curiosity and desire to create and discover, Now she is bringing her music worldwide. She has performed throughout Canada, the United States, the UK, as well as Ireland, France, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, captivating audiences with a talent that belies her youth.
But it wasn't always that way. Being traditional and ‘cool’ didn’t seem possible to a girl handed a fiddle at 12 years of age. She pretty well kept her fiddle 'hidden'.. However, a surprise visit to her school by a group of traditional artists with - piano, bagpipes, drums and fiddle – in one band. She loved them for being traditional in every way and beyond!
The visitors were part of the Celtic Colours ‘In the School Program.’ Launched in 2000, to give Cape Breton students an opportunity to witness fresh, first-rate Celtic music. This Oct. 2017, for the second straight year, Crowley and company will be part of 13 festival artists who will visit 21 schools across the island as part of a Celtic Colours programme being sponsored by TD Canada Trust aimed at sustaining the island's Celtic culture, knowing that its survival hinges on a younger generation that believes its culture is worth preserving. ... '"it's something we grow here and share with the rest of the world"
Christie Crowley's first recording, released in 2007 when she was 17, heralded the emergence of a fascinating new talent. A Sonicbids “Artists Spotlight” honour and various Music Nova Scotia and East Coast Music Award showcases including the ECMA Rising Star and Roots Room, were acknowledgement of her great potential.Her debut record was nominated for a Music Nova Scotia Award, ECMA and Canadian Folk Music Award, leading her to be selected as the CBC Galaxie’s Celtic Artist of the Month (May 2009). Her music is in a new direction; a path of fearless innovation which has earned her a 2013 Canadian Folk Music Award, a Top 20 Under 20 in Canada award, and numerous East Coast Music Association and Music Nova Scotia nominations.
To maintain a fresh and lively sound that often gets lost in a recording process, all track arrangements took place the night before each studio session. The result is an album recorded with the same energy and spontaneity you’d find in Chrissy’s live shows… an honest and raw sound once described as ”fiery fiddle playing with a distinctly mischievous personality” (Tim Readman, Penguin Eggs Magazine).”
Her highly anticipated second album, released in 2010, did not disappoint, garnering the same nominations once again. Many fans expected a recording of the traditional tunes of her repertoire, and were pleasantly surprised to discover that Chrissy had recorded a mixture of new and old. Chrissy Crowley’s original compositions and her experimentation with various instruments and contemporary arrangements are the 'voice' of her irrepressible free spirit.
Mary Josephine (McDonnell) Butler 39
Founding member of
Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America
President of Án Coimisiún , Dublin Irish Cultural Hall of Fame Inductee 2007
Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann
(Gathering of the Musicians of Ireland)
was founded in 1951 by a group of Irish pipers who were concerned Ireland's traditional music was in decline and in danger of being lost. The organization has grown into a global movement involving tens of thousands of people encompassing traditional Irish dance , music and the Irish language. .The Comhaltas movement is organised into local branches, where most activities and classes take place. The Branch is the fundamental unit as it brings members together to organize sessions, classes, concerts, festivals, exhibitions, fleadhanna cheoil (music competitions), and other events both for their own enjoyment and that of the community at large..
The Rose of Tralee International Festival is one of the largest and longest running festivals in Ireland, celebrating 58 years in 2017. The heart of the festival is the selection of the Rose of Tralee which brings young women of Irish descent from around the world to County Kerry, Ireland for a global celebration of Irish culture.
The festival includes street entertainment, carnival, live
concerts, theatre, circus, markets, funfair, fireworks and Rose Parades. 161
Award Winning Cape Breton Fiddler Passing on the Tradition 195
A native of Killimor, Co. Galway, Ena emigrated to Toronto over 30 years ago. She has been in constant demand as a musician for the thriving Irish scene - playing at various concerts, feis and dance competitions ever since. .
She hails from an area that is a hotbed of traditional music in East Galway, Ireland and has played accordion since she was a wee girl. Her older brother, Joe, was an accordionist and the renowned accordion player Joe Burke was a neighbour. She moved to Canada in the early 60’s and was soon playing professionally with a folk/traditional group, a gig that lasted for about seven years, with gigs throughout Canada, including the North West Territories, and the United States. Her 2 children Ciara and Ruari grew up in a home filled with music and both became champion Irish stepdancers. As her children grew, Ena continued to be involved with Irish traditional music, playing for Irish Dancing competitions across Canada and the US, helping to found a Toronto branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, the international Irish music association, as well as teaching music from her home and at Comhaltas conventions
in 1999, Ena recorded the CD “The Galway Rambler” with her good friend Pat O’Gorman on flute, a musical partnership that started on a Comhaltas bus trip to Buffalo in 1981 – the tune was “The Yellow Tinker”. Ena was invited back to Ireland in 2013 to perform at the Tuam Traditional Music Festival for the “Gathering”. This was a project put forward by the Irish Government to encourage emigrants to return home to Ireland for a visit. Ena continues to play for dances and sessions around Toronto and Southern Ontario and also provides music for Irish Stepdance contests throughout North America.
Maréad O’Brien 152
Top Ten in Regional & North American competitions
“Mae” learned her dancing in her native Dublin where she also met and married Patrick “Paddy” Joseph Butler. Mae and Paddy arrived in Toronto in 1953 with their sons Michael, Patrick Jr. and daughter June.
She opened an Irish Dancing School and there Irish Dancing was taught in its true and traditional manner. Both Mae and Paddy were instrumental in revolutionizing Irish Dancing in Canada and throughout North America. Each was held in high esteem among their fellow teachers, parents and students. It was a perfection realized through their highly trained dancers who competed with honour and excellence throughout North America and Ireland.
The Butlers produced many champion dancers, (including their son, Patrick Jr. and their daughter, June) teachers and World Champions along with winners of the very coveted North American Feis Commission belt. In 1964, Mae travelled to New York to become one of the founding members of IDTANA (Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America). Mae served as Vice President of Án Coimisiún located in Dublin Ireland and was a moving force in the Canadian and North American Irish Dance Teachers’ Association. In 1982 Mae was inducted into the Irish Cultural Hall of Fame by The North American Feis Commission. This partnership exceeded boundaries in Traditional Irish Dancing. There seemed to be no end to the efforts of Mae Butler.
Paddy, retired from the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission), died June 27, 1999 in Toronto. Mae Butler died in Toronto on January 16, 2003. She was a Life long Vice President of the Irish Dancing Commission. Their daughter June died on June 19, 2003.
People of Irish heritage are thankful for Mae and Paddy ... their memory will live on forever in their children through Irish Dancing and Music.
Canadian Eastern Region Music Hall of Fame Inductee (2000)
Violet Moore School of Irish Dance
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Vancouver, Canada
Violet began teaching Irish Dance in 1963 in St Patrick’s Catholic Church, basement Just a few years into her new challenge, a pupil told her about a Championship competition to be held in San Francisco. The purpose of that competition was to find a dancer who would qualify for the first ever All-World Irish Dance Championship to be held at Grafton Street, Dublin.
Violet recognized an outstanding dancer in her class and, with permission from the girl’s parents, the Violet Moore School of Irish Dance entry, Iris Peake, was off to San Francisco. Iris won first place. She received her silver trophy, and an Airline ticket to the Dublin Irish Dancing Championships. While in Dublin, Iris and her mother stayed in Violet’s family home. This momentous event meant that Iris Peake became the first western Canadian and possibly the first eastern Canadian to represent Canada’s Irish dance community.
Since the early seventies, the Violet Moore School of Irish Dance has gained much acclaim in Irish Dancing as more pupils of the school cotinue to succeed at Championship competitions throughout North America and Ireland. Violet has long since acquired her adjudication qualifications and judges championship competitions throughout North America and Ireland.
Passing on the tradition: each of the ex-dancers of Violet’s School qualified under an extremely demanding, 2-day “An Coimisún exams” and many of her former pupils have successful schools of their own in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver.