Young Portarlington dancers win silver

A PORTARLINGTON Irish dancing school that began just over a year ago with a class of absolute beginners has already achieved All Ireland glory.

A PORTARLINGTON Irish dancing school that began just over a year ago with a class of absolute beginners has already achieved All Ireland glory.

Dubliner Jennifer McDonnell formed her school in her adopted home of Portarlington in April 2010, and children who had never worn dancing shoes before began to learn their first steps. Last month six of her 30 pupils travelled to the INEC in Killarney with Jennifer to take part in the All Ireland competitions where they outdid themselves, scooping first place in several sections.

Mum Lorraine Hoary who helped out on the trip explained that they wanted to give the children the opportunity to experience a really big event and to meet other dancers from Ireland and the UK.

“We didn’t expect such success since they were all beginners a year ago. We’re so proud,” she said.

The students took part in many competitions throughout the past year. Their first major win was in the Dublin Championships in November when Caitlin Hoary and Zoe Hoey both won their category, while other students did extremely well with most being placed in the top five.

Part of the Cumman Rince De Mheasa, students of the school range from age three to 13, and attend classes every Monday and Wednesday in Portarlington Community Centre. They are looking forward to performing at the upcoming Lions Club Family Fun day in the People’s Park on Sunday August 7.

“Our aim is to encourage children to have fun and build confidence in themselves, while making new friends and most of all to enjoy dancing,” Lorraine said.