Ireland Dance Vacation

Wild Musette is pleased to sponsor a week of traditional music and set dancing in County Sligo, Ireland. This event is being coordinated with our Irish set dance workshops. The goal of those workshops is to teach people enough dances that they can hold their own at a full sets céili.

The week will center around the South Sligo Summer School in the village of Tubercurry from July 15-21, 2018 and will feature ceilis, dance workshops, musical instrument classes, concerts and lectures.

Planning Your Trip

The South Sligo Summer School falls in between two other major festivals: Willie Clancy Week and the Joe Mooney Summer School. These three festivals are collectively known as the trifecta, and there are rugged individuals who do all three. By focusing on the South Sligo Summer School, Wild Musette hopes to support individuals with differing appetites. You could begin your stay a week early and take on Willie Clancy Summer School with wild abandon, or extend your stay a week later and enjoy the delights of Drumshanbo. Or you could take the extra time to tour around western or northern Ireland. The best parts of the island are within easy reach.

Music and Dance Festivals

Music and dance festivals run all summer. Here are some major ones to check out.

Willie Clancy Summer School: July 7-15, 2018

Willie Clancy week is one of Ireland’s largest and longest-running traditional music and dance events. Attracting well-known talent and hundreds of people this festival is for the enthusiast who likes to be in the thick of things. The festival takes place in Miltown Malbay on the coast of beautiful County Clare. The menu of classes is extensive and the dances are large.

South Sligo Summer School: July 15-21, 2018

The South Sligo Summer School is a charming week of music and dance featuring classes during the day and concerts and céilis at night. The school takes place at venues throughout the village of Tubbercurry in County Sligo, home to one of Ireland’s strongest fiddling traditions.

Joe Mooney Summer School: July 21-28, 2018

The Joe Mooney Summer School is a festival of music and dance known for its special charm and excellent dancing. The school takes over the village of Drumshanbo in County Leitrim and features instructors from throughout Ireland as well as from the local community.

Lietrim Dance Residency: July 30- August 4, 2018

Edwina Guckian is sponsoring a week-long Sean Nós Dance residency in Carrick on Shannon in Co. Leitrim. This is an opportunity for adults to develop their footwork.


We recommend that you fly into Shannon International Airport (SNN).


You can rent a car at Shannon airport. Sharing a vehicle with a friend makes sense. You will have to purchase insurance from the rental agency as Irish law does not allow your international private insurance to cover rental liability.

Rail travel in Ireland is challenging. You can use it to get between major cities but generally not for local travel. The bus system is quite limited.


Travelers should make their own accommodations through the particular schools they will be attending. This is cheaper than working through an agency, though that is also a viable option. If you want to go the agency route, consider Sykes Cottages. Doubling up with a friend is encouraged.


Below are some rough cost estimates that you can use for planning.

  • Airfare: $1300
  • Food: Comparable to the U.S.
  • Car Rental: $275-375 per week
  • Festival: $140 for the week plus $10 for each nightly céilí dance
  • Housing:
    • AirBnB: $50-150/night
    • Trivago Hotels: $80-110/night
    • Cottages through a broker: $600-900/week

The festival will publish direct links to local accommodations. You can obtain a better rate by working directly with the local provider.


There’s much to do in western Ireland. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Reading to Get in the Mood

  • Gill Books publishes all sorts of Irish literature.
  • The Red Haired Girl from the Bog by Patricia Monaghan.
  • Poetry by John O’Donohue (podcast).
  • Bog mysteries by Erin Hart.
  • Novels and short stories by John Boyne.
  • The classics
    • James Joyce
    • Dylan Thomas
    • William Butler Yeats
    • Samuel Beckett
    • C.S. Lewis
    • George Bernard Shaw
    • Seamus Heaney
    • Oscar Wilde
    • Jonathan Swift

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