Ring of Kerry Irish Dancers

preserving the cultural tradition of Irish ceili and set dancing since 1991

News about the RKIDs

March 23, 2019

2019 St. Patrick's Day Season

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 RKIDs Events

Performing at the Kentlands Mansion

Irish Take Over
the Mansion
Monica in Full Voice

Our own Monica Harwood worked at the Arts Barn in Kentlands until just recently. While there, she conceived and executed the idea of an Irish culture night. On Friday, March 15, it came together at the 120-year old Kentlands Mansion, former home of the prominent Tschiffely and Kent families. Mitch Fanning led the youthful Bog Band. Poet Kristin Ferragut and Monica, our coloratura soprano opera singer, performed to the delight of the St. Patrick’s Day celebrants.

Meaghan, Mo and John
Ready to See the Show

Topping off the program, the Ring of Kerry Irish Dancers Performance Group led a ceili. Linda, Chuck, Maureen, Bill, Maddy, Kate, Sonja, Tom, Ann Marie, Emmett, Marie V, Connie, and Maura, demonstrated parts of the Clare Mazurka, Four-Hand Reel, North Kerry and other dances. Maureen gave brief instructions, inviting the enthusiastic audience to join in some of the dances. Joining and cheering them on were Mo, John, Meaghan, Pat G, and her friend Phyllis, Monica’s fiancée Tom, Obie, and Marilyn O. It was a grand evening full of the best our Irish American culture has to offer. Thanks go out to Monica for inviting us to be part of this great event.

Doing the Four-Hand Reel
Accompanied by the Bog Band

Click/Tap here for a video of Monica, the Bog Band and the RKIDs at Kentlands Mansion


Every so often our class pauses to review the dances we have learned and to socialize. The most recent break took place at the mini-ceili on Tuesday, March 12. Larry Frank called several dances, including the Cashel Set and the High-Cauled Cap. Sustaining the group was a table full of fresh fruit to yummy cookies. Well, more cookies than fruit. Thanks extend to Kate for organizing the food portion of the event.

Video of the Clare Plain Set Action:

RKIDs Beneath the Stacks and On the Road

Can't Keep this
Library Quiet
In early March, the Performance Group entertained a small audience at the Little Falls Library. Maureen and Chuck directed, Michelle provided green necklaces to get the audience in the mood, Bobbie brought the capes and cummerbunds, Tom brought the music, and Russell, Maura, Evan, Sandy, Linda Emmett, Maddy and Bill brought their dancing shoes. Also pictured is Margo, the librarian, who invited us to return for our second year there.
Every Audience's

We did not need a tow. We did not need a flat tire fixed. We did not need a battery boost. But, the Performance Group DID need to show off their set and ceili dancing skills at a recent American Automobile Association event at Gaithersburg's Hilton Garden Inn. The crowd was there to learn about CIE tours to Ireland offered in conjunction with AAA. They were treated to some Irish dancing by the RKIDs. Similar to what they did at the Kentlands Mansion, Bill, Maddy, Linda, Maura, Kate, Tom, Ann Marie R, Emmett, Michelle, Russell, and Connie, led by Chuck and Maureen, demonstrated dances and then got the audience to join in several of them. The evening seemed to be quite a success with lots of excitement created by CIE's representative, Anthony, and by the lively Performance Group. They aren't done yet, having at least two more shows to do before the end of April!

 Social Group

Trad Irish Breakfast at Lahinch

A little history: In the early days of the RKIDs, energetic member Pat L. started the tradition of joining together for breakfast on St. Patrick’s Day. We thusly fortified ourselves for the day ahead. After enjoying a meal at the Woodside Deli in Rockville, we traveled via Metro to the Four Provinces in Cleveland Park for a day full of dancing, singing, and lots of fun! When the Woodside Deli moved and the Four Provinces closed, the tradition sadly went on hiatus for several years.

Mary Ann Enveloped
by Green Boa
Founders of RKIDs

Then, things got rolling again last year with a traditional Irish breakfast at the Lahinch Tavern and Grill followed by music and dancing. We returned to Lahinch this year with even more people, reviving the tradition! Along with five of the original RKIDs (Emmett, Roger, Mary Ann, Marilyn O and Obie), Sandy and Evan with Jenny, Juris, and baby Magnus, Suzanne, Robin, Kate, Dan O’C, Connie, Marie, Bob H, Christine, Jim C with Kathy and Bridget, Mary B, Sue, Jean and Joe, Maddy and Bill enjoyed the buffet. Afterward, many of them moved into the tent attached to the main restaurant, continuing the conviviality. It neatly tied up the 2019 St. Patrick’s Day Season. Most everyone wore the green of the season, including of our new green jackets, perfect for the cool weather. A couple pair of socks were noteworthy, too.

Sock o'The Mornin' to You
The Long Row of Tables
 Irish Activities
Ladies' Rose Portion
of the Bonfire Dance
Undeterred by Snow

The St. Patrick’s Day Season began this year with the Blackthorn Ceili that was held on a snowy March 8th at McCathran Hall in Washington Grove. The octagon’s walls were thumping to the music by Rambling House (Joe Dezarn, Tina Eck, Marc Glickman, and Pat Cavanagh) and the wooden floor was bouncing as 60+ dancers did the Merchant Set, the Haymakers’ Jig, the Cashel Set, and several other favorites. Larry Frank was there to guide us with his expert calling. Many people make this ceili happen, but a huge thank you goes out to Carol Samour and David Harmon, residents of Washington Grove, who sponsor the ceili and to Obie who pulls it altogether by setting the date, hiring the band, providing the decorations, devising the program, and getting people to help.


Busy Kate Sets Up
the Buffet Table
Kate, Jim, Marilyn O.
Wearing the Right Colors

Kate coordinates the potluck. She relates: “Towards the end of the ceili, I talked with a handsome stranger who was getting some last minute food in the dining area. His response in answer to my question, 'What group are you from?' was awe inspiring. He said that he was from Ireland, but on a business trip in DC. He saw on the website, sets.ie, that there was a ceili in Gaithersburg. So he took the Metro and found his way to Washington Grove. Although he was on his way back to DC, he wanted me to know that he had a great time and that it was a wonderful ceili. And then he was gone! Anyone have more details about our handsome Celtic stranger?”

St. Patrick's Day Parade

Stepping Off
All Smiles after
the Parade

The high-steppin’ Ring of Kerry Irish Dancers once again brought rounds of applause as they danced down the streets of the Washingtonian Center in the annual Gaithersburg St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Roger, Tom, and Emmett arranged for things to go off without a blip! Monica H, Robin, Kate, Marie V, David M, JIm, Bobbie, Connie, Bill, Maddy, Willie, Dan C, Evan, Sandy, Chuck, Maureen, Toni, Obie (cheering from the sidelines), Sonja, Maura, Michelle, and first timers Meaghan, Marilyn W, Monica R, and Brian, braved the brisk air and bright sunshine as they marched and Four-Hand Reeled away.

Post-Parade Party

After the parade, the marchers and munchers gathered at the O’Brien’s for a corned beef and cabbage feast. Thanks to Michelle, Maura, Kate, Gina, Sonja, and Maureen, the “Corned Beef Cookers,” we were able to enjoy this traditional Irish American meal complete with potatoes, turnips, and lots of side dishes. Barkeep Roger mixed up the liquid entertainment — the Irish coffee — to the hearty approval of his clients.

Dan C. Hoists an Irish Coffee
with Chuck
Later, we were entertained by David M's piano tunes and Willie on guitar, who gave us three pub songs. Meaghan, one of our newest members, astonished the group with her step dancing skills and Obie and Marilyn’s granddaughter, Nuala, also showed off her hard and soft shoe skills. Marilyn O filled in for the missing Colleen (she was celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago, per her plan to visit all the major cities with big parades), with her rendition of the Unicorn Song. This was followed by some dancing by the RKIDs under the direction of Chuck. Another great time!

Video of the Party and Parade

 About Town
About Town

The AFI Theater in Silver Spring holds an Irish Film Festival every year, usually during the first weekend in March. Evan, Sandy, Marilyn O, and Obie sampled a few of the screenngs this year. A favorite was Lost and Found, a humorous accounting of people in and around the lost and found office at a train station in Ireland.

Which Way is Tara?

Margaret Mitchell’s classic saga, Gone with the Wind, contains references to the Irish throughout its 950 pages. Scarlet’s father, Gerald O’Hara, an Irish immigrant, instilled in his daughter a love of the land which he claims is an irish trait. No other ethnic group is mentioned as often according to author David O’Connell. The movie version of the book does not refer to the Irish so prominently, but it is still fun to see the film on the big screen. Connie, Sonja, Kate, Marieke and her husband Willem, and Marilyn O went to see the vintage film recently. Afterwards, they discussed the story at Carrabba’s where Dan O’C and Tom joined the movie-goers.


Maura and Larry S. are always on the go and this time it was to New York for a bit of a Quinn family reunion. Her sister, Cara, from Texas was there and also their cousin Patrick, his wife Rina, and their children. Maura, whose maiden name is Quinn (see the photo), reported that it was “a great break after the last break (of my foot).”

Marilyn W. and Bob B. are home after two wonderful weeks of seeing friends and family and basking in the warmth of Florida sunshine.  Also returning from a cruise in the Carribbean are Emma and Jerry.  Glad to have you back and thanks for bringing the warm weather with you!