Ring of Kerry Irish Dancers

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

Remembering Erin Lynch

by Marilyn O'Brien

How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?
How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
How do find a word that means Maria?
How do you keep a wave upon the sand?
Maria…makes me…laugh.
(Taken from The Sound of Music)

There was no chance of solving a problem or holding a moonbeam like Erin Lynch. She was on her own path…a path of love, friendship, laughter, kindness, fun, and charm. At the young age of 58, Erin moved on from this world, but her legacy will live on forever. The people who were lucky enough to meet her will be forever changed due to her huge heart and love of life.

I met Erin in the early days of the RKIDs. She and her two sisters, Pat and Sheila, joined the dance group shortly after their mother had died. They were looking for some help in working through the pain of losing a woman, who by all accounts, was an extraordinary person. The RKIDs was the setting for some healing to begin.

It was our lucky day. Erin went on to become an excellent dancer. Obie said, “She was so light on her feet. It was a joy to dance with her.” And I have said many, many times, “She was my favorite dance partner for the High Cauled Cap.” Not everyone was so pleased with Erin, however. Our teacher at the time often had to blow her whistle (yes!) at her for talking and laughing during class! There always seemed to be trouble in “Erin’s set.” It was rather ironic that Erin eventually became the teacher of our class. For several years she had us reeling and jigging with lots of smiles thrown in. No whistle needed.

We all loved her. She made us laugh and if she was there, you knew it would be a good time. She was also very kind. A group of RKIDs went to New York City during the early days of Riverdance. As we walked back to the Roger Smith Hotel late at night after the show, an elderly man happened to be crossing the street at the same time. He was bent over and leaning heavily on a cane. We all moved on past him, but Erin thought he might need some help. She gently put her hand on his elbow to guide him on his way. But this was New York City. With a jerk, he turned and began pounding her with his cane. She backed off quickly and tried to explain she was only trying to help him. Of course, we all began to laugh and on our return trip the following day at Penn Station, we did a reenactment of the whole scene.

The RKIDs performed at many events over the years. Erin was always involved either as a dancer or an announcer. Someone came up with the idea of having her sign (she was an interpreter for Montgomery County Public Schools for 36 years) Danny Boy during a break in the show. There she stood in front of big crowds with her hands and arms moving to the tune, making it look like a dance. It was beautiful and always appreciated by the audiences.

Erin and her sisters went on the first RKIDs trip to Ireland in 1995. If you go to ringofkerrydancers.org/footnotes.html, you can read a little about that. The others in the group were: Emmett, Carl and Jean, Dick and Dixie, Sharon (Patane), and Marilyn and Obie. We all agree, Ireland was never the same after our invasion. We danced on the Cliffs of Moher, wore our RKID shirts on the Ring of Kerry, sailed to Inisheer, closed many pubs, walked over The Burren, and changed a flat tire on the Connor Pass. Through it all, Erin maintained a sunny disposition and made us laugh. What a great traveling partner.

The stories about Erin and her antics could keep us up all night. She was a very special person and will be missed by so many. How lucky we were to have her in our group. She set the stage for us to be focused on friendship and fun.

September 8, 2022