Ring of Kerry Irish Dancers

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

About Us: The Name Game

It is not easy coming up with a name for a dance group.  As our new dance club was getting organized in 1991, a lively discussion raged over the naming of our group.  Before this time we had been called Andes Dandies, based on the last name of our instructor, and often people outside of our group referred to us as the Gaithersburg Group.

Andes Dandies
Andes Dandies


At the time there was only one other ceili group in the Washington area, called the Blackthorn Stick.
  We all agreed that was a pretty clever name and we wanted one equally catchy and appropriate.
Blackthorn Stick
A blackthorn stick is a shillelagh, or walking stick, made from the wood of a blackthorn bush -- often from the root. In the past, the wood would be smeared with butter or lard, and placed up a chimney to cure, giving the shillelagh its typical black shiny appearance. Like a shamrock, it is often used as a symbol of Ireland and the dance group with this name awarded a blackthorn stick as a door prize at each ceili.


Suggestions came pouring in, many with a humorous tone:  The Blarney Fifes, The Reel Irish Dance Troupe, The Jig Saws, The Harp-a-Longs, The Stout Green Dancers, Dublin Your Pleasure, and The Emerald Isle Irish Dancing Club of County Montgomery. The last one was rejected because of the group in Baltimore with a similar name.

No one seems to remember who thought of our final decision, The Ring of Kerry Irish Dancers, but it was voted on and the majority picked it.  Apparently it was a good choice.  We’ve held onto it for 22+ years!

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