Irish Ambassador Peter Ryan with Rolleston dancer Hazel Cowlishaw and Tricia Radford, Secretary of the Christchurch Irish Club

An Irish display

by Ann van Engelen

Irish culture, dancing and sport was on display at the three day NZ Irish Feis celebrations with people travelling from near and far to participate in the multicultural event on the weekend.

“The very best Irish dancers, Gaelic footballers and hurlers from all over the country joined in for our 69th year of celebrations. The aim was to claim one of the trophies that have existed for decades and represent many years of Irish culture, celebrated in New Zealand,” says Christchurch Irish Society secretary Tricia Radford.

“The national event is a chance to get together and is shared amongst the Irish societies across New Zealand and was held in Christchurch in 2014.”

The various traditional events were held across the city, with a genealogy tent and a children’s area, food and refreshments and Irish dancing, instrumental and vocal competitions, speech and drama. “We held our Ceili — opening dance on the Friday night with a kapa haka group performing as well as our traditional Irish dancers to start the weekend off.

We had a great crowd participate with men’s Gaelic football, ladies’ football, hurling, camogie, Irish dancing, vocal, instrumental and speech and drama competitions, children skills sessions, bouncy castles, and face painting.

“The highlight of our dance programme was the Ulster Cup, which was won by O’Neill School of Irish Dance NZ’s dancer Juliet Sewell. It is a major prestigious class and award for the 18 plus dancers.”