Just before Oireachtas, it was brought to my attention that there is an exciting opportunity for dancers to attend an Irish dance camp in Ireland. I was approached by Ann Krannitz, the Coordinator for Dance on the Shannon, a camp specifically designed to give Americans the chance to dance in Ireland. What a great way to learn about the sport you love in the place where it all began! Ann agreed to an interview and gave me the information about the camp. It sounds like an absolute dream trip! I can’t wait for my boys to get a little older so that I can drag them along with me!
Goin’ Feisin’: Where did the idea for an Irish dance camp in Ireland come from?
Ann Krannitz: Dance on the Shannon originally was the idea of Joni Muggivan’s dad. Joni is a TCRG from New Orleans, Louisiana. Her father moved there from Mountshannon, Ireland, and he still has family in Ireland. He suggested that Joni begin an exchange program to bring American Irish dancers over to Ireland, and Joni ran with the idea.
Goin’ Feisin’: Why a camp in Ireland? What makes this camp special or different?
Ann Krannitz: The camp is in Ireland because Joni thought dancers would benefit from experiencing the sport in the country of its origin. She also wanted them to be exposed to dancers from other areas and experience different styles of dancing and teaching. The pilot year had dancers from the US and Ireland. The TCRG’s were Joni (Muggivan) and Anne Burke, who teaches in Ireland but is originally from England. The camp is the first camp designed to bring Americans over to Ireland.
Goin’ Feisin’: When is the camp?
Ann Krannitz: The camp is in mid-July. This year the opening dinner is on the evening of July 8th, and the end performance is on July 15th. We are trying to organize Grade Exams on July 16th, but those are still in the works.
Goin’ Feisin’: Who runs the camp? Please tell me a little bit about the staff that will be there.
Ann Krannitz: The camp has open status, which means that it is open to anyone from any Irish dance school within An Coimisiun Le Rinci Gaelacha, or anyone who is not affiliated with an Irish dance school. In order to receive this status, all dance classes must be taught by TCRG’s. Last year we had two TCRG’s, Joni Muggivan and Anne Burke. In addition to the dance classes, we coordinated with people in the area and had a local music instructor, Michael Grogan, give private and group music lessons. Marie McMahone, a set dance instructor, led the Friday night Ceili. Dorian Joye woke up early each morning and led the morning yoga classes. Joni, Dorian, and I met throughout the year to toss around ideas and coordinate the week, and I was there at the camp to be the go-to person for questions, etc.
Goin’ Feisin’: How much does it cost? Can you estimate how much the total cost would be including food, accommodations, and any side trips that are part of the organized experience?
Ann Krannitz: The cost for the camp is 250 Euros for the entire week (partial week/day rates are also available for those not attending the entire camp). Last year, flights were around $1,200 per person. The B&B’s are about $900 for the week, depending on room size and length of stay. I think my family of four spent about $750 on food and side expenses (gifts, etc.) for the week. The trips run about $50 per person. Most of the prices are listed in Euros on the website, so take that into consideration! Obviously, the biggest expense is the flights.
Goin’ Feisin’: What are the travel arrangements?
Ann Krannitz: Last year, everyone made their own travel arrangements. We will organize a group leaving from the Washington, DC area if there is enough interest. It is possible to fly into both Dublin (2 hours from Mountshannon) or Shannnon (45 minutes from Mountshannon). You will either need to rent a car or take a taxi or bus to Mountshannon. The bus stop, however, is about 20 minutes outside of town, so you will need to transportation from there to the town. As for traveling once you are there, the town is small and everything is within walking distance. There is a small convenience store for simple groceries, a coffee shop, and several restaurants. There is not an ATM machine though, or clothing stores/larger stores.
Goin’ Feisin’: What are the accommodations?
Ann Krannitz: There are two B&B’s and a hotel in Mountshannon that offer discounted rates for camp participants. They are Sunrise B&B, Hawthorn Lodge, and the Mountshannon Hotel. Their rates are 70 Euros for a twin room (up to 2 occupants) or 80 Euros for a family room (up to 4 occupants). All prices include breakfast. All three of these places are run by extremely friendly families. If you have any questions about arrangements, just email or call them and they will be delighted to help.
Goin’ Feisin’: What age range do you accept?
Ann Krannitz: We accept all ages. Last year, the youngest dancer was 6 (the youngest traveling from the US was 7), and the oldest was in his 30’s. Their experience level ranged from beginners to Open Champs.
Goin’ Feisin’: Are parents required to come?
Ann Krannitz: Dancers younger than 18 years old are required to travel with a chaperone.
Goin’ Feisin’: Can you please provide a schedule and description of activities?
Ann Krannitz: Here is the schedule. We have decided to leave Sunday open for families to plan their own excursions or just have a day of rest.
Goin’ Feisin’: What other trips do you have planned?
Ann Krannitz: Our planned trips this year are to Holy Island, which is a boat ride away from Mountshannon. The island is small and beautiful, and full of history. You can see the pictures on our website. We also have a trip planned to Galway, a city with more shopping opportunities and beautiful scenery. We hope to stop at a solo dress maker on the way, but are still working on coordinating that.
Goin’ Feisin’: Where can people go for more information?
Ann Krannitz: They can go to our website or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A huge thank you Ann Krannitz for bringing this unique opportunity to us and allowing us to share it with our readers!
If you know of someone who is doing something new and exciting in the world of Irish dance, we would love to hear about it. Send us an email at email@example.com.