The Most Popular Irish Dance: A Ranking Report

Choose the dance you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 19, 2024 07:14
Welcome to StrawPoll, the ultimate platform where your opinions matter! We're excited to present our latest ranking: "What is the most popular Irish dance?" With a rich and vibrant history, Irish dance has captured the hearts of millions worldwide - but now it's time to find out which dance truly reigns supreme. From the lively jigs to the graceful reels, we're calling on you, our passionate community, to cast your vote and help us crown the ultimate Irish dance champion. And if you feel we've missed a hidden gem, don't hesitate to suggest a new contender to join the ranks! So, put on your dancing shoes and join the craic as we embark on this toe-tapping journey together!

What Is the Most Popular Irish Dance?

  1. 1
    Riverdance is the most popular and internationally recognized Irish dance. It is a theatrical show that features traditional Irish step dancing, accompanied by Irish music and song. The show has been performed all over the world and has been viewed by millions of people.
    Riverdance is a widely acclaimed Irish dance performance that gained immense popularity in the 1990s. It combines traditional Irish step dancing with modern elements of music and entertainment, resulting in a spectacular stage production.
    • Debut Year: 1994
    • Duration: Approximately 2 hours
    • Music Genre: Celtic and traditional Irish music
    • Performers: Professional Irish dancers and musicians
    • International Performances: Riverdance has been performed in over 450 venues across 40 countries
  2. 2
    Irish step dancing is a traditional dance form that originated in Ireland. It is characterized by precise footwork, quick movements, and a straight upper body. Irish step dancing has gained popularity worldwide due to its energetic and dynamic performances.
    Irish step dancing is a traditional style of dance that originated in Ireland. It is characterized by its energetic footwork and rhythmic movements. Dancers typically perform intricate steps and quick, precise movements while keeping their upper body still. It is a significant part of Irish culture and is often associated with Irish music and festivals.
    • Footwork: Energetic and precise foot movements
    • Upper Body: Remains still while focusing on footwork
    • Rhythm: Accented and syncopated movements to match the music
    • Solo vs. Group: Performed both individually and in groups
    • Costumes: Distinctive outfits with dresses for girls and suits for boys
  3. 3
    Sean-nós dancing is an old style of Irish dance that has been passed down through generations. It is characterized by a relaxed upper body, free-flowing movements, and improvisation. Sean-nós dancing has gained popularity in recent years due to its unique style and cultural significance.
    Sean-nós dancing is a traditional style of solo Irish dance that originated in the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking regions) of Ireland. It is characterized by its intricate footwork, improvised steps, and rhythmic movements. Unlike the more formal and structured Irish step dancing, Sean-nós is a freestyle dance that allows the dancer to express their individuality and creativity.
    • Footwork: Involves intricate foot movements, including quick taps, shuffles, and toe-heel combinations.
    • Upper Body: Emphasizes relaxed arms and shoulders, allowing for expressive gestures and movements.
    • Rhythm: Focuses on maintaining a steady and syncopated rhythm through the feet.
    • Improvisation: Encourages dancers to create their own steps and variations within the dance.
    • Connection to Music: Dancers often have a close connection to the music, responding and interpreting it through their movements.
  4. 4
    Ceili dancing is a traditional Irish social dance that is usually performed in groups. It is characterized by lively music, fast footwork, and complex patterns. Ceili dancing is popular at weddings, festivals, and other social events.
    Ceili dancing is a traditional Irish group dance characterized by lively music and intricate footwork. It typically involves a number of couples dancing together in formations such as circles and long lines. The dances are performed to traditional Irish music and can be seen at social gatherings, festivals, and special events.
    • Formation: Group dance involving couples
    • Music: Traditional Irish music
    • Footwork: Intricate and precise steps
    • Formations: Circles, long lines, and squares
    • Social Context: Performed at social gatherings and events
  5. 5
    Set dancing is a form of social dance that is similar to Ceili dancing. However, it is performed in sets of four couples, with each set performing a series of movements in unison. Set dancing is popular in rural areas of Ireland, and is often associated with traditional music sessions.
  6. 6
    Jigs are a type of Irish dance tune that is characterized by a lively 6/8 rhythm. Jigs are popular in traditional Irish music, and are often played at Ceili dances and other social events.
    Jigs are a type of fishing lure that consists of a weighted head and a hook. They are designed to imitate the movement of prey and are highly effective in catching bass. The jig head usually includes a rubber skirt or a soft plastic bait to attract the fish. Jigs are versatile and can be used in various fishing conditions, including both shallow and deep waters. They are designed to be bounced or dragged along the bottom and are often used for bottom fishing or flipping and pitching into cover. Jigs come in various sizes, colors, and weights to accommodate different fishing situations.
    • Weight range: 1/16 to 1 ounce
    • Hook size: 1/0 to 5/0
    • Skirt material: Silicone or rubber
    • Soft plastic options: Craws, worms, creature baits
    • Color options: Wide range including natural and vibrant hues
  7. 7
    Reels are another type of Irish dance tune that is characterized by a fast tempo and a 4/4 time signature. Reels are popular in traditional Irish music, and are often played at Ceili dances and other social events.
    The Reel is a lively and energetic Irish dance that is considered one of the most popular dances in Ireland. It is characterized by fast footwork and intricate movements, performed to lively traditional Irish music.
    • Tempo: Usually danced to music with a tempo of around 113-120 beats per minute
    • Time Signature: Commonly danced in 4/4 time signature
    • Footwork Technique: Involves intricate footwork patterns, including quick and precise movements, hops, and jumps
    • Upper Body: Typically features a relaxed upper body posture with arms often held at the sides or in traditional dance positions
    • Formation: Can be performed solo, in pairs (duets), or in groups (figure dances) with synchronized movements
  8. 8
    Hornpipes are a type of Irish dance tune that is characterized by a syncopated rhythm and a 4/4 time signature. Hornpipes are popular in traditional Irish music, and are often played at Ceili dances and other social events.
    Hornpipes is a lively and rhythmic Irish dance form. It is characterized by quick and intricate footwork, often performed to catchy hornpipe music. The dance originated in the 18th century in Ireland and has since become one of the most popular traditional Irish dances.
    • Type: Irish folk dance
    • Music: Typically danced to lively hornpipe tunes
    • Tempo: Moderately fast
    • Timing: Usually in 4/4 or 2/4 time
    • Steps: Involves intricate footwork, including treble reels, cuts, and clicks
  9. 9
    Slip jigs are a type of Irish dance tune that is characterized by a 9/8 time signature. Slip jigs are popular in traditional Irish music, and are often played at Ceili dances and other social events.
    Slip jigs are a popular form of Irish dance characterized by their lively and energetic movements. They are performed in a 9/8 time signature, which gives them a distinctive rhythm and flow. Slip jigs are known for their quick and intricate footwork, often involving jumps, hops, and turns.
    • Time Signature: 9/8
    • Tempo: Moderate to fast
    • Footwork: Quick and intricate
    • Movements: Jumps, hops, and turns
    • Number of Beats: Nine beats per measure
  10. 10
    Polkas are a type of Irish dance tune that is characterized by a fast tempo and a 2/4 time signature. Polkas are popular in traditional Irish music, and are often played at Ceili dances and other social events.
    The Polkas is a lively Irish dance characterized by its fast-paced movements and energetic footwork. It is mainly performed in 2/4 time, with quick and rhythmic steps representing the traditional music of Ireland. The dance typically consists of quick hops, kicks, and jumps, danced in a compact and close-to-the-ground style.
    • Type: Irish Solo Dance
    • Time Signature: 2/4
    • Speed: Fast-paced
    • Footwork: Energetic and rhythmic
    • Movement Style: Compact and close-to-the-ground

Missing your favorite dance?


Ranking factors for popular dance

  1. Cultural significance
    Consider the historical and cultural importance of the dance in Irish tradition. Some dances have deep roots connected to Irish folklore and history, making them highly popular among the community.
  2. Popularity within the community
    Assess the dance's popularity among the Irish people. Some dances might be more commonly performed and enjoyed by locals during festivals and special occasions.
  3. Global recognition
    Determine whether the dance is well-known and recognized by people outside Ireland. Some dances have gained international fame for their unique and vibrant attributes.
  4. Dance style and technique
    Analyze the dance style, unique steps, and the level of skill required to perform it. Certain dances might be more intricate and challenging, while others are simpler and more accessible to a wider audience.
  5. Music and rhythm
    Evaluate the music associated with the dance and its impact on the dance's popularity. The rhythm and the melody of the music play a crucial role in making a dance more enjoyable.
  6. Competitive presence
    Consider whether the dance is featured in dance competitions, particularly at local, national, or international levels. The competitive presence of a dance can significantly influence its popularity.
  7. Cultural adaptations
    Take into account how the dance has evolved or been adapted by different groups or communities over time. The adaptability and versatility of a dance can be crucial factors in its popularity.
  8. Media exposure
    Assess the dance's presence in popular media, such as movies, TV shows, and online platforms. Exposure through these channels can greatly enhance the dance's visibility and popularity.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular Irish dance. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or dance is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 209 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each dance once every 24 hours. The rank of each dance is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most popular irish dance

Irish dance is a highly popular and traditional form of dance that has been around for centuries. It is a cultural treasure and a symbol of Irish heritage. The dance is known for its intricate footwork, graceful movements, and lively music. Irish dance is often performed in groups, with dancers dressed in colorful costumes and intricate patterns. The most popular form of Irish dance is the Irish step dance, also known as Riverdance. This style of dance gained worldwide popularity in the 1990s and has since become a cultural phenomenon. The dance is characterized by the rapid and precise movements of the feet, with the upper body remaining relatively still. Other popular forms of Irish dance include Ceili and Set dancing, which are social dances that involve group participation. Ceili dancing is often performed in large groups, with dancers moving in a circle or a line. Set dancing, on the other hand, involves smaller groups of dancers performing a series of choreographed steps. Overall, Irish dance is a vibrant and captivating art form that continues to captivate audiences around the world. With its rich history and varied styles, it is no wonder that it remains one of the most popular dance forms in Ireland and beyond.

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