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What Is Ceilidh?



Originally the word Ceilidh (kay-lee) descended from the Gaelic word for ‘gathering’ or ‘party’… However, these days when people think of a Ceilidh, they think of a fun filled night of wild dancing, good music and great company! As for the rest: they all mean pretty much the same!

The beauty of a ceilidh or Barn Dance is that everyone can take part, young or old, experienced dancers to beginners and even those with two left feet!

Some people are nervous on the dance floor, but with a Ceilidh you’re walked through the steps so there’s nothing to be worried about! …and with Licence to Ceilidh’s unique combination of traditional tunes with modern funky rhythm section, musically there’s something for everyone! 

No experience is necessary! You and you’re guests will be under the watchful eye of our professional caller who’ll be with you every step of the way, walking you through the moves before each dance and continuing to call out helpful hints through out the rest of the dances (with Licence to Ceilidh our Callers come as standard when you book the band and with years of experience calling for us).

Having a Ceilidh is the perfect Icebreaker! Whatever the occasion, from Weddings and Birthdays, team-building days and Office Parties, Corporate Functions or Student Nights! The emphasis is on having fun and being sociable!

What Is Ceilidh? Licence To Ceilidh


This is our speciality and what we get the most call for…

We include all of our favourite dances like the Gay Gordons, Dashing White Sergeant, Virginia Reel, Canadian Barndance, Military Two-Step, Cumberland Square Eight (the basket dance!) and more. These dances anyone with experience will know and remember but are still simple enough to teach to complete beginners. …we’ll even include an Eightsome Reel for a particularly seasoned crowd!

For our last dance we’ll be sure to do the famous Orcadian Strip the Willow! Everyone’s favourite – a raucous affair with lines of people stretching all the way down the room… and of course, it wouldn’t be a ceilidh if we didn’t finish off with a traditional Auld Lang Syne!

What Is Ceilidh? Licence To Ceilidh
What Is Ceilidh? Licence To Ceilidh


We perform for lots of Irish events too, swapping our tartan get-up for green dresses! For an Irish Ceilidh include some well known Irish dances like The Bridge of Athlone, The Seige of Ennis or Waves of Tory, paired with some general favourite, easy to teach fun dances that are popular across all traditions.

We tailor our music too including lots of well known Irish tunes, creating a night of entertainment with strong Irish links, that’s still inclusive for all and suitable for any beginners! For that extra Irish touch why not add a Flute/Whistle player or Bodhran to our line-up (see the options on our ‘line-ups’ page). We’ve done repeat bookings for Irish nights for Co-operation Ireland, Vinopolis and more…

What Is Ceilidh? Licence To Ceilidh


Or Barndance! We also have lots of experience performing for English ceilidh and barn dances too, or for those without any strong celtic links but who just want to have something fun and unique at their wedding or event!

Our usual set-list is already a nice mix of popular dances from all over but we can tailor it away from the very Scottish or Irish dances for you focusing on dances like the Circassian Circle & the Cumberland Square Eight. It’s often requested that we wear floral dresses with general smart clothes, or check shirts and dresses for more of a barndance feel! Just let us know if you have a preference…

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