This website grew from a University of Cincinnati Honors Program seminar, “The Irish in America,” in coordination with the Archives & Rare Books Library. The focus is on the history and the living heritage of the Irish in Cincinnati and is designed to be a sustainable and informative site that is a collaborative effort between archivists, students, scholars, and the general public.

Category: Sports

Tapping into Hearts and History

By: Dominique DiFalco

Tap DanceGrowing up, one of my biggest dreams was to be a professional dancer. I attended classes until I was about six-years-old for tap and ballet and my best friend was an Irish dancer as well. It wasn’t until I was 16 when I was re-watching the amazing videos of me dancing my little heart out in front of a handprint-stained mirror that I came to a life altering revelation: I have no rhythm. None. The passion to dance that is present within my heart was never correctly transferred to my feet. Although crushed, I have decided to place this unseen potential into something more productive: discovering the relationship of modern tap dancing to traditional Irish step dancing. Continue reading

Irish Dancing in Cincinnati

By: Onnie Middendorf
Annie and Onnie, Celtic Festival 2011

“Annie and Onnie Celtic Festival 2011” These are close ups of the school dresses and headbands that Erickson Academy of Irish Dance wear. Each school has their own colors and designs that set them apart from other dance schools. These are worn by less experienced dancers and dancers doing traditional ceili dances.

Just like Saint Patrick’s Day is enjoyed by most who consider themselves Irish-American and those who just enjoy the festivities on March 17th, Irish Dancing is enjoyed by people with and without Irish ancestry all around the world.  Here in the United States, names like O’Brien and Sheehan appear on feis lists, but there are also names like Mueller and Kraemer and other non-Irish names.  A feis is an Irish Dance competition, and they typically have a list of all of the dancers competing as well as the dance school they attend.  One of my neighbors told me about a time when she went to see her niece dance and referred to it as a “Shirley Temple” convention because of all of the wigs.  Everyone is welcome to compete, and welcome to learn as well.  Irish Dance instructors are dedicated to preserving the Irish-American cultural tradition of Irish Dance by teaching it to people from all backgrounds, from curly Irish redheads to people like me without any Irish Heritage at all, and everyone in between.  Continue reading

Gaelic Sports for Youth

By: Jayci Kuhn

The involvement of children in sports engages them in a community where they gain friendship, athletic ability, and numerous skills that last a lifetime. Gaelic sports in the United States reap all the benefits of any other youth sport but also ties in cultural diversity. Gaelic football and Hurling are the most popular Irish sports in the United States are. Gaelic football is often considered to be a mix of soccer and rugby. Two teams of 15 players battle across a field using a round ball slightly smaller than a soccer ball. The ball is carried for short distances and passing is done with a kick or struck with a hand or fist. Protective equipment is nonexistent. Hurling, on the other hand, is similar to lacrosse or hockey. It’s played on a large field with players carrying a curved wooden stick, or “hurley,” and a small ball called a “sliothar.”.  One of the fastest games afield, it’s not for the faint of heart. Bodies bang, the ball is as hard as a baseball, and the sticks are made of solid ash.Practice Continue reading