What's a ceili?

Ceili (pronounced KAY-lee)

is the Irish word for a party or social gathering where you'll find good music, good food, and good craic (pronounced crak)--an Irish term for conversation, fun, and good times!

A ceili dance is a type of folk dance that originated hundreds of years ago in Ireland. You may have seen ceili dancing at Irish festivals in the U.S. Unlike Irish step dancing, also popular at festivals, ceili dancing requires no special costume or rigorous training. It's non-competitive and can be done by people of all ages. It's also good exercise and lots of fun!

The Francis O'Neill Club holds a ceili (a social gathering where dancing and fun are the focus) nearly every Friday year-round! We do mostly ceili dances, but also a few set dances, at each ceili. Set dances are typically lengthier and more complex than ceili dances, but the basic steps and figures are similar.

See our Weekly Dances page for details.

For a taste of a traditional Irish ceili, come to a Francis O'Neill Ceili Mor, held on the first Friday of most months (see Events page for dates).

We offer free pre-ceili dance instruction for an hour before the ceili begins. Then, from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. you can watch the dancing, listen to the music, join in the fun or retire to the nearby Fifth Province Pub for a pint!