In the early days of Irish dancing, women's dance clothes were essentially ankle-length gowns or blouses for skirts. Costumes may have consisted of a shirt with a kilt in the Irish clan plaid for male dancers, or a long coat, shirt, vest, and briques (calf-length trousers) with leggings.


Modern Irish dancers and dancers in traditional Celtic dance use distinct clothing types. Female dancers wear blouses and long skirts for traditional Celtic Dance lessons, while men dancers play with traditional shirts and kilts.


Modern Irish female dancers perform in brilliant colors in lovely short skirts, usually with completely covered arms. Modern Irish men dancers perform in pants and a blouse with a bright ribbon around the waist.


Male Irish dancing shoes vary in the kind of dance they do. Shoes feature metal cleats on toes and heels for flat-down step dancing. For ballet-up dancing, men's shoes feature soft soles.


Female dancers wear black leather "Ghillies" with cushioned soles for ballet upstairs. Ghillies' soft leather helps Irish dancers execute dancing moves either on their footballs or toes tips.



Women Irish dancers use two basic shoes. For Flat Down step dances, shoes are an oxford-type with a thick heel with a metal cleat connected to the entire heel and a thick frontal sole linked to a metal cleat. The oxford typically features black leather, laces, and a leather strap to attach the shoe to the foot.


Irish Dance Today


The first worldwide reintroduction to Irish Dance performances was with the performance of " River dance Orlando", written by Bill Whelan.


The first performance occurred in 1995 in Dublin. It featured the now renowned Irish Dancer and Irish Dance choreographer, Michael Flatley.


Although, it primarily includes Irish step dancing, "Riverdance" has a Baroque flair that combines other dance forms including flamenco and a Russian dervish. The final consequence for dance professionals is that "Riverdance" offers insight into how dances are connected in technique and styles.


It has subsequently been performed as a travelling Irish Dance performance in New York City and at the Vatican for Pope Francis.