Category for all items relating to beginning dancers

Road Trips Galore!

Road Trips Galore! 1016 1016 Isabel Yorke

We love our road trips! We might only be 6 weeks into the new year but the McGL have been making up for lost time attending 7 Feiseanna in London, the Midlands, the North East and Scotland. All the events were superbly run and it was great to be reunited with so many of our feis friends from other dance schools.

Many of our open dancers contended with switching their dances due to the sad cancellation of the All Irelands; however, at least they can now look forward to their first Worlds since 2019!

It was also amazing to see out graded dancers enjoying for many their first road trip experiences.

A sincere thanks to the following Feis organisers, and we can’t wait to return in 2023!

*City of Birmingham*
*North East of England*
*Nadine Martin, Doncaster*
*Phoenix, Glasgow*
*Trainor, London*
*McCarron, Coventry*
*Kelly Hendry, Newcastle*

Interested in our next road trips? Keep an eye on our Feiseanna page for details of upcoming events!

Welcome to our North London classes

Welcome to our North London classes 451 339 Isabel Yorke

New Beginnings: Fiona Mackey captures the experience of joining the McGL Family

I have been teaching Irish dance in Finchley, North London, since 2012. Irish dance helps children to develop confidence, fitness, coordination, concentration and friendship. The emphasis is on enjoyment with a mixture of traditional and contemporary Irish music and easy-to-learn steps. Classes are suitable for all levels/abilities from age 4 upwards.

I have been friends with Frances McGahan TCRG/ADCRG/BCRG for many years and I have always hugely admired and respected her teaching technique and beautiful dancers. I asked Frances to join McGahan Lees Irish Dance Academy in March 2021 in the hope that she would bring her skills and knowledge to North London. I was delighted when Frances accepted me and my dancers. At the same time, friends of mine asked me to start a class in Winchmore Hill, which has proven to be very popular. We now run traditional Irish dance classes in Winchmore Hill for beginners and advanced dancers. Our beginners start learning light shoe dances before progressing onto heavy shoe dances (Irish form of tap dancing).

Practicing the basics of Irish Dance in Finchley

During the pandemic, I felt very concerned about the impact that it would have on dancers and how they would feel returning to live classes. Now we had the added nervous anticipation of joining McGahan Lees Irish Dance Academy. I did not need to worry as we have been welcomed with open arms by McGahan Lees teachers, parents and dancers alike. Our dancers have settled in so well and we love the team spirit, values and school ethos. McGahan Lees Irish Dance Academy cultivates a family identity with the emphasis on tradition which gives children a sense of belonging and togetherness. It really does feel like a family and the transition has been seamless thanks to the amazing support provided by Frances and the other teachers.

The children have already benefited greatly from the direction of their new teachers and their diverse skills and experience. Firmly supported by Frances and her fantastic teaching staff, who have made the very successful transition from dancer to teacher, the dancers are provided with a wealth of knowledge and expertise. The children are so excited about the prospect of returning to feises after working so hard on learning their new steps. This has been challenging for them but the hard work, patience, and encouragement from their teachers has made it fun and rewarding.

Alongside attending classes in Finchley and Winchmore Hill, our dancers now have the option of travelling to other classes, where they are taught by Frances and the other McGahan Lees Irish Dance Academy teachers.  The dancers love attending Frances’s classes. Cecily Brennan, ADCRG, and I also run regular workshops in Finchley on Sundays and during the holidays which are very popular. Cecily and I will continue teaching in Finchley on Wednesdays and Saturdays in September.

Our North London dancers prepare for a heavy shoe performance

The school motto “Mol An Óige Agus Tiocfaidh Sí” which translates to “Praise the young and they will blossom” is evident from the progress and developments that the children have made in the short time since we joined the Academy. The dancers and I are so happy and feel incredibly lucky to be a part of the McGahan Lees Irish Dance Academy.

Come, join us and you will see what a lovely Irish Dancing Academy it is! 

Spaces are available for new dancers of all ages in our class in North Finchley on Saturday at 10.30am Finchley and on Tuesday at 4.30pm in Winchmore Hill. Please contact us directly for details and to book your first free class. Fiona Mackey can also be contacted by phone on 07985415421.

Our venue at Dartford Irish club

Live Irish dance classes for all levels open in Dartford

Live Irish dance classes for all levels open in Dartford 768 1024 Isabel Yorke

Being one of our several Irish Dance hubs, our Dartford classes are now open and ready to welcome back Irish dancers at all levels.

Whether you are a competitive Irish dancer or simply looking for beginner Irish dance lessons, our classes located at the Dartford Irish Club has something for everybody.

Be part of the vibrant atmosphere of the newest Saturday morning beginners’ class in our school. Through our beginners we build the foundations of one of the most successful Irish dance schools in England. By mastering traditional Irish dance techniques at beginner level, we give our dancers the tools needed to progress to a world class standard and fulfil their full potential.

Our newly refurbished venue is home to classes for all standards in the school, with our competition level dancers training at the Irish Club midweek, and our beginner level dancers on Saturday mornings. The facilities provide specialised harlequin dance flooring which can be found in some of the world’s leading dance venues such as the Royal Opera House, the Paris Opera Ballet and the Royal New Zealand Ballet. These excellent facilities contribute to the growth and development of our dancers at all levels.

As we come out of lockdown, a great way to make new friends and take on new challenges is through our Covid-safe, traditional Irish dance classes. We currently have availability in Dartford (Saturdays 10.00am – 11.30am), so get in contact for your free first lesson!

Let’s “make every step count!”

Harlequin dance floor featuring "Make every step count" markers

Our spacious Dartford Irish club venue, featuring Harlequin flooring and our “make every step count” distance markers

Three Irish dancers practicing turn-out

Learn Traditional Irish Dance in Oxford

Learn Traditional Irish Dance in Oxford 739 838 Isabel Yorke

If you are looking to learn traditional Irish dance in Oxford, check out McGahan Lees Irish Dance Academy and their recent success stories.

Live classes for traditional Irish dance in Oxford are now back in full swing. If you live in Oxfordshire, our COVID-safe classes are now taking place near you. Our Oxford based teacher, Marion Flanagan, has been teaching in Oxford for over 30 years and she delights in sharing her knowledge of tradition and technique with all her dancers.

Beginners start learning light shoe dances before progressing on to heavy shoe dances (Irish form of tap dancing).

A traditional Irish dancer practicing on harlequin flooring at our Oxford studio

Dancers progress to learning heavy shoe dancing once they have learned the light shoe basics

This is a key class for one of the most successful Irish Dance schools in England. Classes are being held at St. John Fisher Primary School, Sandy Lane West, Littlemore, OX4 6LD, in a spacious hall with new harlequin flooring. Dancers are trained from beginners to World Championship standard, to compete in competitions both nationally and internationally. Since we have been back competing after lockdown, we have had some fabulous results from beginners up to Open Championship. We are so delighted that all the hard-work throughout lockdown has paid off.

Irish dancers with competition awards

Since lockdown has ended, our Oxford dancers have enjoyed great success at competitions.

Spaces are available for new recruits of all ages in our 6pm Monday and Thursday Classes. Contact us direct for details and to book your first free class. Marion can be contacted by phone on 07971 035797 or by email

Celebration time! Trophies and sweets.

Celebrating our successes in Oxford

Independence Day Weekender

Independence Day Weekender 1563 1042 Isabel Yorke

We are pleased to announce our first restriction-free events since December 2019! Our “Independence Day Weekender” will include a party on Saturday 3rd July and our summer class feis (competition) on Sunday 4th July. Party details to follow.

Independence Day Class Feis

Sunday, July 4th 2021 at Chelmer Valley High School, Chelmsford, CM1 7ER

As always at our class competitions, the emphasis will be on fun and all dancers will receive at least one award. The competition is suitable for all ages and grades (even new beginners), so we really encourage all dancers to attend.

In the event that COVID restrictions remain, we will simply continue in a similar fashion to our recent open feis at which we asked everyone to sit in family pods, masks whilst moving around the venue, contact free awards and regular cleaning between age groups. In this instance the event will be run in accordance with the latest government guidelines ensuring the hall is limited to 50% capacity and all dancers will compete one at a time on stage.

Christmas Class Feis 2015

Christmas Class Feis 2015 150 150 Isabel Yorke

Thank you to all who supported our Christmas Class Feis. This is an event that we look forward to all year: a real showcase of new talent and sheer enjoyment in dancing. We hope you loved the day as much as we did.

Congratulations to all who danced on that stage: it is not easy to get up in front of so many people, especially when it is your first time performing.

A further well done to our winners in each age group who we feel deserve a special mention:

U6: Portia Ostrowska
U8: Jacob Browne
U10: Drew Shanahan
O10: Hanna Mathieson

And our ‘Most Promising’ dancer: Drew Shanahan

Here are some photos from the day!

Feeling proud of ourselves!

Feeling proud of ourselves!

What a tough competition!

What a tough competition!

O10 trophy and medal winners

O10 trophy and medal winners

It wouldn't be the Christmas feis without a visit from this special person!

It wouldn’t be the Christmas feis without a visit from this special person!


For Beginners

For Beginners 150 150 bobyorke

Under Construction!

Young McGahan Lees dancers enjoying themselves in class

Young McGahan Lees dancers enjoying themselves in class