‘Ancient Men’ morris dancers tour West Cork and South Kerry, 9th – 14th July 2018

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The Ancient Men are a group of travelling Morris dancers who gather together during the summer to tour towns and villages in a chosen area. Our traditional dances come from the villages of the Cotswold Hills in southern England, and have an antiquity stretching back hundreds of years.

Traditionally, we do a public performance in a town or village before moving on to the next location. Our performance is guaranteed to bring good luck, fine weather and fertility. Do come and see us if you can.

As Ancient upholders of the traditional dances of old England, we are delighted to be visiting West Cork and South Kerry. We have toured in Ireland previously – in Kilkenny and West Cork in 1990, in Bréifne (Sligo and Leitrim) in 2007, and in West Clare in 2015.

From our base near Bantry, our 2018 tour of West Cork and South Kerry takes us up to Kenmare, through the Beara and Sheep’s Head peninsulas, and then down to Baltimore and Sherkin Island, as well as to several inland locations.

And at the end of a busy and strenuous day, don’t be surprised to see us retiring to the nearest bar for a well-earned drink, along with some music and song. You are very welcome to join us!

Itinerary of public performances

Monday 9 July

1230 Kenmare, the Square
1800 Kilgarvan, Jackie Healy Rae Bar
1930 Top of Coom, Top of Coom Bar
2100 Inchigeelagh, Creedon’s Hotel

Tuesday 10 July

1200 Ballylickey, Ouvane Falls Inn
1300 Bantry, Wolfe Tone Square
1800 Kilcrohane, Eileen’s Bar
1930 Ahakista, Tin Pub
2100 Bantry, Wolfe Tone Square

Wednesday 11 July

1230 Ballyvourney, Mills Inn
1830 Ballingeary, Shortens Bar
1930 Gougane Barra, Hotel
2100 Kealkill, Collins Bar

Thursday 12 July

1200 Ardgroom, Village Inn
1330 Kilmackillogue Harbour, Teddy O’Sullivan’s/Helen’s Bar
1800 Eyeries, Causkey’s Bar
1930 Castletownbere, O’Donoghue’s Bar
2100 Glengarriff, Blue Loo

Friday 13 July

1230 Durrus, Long Boat Bar
1330 Ballydehob, Levis Corner House
2000 Baltimore, Bushes Bar

Saturday 14 July

1200 Leap, Connolly’s of Leap
1300 Glandore Terrace, Hayes Bar & Kitchen
1600 Castletownshend, Lill McCarthy’s
1930 Sherkin Island, Jolly Roger

About Morris Dancing

Ancient Men dance on Symonds Yat rock on their 2016 Wye Valley Canoe tour. Photo by Chris Sheffield.

No one can be sure of how, when and where Morris dancing originated. It was known in England as far back as the 15th century and in those times would have been familiar in villages throughout the country, danced on special occasions by selected members of the community. Each village had its own dances and style of performing them.

By the 19th century Morris dancing had nearly died out, but in 1899 folklore collector Cecil Sharp, inspired by a chance meeting with a team of Morris dancers in the village of Headington in Oxfordshire, started to note down the dances and the tunes that accompany them. This formed the basis for a revival of interest in the tradition and probably saved Morris dancing from extinction. There are now many teams in England and other parts of the world who regularly perform these dances.

More about the Ancient Men

The Ancient Men can trace their history back to the early years of the 20th century, making them one of the oldest revival teams in England. Since their first tour, in Fairford, Gloucestershire, in 1952, the Ancient Men have made over 100 tours, not just in England but in many other parts of the world, including the United States, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Japan, Italy and Russia. Although the members of our group have become globally scattered over the years – some of the dancers you see have flown in from Kenya, the United States and New Zealand – we still enjoy getting together each year and renewing old friendships.

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‘Ancient Men’ morris dancers tour North Somerset, 24th-29th July

Ancient Men on tour in Fairford, Gloucestershire, in 2002

Our touring alter-egos the Ancient Men are delighted to be visiting North Somerset this Summer.

We have toured in Somerset twice before – first in 1965, and more recently in 1979.

We look forward to experiencing the dramatic scenery of the Mendip hills, absorbing the mystical atmosphere of ancient monuments, visiting the many historic towns and villages – and of course, appreciating the local cider.

Wye Symonds Yat 1
Ancient Men at Symonds Yat during the 2016 Wye Valley tour

From our base near Wrington, our tour takes us from Wells and Glastonbury in the South, to the cities of Bristol and Bath in the North.

There’s also a facebook event for the tour here, which you are welcome to join, and to share with anyone who may be interested.

 

 

Itinerary of Public Performances

Monday 24 July

11:30 Rodney Stoke Inn, Rodney Stoke
12:30 Riverside Inn, Cheddar
13:30 White Hart, Cheddar
18:30 Lamb Inn, Axbridge
19:30 New Inn, Cross
20:30 Railway Inn, Sandford

Tuesday 25 July

12:00 Jubilee Inn, Flax Bourton
13:00 Black Horse, Clapton in Gordano
18:15 Moon and Sixpence, Clevedon
19:30 Railway Inn, Yatton
20:30 White Hart, Wrington

Wednesday 26 July

11:30 Wookey Hole Inn, Wookey (TBC)
12:30 Full Moon, Wells
13:30 Wells Marketplace
18:30 Churchill Inn, Churchill
19:30 Plume of Feathers, Rickford
20:30 Plough Inn, Wrington

Thursday 27 July

12:20 Bathampton Mill, Bathampton
14:15 Bath (Kingston Parade)
17:00 Bath (Terrace Walk)
18:30 Compton Inn, Compton Dando
20:30 Prince of Waterloo, Winford

Friday 28 July

11:00 Swan Inn, Wedmore
12:30 Glastonbury Marketplace
13:30 King Arthur, Glastonbury
18:00 Sheppey Inn, Godney
19:15 Queen Victoria, Priddy
20:30 Swan Inn, Rowberrow

Saturday 29 July

12:30 The Apple (cider boat), Bristol
Afternoon: harbourside area
17:30 The Ashton, Long Ashton
18:30 Fox & Goose, Barrow Gurney
19:30 New Inn, Blagdon

Ancient Mummers tour Jericho

’twas the Saturday before Christmas Eve, and so The Ancient Mummers performed the Holton Play in these pubs of Jericho, Oxford:

7:15pm The Gardener’s Arms
7:45pm The Harcourt Arms,
8:15pm Old Bookbinders,
9:00pm Rickety Press,
9:30pm The Victoria,
10:00pm The Gardener’s Arms (reprise)

It was a splendid evening and the generosity of our audiences has resulted in a collection of over £300 for Helen & Douglas House, the Oxford children’s charity. Many thanks to the publicans and customers. Merry Christmas!

Happy 90th Birthday OUMM!

On 17th October 1926, Oxford University Men’s Morris (OUMM) was officially established as a self-governing body. Immediately prior to this, much of the Morris in Oxford University seems to have been centred around the Oxford Branch of the English Folk Dance Society (EFDS). For more detail, delve in to “OUMM and its background.” by Roy Judge.

We celebrated the side’s founding at our 90th Anniversary Feast on the 25th of November 2016.

Below are some historical photographs from the OUMM archives, taken in 1926.

This photo is dated 2 June 1926.
This photo is dated 2 June 1926.
Dated 'Easter 1926', (early April), GTF is Geoffrey Fiennes.
Dated ‘Easter 1926’, (early April), GTF is Geoffrey Fiennes.
Geoffrey Feinnes reported this event in his diary: "8 May – The Heather Festival. This took place on the 5th day of the General Strike and it was very difficult to keep the Morris Men together while so many of their friends had gone off to do emergency jobs."
Geoffrey Feinnes reported this event in his diary: “8 May – The Heather Festival. This took place on the 5th day of the General Strike and it was very difficult to keep the Morris Men together while so many of their friends had gone off to do emergency jobs.”

OUMM Star in ‘Stealing Sheep’ Music Video

Over the Summer, dancers from OUMM, Oxford City Morris Men, and Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers filmed a music video with Stealing Sheep for their new song ‘Apparition’.

Here is the finished video – complete with hitherto unknown feats of athleticism by certain chaps…