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


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.