CONNEMARA JIG SET

Other published instructions for this dance may differ slightly. Published sources include Pat Murphy's "Toss the Feathers", Tom Quinn's "Irish Dances" and Volume 4 of the video series "The Magic of Irish Set Dancing". Joe O'Hara has a version of this set online.

FORMATION

First Sides to the RightSquare set of four couples. First Top Couple has their back to the back. Couples are numbered anti-clockwise with 2nd Couple (1st Side Couple) on the right of 1st Tops; 3rd couple (2nd Tops) - opposite 1st Tops; and 4th Couple (2nd Sides) - opposite 1st Sides (on the left of 1st Tops).


FIGURE 1: JIG [288 Bars] (or 160 bars with Tops/Sides once only!)

All Couples Circle - Advance and retire twice 8 bars
All Couples With Partners' inner hands still joined - Gents bring their right hands over Partner's head, to Lady's right shoulder and join other hands in front (crossed upper promenade hold) + Lead around anti-clockwise + Gents bring right arm over the Lady's head to face Partner maintaining crossed hands 8 bars
All Couples Tug away and toward your Partner and swing + Hug Partner as you swing 8 bars
Top Couples With front promenade hold - Advance facing in + Push-pull turn and retire facing out + Push-pull turn + Repeat in and out 8 bars
Top Couples Gents bring right hand over Lady's head for normal upper promenade hold - Lead around anticlockwise 8 bars
Top couples Gents bring right hand over Lady's head maintaining crossed hands to face Partner - Tug away, Tug to change places with Partner crossing clockwise [2 bars] + Tug again and dance back through your own side moving on to corner (Ladies on the inside) [2 bars] + Hug swing your corner [4 bars] 8 bars
All Couples Tops with Corner in front promenade hold turn to face original Partner (side lines) - Advance, turn out and retire, turn and repeat in and out with your Corner 8 bars
All Couples Convert to normal upper promenade hold with your corner - Lead around the couple facing you 8 bars
All Couples Tug away from your corner [2 bars] + Tug and cross back (Gents on the inside) + Hug swing your Partner [6 bars] 8 bars
All Couples Convert to normal upper-promenade hold - Lead around + Unwind + Tug and hug swing 16 bars
Side Couples Front promenade hold - Advance, turn and retire, turn and repeat + Normal upper promenade hold - Lead around anticlockwise + Tug and change places with Partner + Tug and move on to corner + Hug swing corner 24 bars
All Couples Sides with Corners in front promenade hold face original Partners - Advance and retire twice with corner + Normal upper promenade hold with corner - Lead around the couple facing you + Tug away + Tug and cross back + Hug swing your own Partner 24 bars
Repeat:
  Tops & Sides
Repeat with Top and Side Couples leading again 128 bars
All Couples Converting to normal upper promenade hold - Lead around + Hug swing and finish. 16 bars

 

FIGURE 2: JIG [256 Bars] (or 144 bars with Tops/Sides once only!)

All Couples Circle - Advance and retire twice 8 bars
All Couples With crossed upper promenade hold - Lead around + Tug and hug swing 16 bars
Top Couples Ladies chain, right hands in the centre, left hand to opposite Gent, dancing around him as he turns anti-clockwise to place his right arm over her right shoulder, taking her right hand in normal upper promenade hold [4 bars] + Lead across anticlockwise to the Lady's original position [4 bars] 8 bars
Top Couples Repeat Ladies chain with Ladies returning to place with their own Partners 8 bars
Top Couples Advance and retire twice 8 bars
Top Couples Lead around inside 8 bars
Top Couples Tug and hug swing 8 bars
All Couples Lead around + Tug and hug swing 16 bars
Side Couples Ladies chain to opposite Gent, taking normal upper promenade hold + Lead to Lady's original position + Repeat Ladies chain with Ladies returning to place with their own Partners 16 bars
Side Couples Advance and retire twice + Lead around inside + Tug and hug swing 24 bars

Repeat:
   Tops & Sides

Repeat with Top and Side Couples leading again 112 bars
All Couples Lead around + Tug, hug swing and finish. 16 bars

 

FIGURE 3: SINGLE JIG [264 Bars] (or 168 bars with Tops/Sides once only for the second part!)

Top Couples Front promenade hold - Advance and retire twice 8 bars
Top Couples Ladies chain, right arm in the centre, left arm to opposite Gent, right arm on the way back and left hand to their own Partner, going around him as he turns and places his arm over her shoulder to take normal upper promenade hold 8 bars
Top Couples Lead around opposite couple inside the set, bring hands over the Lady's head 8 bars
Top Couples Tug and swing 8 bars
Side Couples Advance and retire + Ladies chain to place (right arm/left arm/right hand/left hand) + Lead around with Partner + Tug and swing 32 bars
Top Couples Holding right hands - advance, retire and dance the Lady over (anticlockwise), each Lady turning clockwise once under the Gent's right hand 8 bars
Top Couples Change to left hands - Advance and retire + then dance the Lady to the centre, with Ladies turning clockwise once under the Gent's left hand 8 bars
Top Couples Basket - Ladies hands on Gents upper arm/shoulder 8 bars
Top Couples Ladies chain (right arm/left arm/right hand/left hand) 8 bars
Top Couples Lead around, bring hands over the Lady's head + Tug and swing 16 bars
Side Couples Right hand in right - advance, retire and dance the Lady over (Ladies under Gent's right hand) + Left hand in left - advance, retire and dance the Lady home (under Gent's left hand) + Basket + Ladies chain (right arm/left arm/right hand/left hand) + Lead around + Tug and swing 48 bars
Top Couples Right hand in right - advance, retire and dance the Lady over + Left hand in left - advance, retire and dance the Lady home + Basket + Ladies Chain + Lead around, Tug and swing 48 bars
Side Couples Right hand in right - advance, retire and dance the Lady over + Left hand in left - advance, retire and dance the Lady home + Basket + Ladies Chain + Lead around, Tug and swing 48 bars

 

FIGURE 4: HORNPIPE [184 Bars]

All Couples Circle - Advance and retire twice 8 bars
All Couples House around the set 8 bars
1st Top Couple Dance Lady around: Holding right hands - Gent turns the Lady clockwise four times both dancing anticlockwise around inside the set. In the last 2 bars the Lady on the left dances into place on the left of the dancing Gent 8 bars
1st Top Couple +
  2nd Side Lady
Holding nearer hands with Partner and Lady on the left - Advance and retire twice 8 bars
1st Top Couple +
  2nd Side Lady
High Gates: Lady on the left passes under the arch made by the Gent and his Partner + Top Lady passes under other arch + Side Lady under + Top Lady under + All finish facing into the set joining hands in a circle 8 bars
All Couples Circle - Advance and retire twice + House around 16 bars
Repeat:
  1st Side Couple +
  1st Top Lady
Dance Lady around inside the set + Advance and retire twice in a Line of three with Lady on the left + High Gates (Lady on the left first) 24 bars
All Couples Circle - Advance and retire twice + House around 16 bars
Repeat:
  2nd Top Couple +
  1st Side Lady
Dance Lady around + Advance and retire twice + High Gates 24 bars
All Couples Circle - Advance and retire twice + House around 16 bars
Repeat:
  2nd Side Couple +
  2nd Top Lady
Dance Lady around + Advance and retire twice + High Gates 24 bars
All Couples Circle - Advance and retire twice 8 bars
All Couples House around 8 bars

FIGURE 5: POLKA (144 Bars]

All Couples Circle - Advance and retire twice 8 bars
All Couples Lead around in waltz hold, facing forward without turning 8 bars
All Couples House at home, turning twice 8 bars
All Couples Circle - Advance, retire, advance and each Gent turns (anticlockwise) to the Lady on his left, placing his right arm around her waist as she moves forward on the outside, to join him in waltz hold 8 bars
New Couples #1 Lead around in waltz hold 8 bars
New Couples #1 House at home with their new Partners 8 bars
Repeat: x 3 Repeat Circle + Gents move left + Lead around + Dance at home x 3 times (last time with original Partner) 72 bars
All Couples Circle - Advance and retire twice 8 bars
All Couples Swing (hug) to finish 8 bars

 

NOTES:

During collection and recording of this set in the Irish Set Dance repertoire it was originally called "Freses Nantes". It is understood that this was a derivation of the title of an old Irish (Gaelic) song and polka in Connemara, "Foraer a' Neantin", used for the final Polka Figure.

At the South Sligo Summer School in Tubbercurry in 2006 Pat Murphy taught this set with Figures 1, 2 and 3 being danced by Tops and Sides once only, i.e. with 160 bars, 144 bars and 168 bars rather than the lengths shown above.

DANCE MOVEMENTS:

There are three types of promenade:

Front promenade hold - With your Partner hold join left hands in front and rights hands above left. In the Advance and Retire you maintain crossed hands and use a push-pull motion to change direction to convert from facing in to facing out (or vica versa). This occurs on the second bar, or the 123 count in the 1-2-123 sequence.

Crossed upper promenade hold - From facing into the set with your Partner pivot to the right (clockwise) through 90 degrees - the Gent finishes on the left and slightly behind his Partner. Gents bring right hands (holding Partner's left hand) over your Partner's head and maintain the hold over her right shoulder. Join the other hands (Lady's right + Gent's left) in front at waist level. This is used for the Lead around at the start of the dance (following the Advance and Retire).

Normal upper promenade hold - For this hold the Gent's right hand comes over the Lady's right shoulder and holds her right hand at shoulder level, and the couple join the other hands (Gent's left with Lady's left) in front at waist level. This is used for the most other lead arounds within each figure. To move into this position the couple keep both hands joined (from the front promenade hold) and the Gent brings his right hand over the Lady's head as they both pivot to the right (clockwise) through 90 degrees, keeping left hands joined in front.

The Tug - In "the Tug" you maintain crossed hands in front with your current Partner (right hand in right) and dance away from your current Partner pulling against them (123), then dance toward (or past) them (123) for a swing with your Partner (or with your Corner).

The Hug (Swing) - The Hug swing follows "the tug". The Lady's hands should be on top of the Gent's shoulders or upper arms and his hands just below her shoulder blades. Couples pivot on the right foot with right foot to right foot and right hip to right hip.

 

REFERENCES

Murphy, Pat (1995). Toss the Feathers. Mercier Press: Cork. 124-126.

Quinn, Tom (1997). Irish Dancing. HarperCollins: Glasgow. 208-213.


Updated: 27 April 2014