THE PLAIN SET

This dance was first introduced to the Group by Christy Mac Gearailt, set dance instructor from Dingle in West Kerry. Other published instructions for this dance may differ slightly. Our sources include Pat Murphy's "Toss the Feathers", Terry Moylan's "Irish Dances", and Tom Quinn's "Irish Dances" and the video "The Magic of Irish Set Dancing, Volume 1". The Brooks Academy, Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann [Cooley-Keegan Branch of San Francisco], the Irish-American Lobby Education Foundation and Joe O'Hara have versions this set online.

First Sides to the LeftFormation

Square Set of four couples, Gents on the left of their partners. Numbering of couples is clockwise starting with Top Couple who have their backs to the band. Second Couple (First Sides) are on their left, then Third Couple (Second Tops), and finally Fourth Couple (Second Sides) on the right of First Tops.


FIGURE 1 (REEL - 112 BARS)

All Couples Front promenade hold - Lead around anti-clockwise (6 bars), turn the Lady under (2 bars)  8 bars
All Couples Waltz hold - House at home 8 bars
Top Couples Pass through (Ladies on the inside - 2 bars), right hand to partner + turn Lady under and change sides (2 bars) + Repeat (Pass through + Turn under and change sides) 8 bars
Top Couples House at home 8 bars
Top Couples Ladies chain, right hands in the centre, left hand to opposite Gent, going around him anti-clockwise turning under his arm (Gents turn anti-clockwise) + Pass back to place (right shoulder to right), right hand to partner + turn Lady under (Gents turn anti-clockwise) 8 bars
Top Couples Front promenade hold - Lead around half way (2 bars), turn Lady under (2 bars) + Pass through (Ladies on the inside), right hand to partner + turn Lady under 8 bars
All Couples House at home 8 bars
Side Couples Pass through, turn Lady under, pass back, turn Lady under (8 bars) + House at home (8 bars) + Ladies chain (8 bars) + Lead around half way, turn Lady under, pass through, turn Lady under (8 bars) 32 bars
All Couples House at home 8 bars
All Couples House the set and finish 8 bars

FIGURE 2 (REEL - 128 BARS)

All Couples Lead around, turn the Lady under + House at home  16 bars
Top Couples Right hand in right - Advance and retire + Dance Lady across to opposite place turning twice under Gents right arm (Lady dances in front of Gent) + Right hand in right - Advance and retire + Dance Lady to home turning under twice 16 bars
Top Couples House at home 8 bars
Top Couples Right hand in right - Advance and retire + Dance Lady to opposite place + Advance and retire + Dance Lady to home 16 bars
All Couples House at home 8 bars
Side Couples Right hand in right - Advance and retire + Dance Lady to opposite place + Advance and retire + Dance Lady to home 16 bars
Side Couples House at home 8 bars
Side Couples Advance and retire + Dance Lady to opposite place + Advance and retire + Dance Lady to home 16 bars
All Couples House at home + House the set and finish 16 bars

FIGURE 3 (REEL - 176 BARS)

All Couples Lead around, turn the Lady under + House at home

16 bars

Top Couples Ladies straight across (2 bars) + Dance at home with opposite Gent

8 bars

Top Couples Gents straight across to Lady's side (2 bars) + Right hand in right - Turn Lady under (2 bars) + Left hand in left turn Lady under twice with Gents crossing back to usual places (4 bars)

8 bars

Top Couples Front promenade hold - Advance and retire twice

8 bars

Top Couples Waltz hold - Slide advance and retire to right side (4 bars) + House to place (4 bars)

8 bars

Top Couples Lady straight across + Dance at home with opposite Gent

8 bars

Top Couples Gents straight across + Turn Lady under (right hands) + Left hand turn Lady under twice Gents crossing back to place

8 bars

Top Couples Front promenade hold - Advance and retire twice

8 bars

Top Couples Waltz hold - Slide advance and retire to right side (4 bars) + House to place (4 bars)

8 bars

All Couples House at home 8 bars
Side Couples Ladies across + dance at home with opposite Gent 8 bars
Side Couples Gents across + Turn Lady under (right hands) + Left hand turn Lady under twice Gents crossing back to place 8 bars
Side Couples Front promenade hold - Advance and retire twice + Waltz hold - Slide advance and retire to the side + House to place 16 bars
Side Couples Ladies across + dance at home with opposite Gent + Gent across + Turn Lady under (right hands) + Turn Lady under twice (left hands) 16 bars
Side Couples Front promenade hold - Advance and retire twice + Waltz hold - Advance and retire to the side + House to place 16 bars
All Couples House at home + House the set and finish

16 bars

FIGURE 4 (REEL - 256 BARS)

All Couples Lead around, turn the Lady under + House at home

16 bars

Top Couples Ladies chain (Right hands in centre, left hand to opposite Gent + turn under, right shoulders on the way back, right hand to partner and turn under) 8 bars
Top Couples House at home 8 bars
1st Tops House inside leaving Lady on left of 2nd Top Gent (line of three). 2nd Top Gent takes left hand in left with Lady on the left and right hand in right with Lady on the right. 1st Top Gent faces opposite Gent takes partners right hand in right and opposite Lady's left hand in left - both under their other hands 8 bars
Top Couples Line of three - Advance, retire and advance with 1st Top Gent doing opposite (6 bars) + Turn Ladies under to make line of three with 1st Top Gent in centre and 2nd Top Gent on front (2 bars) 8 bars
Top Couples Line of three - Advance, retire and advance + Turn Ladies under to form a basket + Basket 16 bars
Top Couples Ladies chain + House at home 16 bars
2nd Tops House inside leaving Lady in line of three with 1st Tops 8 bars
Top Couples Line of three - Advance, retire and advance + Turn Ladies under + Line of three - Advance, retire and advance + Turn Ladies under 16 bars
Top Couples Basket + Ladies chain 16 bars
All Couples House at home 8 bars
Side Couples Ladies chain + House at home 16 bars
1st Sides House inside leaving Lady in line of three with 2nd Sides 8 bars
Side Couples Line of three - Advance, retire and advance + Turn Ladies under + Line of three - Advance, retire and advance + Turn Ladies under 16 bars
Side Couples Basket + Ladies chain + House at home 24 bars
2nd Sides House inside leaving Lady in line of three with 1st Sides 8 bars
Side Couples Line of three - Advance, retire and advance + Turn Ladies under + Line of three - Advance, retire and advance + Turn Ladies under 16 bars
Side Couples Basket + Ladies chain 16 bars
All Couples House at home + House the set and finish

16 bars

FIGURE 5 (JIG - 160 BARS)

In this figure Tops gallop across (2 bars) followed immediately by Sides (2 bars), then Tops back and sides back. Couples should not turn when they reach the opposite side. In each repeat the Ladies who started as Tops start the gallops and Ladies chain half way.

All Couples Lead around, turn the Lady under + Swing in waltz hold + House the set 24 bars
Tops + Sides Waltz hold - Tops gallop across [1-2-3-4-5-6-7], Gents back to back (2 bars) [don't turn] + Sides gallop across ( 2 bars) + Tops gallop back + Sides back 8 bars
Tops + Sides Top Ladies chain half way (right hands in centre - 2 bars) + Side Ladies chain half way (2 bars) + Ladies turn under with opposite Gent (left hands - 2 bars) + Gent passes Lady to the Gent on his left + Gent turns new partner under (right hands) 8 bars
All Couples Swing new partner + House the set 16 bars
Tops + Sides Tops gallop across + Side gallop across + Tops back + Sides back 8 bars
Tops + Sides Top Ladies chain half way + Side Ladies chain half way + Ladies turn under opposite Gent's left hand + Ladies pass to Gent's left + Ladies turn under new partner's right hand 8 bars
All Couples Swing new partner + House the set 16 bars
Tops + Sides Tops gallop across + Side gallop across + Tops back + Sides back 8 bars
Tops + Sides Top Ladies chain half way + Side Ladies chain half way + Ladies turn under opposite Gent's left hand + Ladies pass to Gent's left + Ladies turn under new partner's right hand 8 bars
All Couples Swing new partner + House the set 16 bars
Tops + Sides Tops gallop across + Side gallop across + Tops back + Sides back 8 bars
Tops + Sides Top Ladies chain half way + Side Ladies chain half way + Ladies turn under opposite Gent's left hand + Ladies pass to Gent's left + Ladies turn under right hand of original partner 8 bars
All Couples Swing own partner + House the set 16 bars

FIGURE 6 (REEL - 192 BARS)

All Couples Lead around, turn the Lady under + House at home 16 bars
All Couples House the set + House at home 16 bars
Ladies Advance and retire twice [1-2-123] 8 bars
Gents + Ladies Gents form right hand star in centre and lead around clockwise (4 bars) + Change to left hand star and lead back to place (4 bars). As they return to place Ladies dance to the position on their right turning clockwise twice 8 bars
All Couples House at home 8 bars
All Couples House the set + House at home 16 bars
Ladies Advance and retire twice [1-2-123] 8 bars
Gents + Ladies Gents form left hand star in centre and lead around clockwise (4 bars) + Change to right hand star and lead back to place (4 bars). As they return to place Ladies dance to the position on their right turning clockwise twice 8 bars
All Couples House at home 8 bars
All Couples House the set + House at home 16 bars
Ladies Advance and retire twice [1-2-123] 8 bars
Gents + Ladies Gents form right hand star in centre and lead around clockwise (4 bars) + Change to left hand star and lead back to place (4 bars). As they return to place Ladies dance to the position on their right turning clockwise twice 8 bars
All Couples House at home 8 bars
All Couples House the set + House at home 16 bars
Ladies Advance and retire twice [1-2-123] 8 bars
Gents + Ladies Gents form left hand star in centre and lead around clockwise (4 bars) + Change to right hand star and lead back to place (4 bars). As they return to place Ladies dance to the position on their right turning clockwise twice 8 bars
All Couples House at home + House the set 16 bars

REFERENCES

Moylan, Terry (1985). Irish Dances. Na Piobairi Ulleann: Dublin. 39-45.

Murphy, Pat (1995). Toss the Feathers. Mercier Press: Cork. 183-185.

Quinn, Tom (1997). Irish Dancing. HarperCollins: Glasgow. 355-363.


Updated: 4 July 2015