Irish Dance Costumes – Exploring Irish Dance Attire Throughout Time


The project:

The aim of this project is to create an online database of Irish dance attire focused on (but not exclusively) dance attire pre 2010 and self-made costumes. The idea is to develop a live, dynamic website showcasing different types of costumes and relating their stories and history. This should in turn provide a valuable resource for future research and archival projects. The website should also be a helpful aid to those looking for more information on their former costumes and their whereabouts, or where their 2nd hand costumes may have come from.

The website is not a market place for buying and selling costumes.

In order to get as much information on the attire as possible, willing participants are asked to send in material such as (example):

  • photographs of the dance attire, front and back (one piece and detail shots)

  • model or action shots of themselves / other dancers wearing the respective costume

A written text (or spoken audio file, if easier) accompanying the photographs is very much appreciated. This is to ensure as much information (if applicable) of the respective dance attire can be preserved. Topics included in the text could be (but are not restricted to):

  • name of the designer

  • name of the maker

  • owners (current and previous ones, if bought 2nd hand)

  • countries of ‘residence’ the costume has had

  • a description of colours, fabric and designs used

  • measurements / age group

  • year the photograph was taken

  • year the costume was made

  • what events / places / countries / feiseanna / shows the costume has been worn at

  • the story of how the costume came to the owner’s possession

  • how wearing the costume makes the dancer feel like / impacts the dancing

  • any detail of interest / special fact about the costume

  • any other story the writer is prepared to share

Faces on photographs may be cut / blurred if participant wishes to do so. The focus is on the costume, not the dancer.

Names may also be abreviated to initials or kept anonymous.

Note for participants:

  • Please ensure you are allowed to mention any names (of persons or dance schools) and use the respective photographs

  • By handing in text / photographs / audio, you agree that you have been granted all permissions by all people involved to do so

  • By handing in text / photographs / audio, you agree for them to be part of this project and for the pictures and information to be shared on the website

  • This project nor I, the founder, will not take any responsibility if participant has failed to get all the permissions needed for the material handed in

For proper archival storage other than the website, you may choose for the photographs and stories to be eventually donated to the National Dance Archives of Ireland and added to my personal collection (currently in development and not yet launched). Please note that this is an independent, private project and that I do not work for the archives but am passionately collecting dance material to be stored properly for the long run.

Please do feel free to contact me if you have any questions about anything. 


S.S.K. Marbach, 2020

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