When my daughter, Olivia, began Irish dancing classes in 2013, I didn't know a thing about Irish dancing, have no Irish ancestry and no connection to Ireland whatsoever! But my husband and I had lived in St Andrews, Scotland for two years back in the 80s and did take some Scottish country dance classes (we were terrible at it). Reading up on Irish dancing I learned there was an entire competitive angle to it. So I told Olivia, in jest, at the beginning of her taking classes, "If you practice really, really hard, and get really good, the World Championships are in Scotland in 2016!" She looked at me like I was crazy. Perhaps I was at the time...
Well, she did it. She qualified for Worlds at our regionals back in November, and we traveled to Scotland in March for the championships! I thought I would share with you some of the highlights of our trip.
We spent the first few days in Glasgow, visiting the Cathedral, the Necropolis (large old cemetery on top of a hill behind the Cathedral), walking down Buchanan Street, and practicing before competition day in the Royal Concert Hall
Olivia on the World stage! Photo by Feis Photos
Photography and video is forbidden at all dance competitions, and as a photographer, this rule is particularly irksome! But fortunately at events such as Nationals and Worlds, there is an official photographer who does take action shots of the dancers.
After the competition we took the train to Edinburgh, one of my favorite places in Scotland. The Castle sits at the top end of the Royal Mile, on top of the remnants of an old volcano, with the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the bottom and the Salisbury Crags and Arthur's Seat behind. And we were blessed with fantastic weather. Scotland in March is usually quite dreary, but we had blue skies and temps in the 50s.
View of Arthur's Seat from the castle
Ruined Holyrood Abbey, behind the Palace--lovely old stonework
Our final stop was St Andrews, where we had a wonderful visit with old friends, and more beautiful weather to explore the medieval town. St Andrews may be known to many of you as the home of golf, but it is also home to the ruin of the largest cathedral in Scotland, and prestigious St Andrews University, where not only did Prince William and Kate attend, but more importantly, my husband (but not at the same time)! Tom and I lived in St Andrews back in 1986-88, where he attended University, and I worked for St Andrews Pottery and Bonkers gift shop, took many photographs and wrote a few travel articles.
There's also a ruined castle, which hasn't fared well over the centuries, but has a really cool tunnel under the castle as well as fantastic views of the North Sea. The bishop of the Cathedral once lived here.
Fishing villages dot the coast of Fife. Crail is one of the most picturesque, with stone cottages on narrow streets leading to the harbor.
But don't drive your car into the water!
Hope you enjoyed this little tour of Scotland!