Zoe Griffin – World, All Ireland and Great Britain Champion

Tell us a bit about yourself

I started dancing when I was three years old but I am part of Scoil Uí Ruairc since I was six weeks old. My mam used to bring me along to classes when my brother and sister were attending. When I started walking my mam started bringing me to my own class to learn how to dance. I used to try and copy my sister at home all the time and I think that’s where my interest for Irish dancing came from. When I first started competing I flew through my grades and I was in championship from the age of 8. I would spend my weekends traveling around the country with my mam, she gave my every opportunity to complete with the best. Back then I did not take dancing or competitions serious enough ( I thought I did!!) and it showed in my results. I was very lucky to recall at most competitions but it wasn’t until I was u15 that I realised I needed to start working harder. From then on my results started to improved.

How did you manage dancing and school?

This was something I always struggled with. Dancing was always number one for me as I didn’t know if university was for me. I always tied my best with school but at times I did find it hard to keep up both in school and dancing. Over the years I have definitely got better with my time management because I had to balance dancing and school life. I ended up auditioning for the Irish world academy to study BA in Irish, Music & Dance in the university of Limerick. This course gave me all the extra time I wanted to focus on dancing while attending college. It was one of the best decisions I have made.

Did you ever win any major titles while you were still studying for final exams?

In my third year of college I won the All Ireland’s, Great Britain and World championships and in final year of college I won the All Ireland’s and Great Britain’s and placed 3rd on the World championships. That was my last competition before I retired.

Do you feel that being a dancer has complimented your academic life?

Irish dancing has thought me so many new life skills over the years. It has shown me that if you want something you need to work for it. This has made me a very motivated and driven person. It has also thought me how to manage my feelings when it comes to disappointment or even nerves. Being able to accept that sometimes things don’t work out the way you want it too but don’t ever give up! When it comes to nerves, dancing has given me the skills I need to know how to manage and control my nerves. This helped me through college when it came to practical exams.

Are you at College/University?

I graduated from the university of Limerick in 2017 with a BA in Irish music and dance. Since then I have qualified as a personal trainer and gym instructor. I use the personal training to help our own kids with strength and conditioning during competition season. I currently work in a residential house for adults with intellectual disabilities while training to be a healthcare assistant.

Do you plan on taking your TCRG and ADCRG exam?

Yes I’m hoping to take my T.C.R.G exam at the end of this year. I am current a teaching assistant with Scoil Uí Ruairc and I absolutely love it. I have gained so much experience and knowledge over the past three years and I can not wait to pass it on to the next generation. I am very lucky to have been asked to help out with the class in Scoil Uí Ruairc since I retired. My future plan is to teach with Scoil Uí Ruairc while continuing to work my up as a Healthcare assistant.

Do you have any words of wisdom for dancers who wish to continue with further education but also continue their competitive careers

Don’t listen to other people, do what makes you happy!! When you are having a bad day and things aren’t going to plan remind yourself why you started Irish dancing and why you are still dancing today. “ Anything is possible if you believe in yourself “