Irish for friends, these 7 lads wanted to show the world Irish Dancing. They wanted to bring in a new audience and wanted to show the world how modern it could be. Cairde got together prior to the pandemic and have since gained a massive audience through social media platforms. This is their story.
Francis Fallon, 21, Galway, Hession SD
Brian Culligan, 20, Clare, Croghan Greene Academy
Stephen McGuinness, 20, Clare, Michael Donnellan SD
Ethan Quinton, 20, Clare, Michael Donnellan SD
Séamus Morrisson, 20, Cork, Mulcahy
Dara Kelly, 19, Galway, Hession SD
Ronan O’Connell, 19, Galway, Hession SD
TikTok: 1.8 million
We all got to know each other through the competitive Irish dancing scene at different stages over last 12 years or so. We quickly formed a great bond meeting up at local, regional and major championships, always being able to have a laugh together, regardless of what the result may have been on that particular day.
‘Cairde’ was first formed during the Fleadh Cheoil in 2017. Some of our current members started busking together on the streets of Ennis, with a video of this going viral on Facebook in the following weeks. It became clear that this was something we would love to develop further, however due to school and competitive dancing commitments, we just didn’t have the time to dedicate to it.
Fast forward to 2020, where we found ourselves in a national lockdown. While the cancellation of the World Championships came as a great disappointment to all of us, it was what originally inspired us to make the best of a bad situation and to use our new found free time to begin the development of Cairde. We started off with remote videos in May 2020 – recording individual steps from our gardens and merging them together to post on our Instagram, Youtube and Facebook profiles. A couple of months later, once restrictions began to ease slightly, we began meeting up outdoors to create content and almost immediately began to get mind-blowing levels of interaction on our videos.
With just a following of 300 people on Instagram at the time, (mostly consisting of friends and family) we created our TikTok account on July 1st 2020. Within just a couple of weeks, we had multiple videos with over a million views, the most famous of which currently sits on a staggering 87.1 million. We were completely overwhelmed by how quickly the numbers continued to rise in the first couple of weeks. In early September, we reached 1 million TikTok followers, which was followed by several press interviews and even an appearance on ‘The Late Late Show’.
Since then, we have taken so much pride in showcasing Irish dancing to such a huge audience from all over the world. We often get comments and messages from people who have never seen this style of dance before and are just completely blown away by it. It’s amazing to think that we are introducing the art form to so many people, even at a time where there are no live performances or competitions.
While our journey has had it’s ups and downs, with many amazing opportunities being cancelled or postponed due to worldwide lockdowns, we are delighted to have found a way to stay dancing throughout this pandemic and are looking forward to the day we can take to the stage together.