Dublin: 21 °C Saturday 13 August, 2022

15 memories every Irish person has of the Feis

Pick your poison: poems, music, or Irish dancing. We all had one.

1. You spent weeks learning off your poem/song/Irish dance routine

You’ve never been so focused before or since. Where was that determination during the Leaving Cert? You’ll never know.

2. When the day arrived, you were stuffed into your very best clothes and ferried to the Feis hall

Where you promptly froze half to death, even in the height of summer.

3. You were given a number, which held great importance

If it was near the start, you were toast. But if it was near the end, you’d only die with the nerves waiting. So you prayed for those middle numbers.

4. Then you sat and listened to 40 other kids recite your poem, with varying degrees of success

These days, you see that dead-eyed, just-get-through-it Feis stare in politicians reading their speeches. Game recognises game.

5. Or squawk their way through The Minstrel Boy

Source: patriot4913/YouTube

Again, with varying degrees of success.

6. Looking back, you really feel for all the parents in the audience

giphy Source: Giphy

Not to mention the adjudicators. God bless the adjudicators.

7. At the time, though, you were too consumed with nerves to care

giphy Source: Giphy

This was the most important moment of your life to date! The first (and possibly the last) time you ever attempted public speaking!

8. If you were lucky, you didn’t let the nerves show

And if you were unlucky, you ran crying to your parents as soon as your number was called.

cry Source: Wordpress

9. The Irish dancing feis took all this to an extreme

You couldn’t just rock up and do your dance. You needed the curls. The socks. The poms. And maybe even a proper dress, if you arrived on the scene in the early 2000s.

10. If you won a medal, it was all you talked about for the next two weeks

That was going in your My News every week until Christmas, for sure.

12. If you got ‘highly commended’, you were only slightly less smug

Sure that really meant fourth place, didn’t it? And you still got a certificate!

13. If you won a cup, you were practically a celebrity

It was always called something like The Eamon De Valera Elvery Sports Perpetual Cup. But you loved it anyway.

14. You scoured your marking sheet for praise

“Mam! Mam! She said I have WONDERFUL ENUNCIATION.”

“Yes Ciarán. That’s great. Now can you enunciate yourself into bed.”

15. And at the end of it all, you either couldn’t wait to do it again, or never wanted to hear another poem

But aren’t you glad that you did it? Sure you are.

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