When was the last time you got involved in a good old Gaelic knees up? The last we remember was being taught the ‘Gay Gordon’ at secondary school and going wild to ‘Cotton Eye Joe’ at the disco (which we’re pretty sure doesn’t count.)
In preparation for a very special wedding we’re planning this August for Alice Pattinson and James Harrison, which features a high-energy live Ceilidh band who the bride and groom are certain will get everyone’s blood pumping, we thought we’d better dust off our dancing shoes and practice our Highland Fling!
For those of you who don’t know Ceilidh (Scottish spelling) or Céilí (Irish spelling) is an old Gaelic social gathering with traditional dancing and a very strong community vibe. Traditionally there’d be lots of blokes in kilts slinging their sporrans about, but nowadays you can just wear whatever you like (as long as you have sensible dancing shoes!). There’s no solo shuffling or private smoochy twos waltzing about, at a Ceilidh everyone dances with everyone else, constantly swapping partners or clapping in long lines with a caller explaining the steps for each new tune. There’s no pouting, flouncing or posing involved at this party because whether you like it or not you’ll be pulled into a foot-stomping, arm-flinging, sweaty load of fun!
The closet equivalent we have in England is the barn dance and it’s a rustic tradition that still thrives in rural parts of the country, but with the lack of barns in central Manchester we were stumped as to where we’d find someplace to practice! Would you believe that right in the city centre, tucked snugly into a corner of Shudehill, there’s a beautiful new hub called The Wonder Inn that hosts a Ceilidhs every month in collaboration with Night and Day. They’ve even got a ballroom and room to swing a cat, dog, donkey and maybe even a rhino!! Perfect!
The Wonder Inn has an awesome vibe, describing itself as a Creative Wellness Centre with a cafe and bar downstairs and event spaces upstairs. It’s situated in a Grade II listed building spread over three floors and radiates creativity and authentic Mancunian character. Alternative Weddings MCR are going to be collaborating a lot more with this brilliant collective in the near future so watch this space for exciting future developments.
In the meantime, if you fancy having a prance with some fun-loving folk then this is the place to go. Check out The Wonder Inn’s facebook page for more info and we’ll see you on the dancefloor on the 21st June (1 day before the Summer Solstice!!)