THE ROSSCAHILL (West Galway) SET
Study Notes Copyright © William Lynch 2007
|First Figure - Ladies Chain, Line and Swing (Polkas)||200 bars|
|1||Balance in and back twice, with open waltz hold.||8 bars|
|2||Half house around to the opposite place, making 3 turns, and dance the last 2 bars in place, facing into the set.||8 bars|
|3||Balance in and back twice.||8 bars|
|Half house back to place.||8 bars|
|4||Ladies chain: top ladies chain R hands in the centre, L arm to turn the opposite gent, pass back R to R and all dancers face partners and dance the last 2 bars in place.||8 bars|
|Swing with waltz hold.||8 bars|
|Side ladies chain and all dance in place.||8 bars|
Top couples advance and retire (4 bars), drop hands and dance forward into line, gents on the outside and ladies L shoulder to L shoulder (2 bars) and dance in place (2 bars). Adjoining dancers take R arm hold and dance 1 full turn around each other (4 bars), drop hands and dance out towards the place opposite their own, taking L arm hold with their partners and turning 1˝ turns into place (4 bars). The whole 16 bar movement is then repeated to get back home.
|Side couples now dance the movement.||32 bars|
|6||Ladies swing left: all ladies dance across to the gent on their L (2 bars) and swing (6 bars). They dance this movement 3 more times to end swinging their own partners.||32 bars|
|7||Balance in and back twice.
Balance in and back twice.
|Second Figure - Ladies Crossover (Jigs)||112 bars|
|1||Quarterhouse: Taking waltz hold, all couples dance two steps in place (2 bars) and turn clockwise into the next place on their R (2 bars), This 4 bar movement is repeated 3 times to get back home.||16 bars|
Top ladies change places, passing R to R, while gents stand (4 bars).
Side ladies change places (4 bars).
|House with corners: new couples dance two steps in place (2 bars) and top gents and partners house around with the couple on their R (6 bars).||8 bars|
|Crossover, top ladies leading, back to their own partners.||8 bars|
|House with corners, top couples again with the couple on their R.||8 bars|
|4||Gents wheel R hand (4 bars) and L hand (4 bars) back to place while the ladies stand, keep L hand hold and pick up their partners in R shoulder hold (both R hands on the lady’s R shoulder and the lady’s L arm around the gent’s waist).||8 bars|
|5||Wheel around, back to place where the gent lifts the lady’s R arm overhead and into waltz hold.||8 bars|
|Third Figure - Chain (Polkas)||96 bars|
|1||Circle: all take hands in a circle and advance and retire twice.||8 bars|
|2||Back-to-back: all face partners and dance past L to L (2 bars), cross back-to-back (2 bars), fall back R to R (2 bars) and turn to face into the set (2 bars).||8 bars|
|Chain: all chain R hand, L hand to meet partners in the opposite place and dance in place, dancing 7 2 3, 8 stamp stamp (8 bars). The chain is then continued in the same direction to meet back home, again stamping twice on the last bar (8 bars).||16 bars|
|6||Big christmas: all take crossed hand hold behind, L arm over and R arm under, each gent holding the next gent’s R wrist with his L hand and the ladies taking similar hold to form a basket, put their weight on the R foot and, with the L foot swing the formation round 1 full turn (6 bars), break away and fall back to place (2 bars).||8 bars|
|SOURCES and STEPS |
Connie Ryan at Cecil Sharp House, London, in February 1997 and Eileen O’Doherty at Priddy, Somerset in May of the same year. Their original source was Marie Philbin who had the set from her father. Rosscahill lies between Moycullen and Oughterard on the N59 out of Galway city.
There were minor but significant differences in the way Connie and Eileen each presented the set. Eileen taught it exactly as she told us she had received it, with the polkas danced with the brushed polka step (brush 1 2 3, brush 2 2 3, brush 3 2 3 etc.) which she called a “kick polka “, all swings taking 6 bars with the last 2 being danced facing into the set and with the Second Figure Quarterhouse described as “Waves” and danced with a swaying motion. She also mentioned in passing that she felt that the set had been influenced by modern ceili dance practice in its progress from personal recollection to the form in which she had received it.
Connie, on the other hand, taught the set with the normal polka step, full 8 bar swings and no mention of “Waves” in the Second Figure. Could it be that he had detected the same influence and had filtered it out to present what he thought to be a more authentic version of the set? I should have checked this with him but didn't think of it at the time.He also said that, although we danced it on that occasion to polkas as he didn’t have the correct tape for the set, the Third Figure should really be danced to slides, although Eileen holds that the polkas are correct. Both agreed that the Jig Figure is danced with the ‘down jig’ step. So there you have it!