On page 24 I read this re. the pre-famine Irish peasants:
"Dancing was the universal diversion, and Lord George Hill, who owned property in Donegal, has left an account of removing a cabin with dancing and fiddling. 'The custom on such occasions is for the person who has the work to be done to hire a fiddler, upon which engagement all the neighbours joyously assemble and carry in an incredibly short time the stones and timber upon their backs to the new site; men, women and children alternately dancing and working while daylight lasts, at the termination of which they adjourn to some dwelling where they finish the night, often prolonging the dance to dawn of day.'"
Dancing has been an important part of island social life since the very first Irish, English, and Scottish settlers arrived on Ocracoke. Over the last half century rock & roll dancing has mostly supplanted traditional Ocracoke Island square dancing (a type of "big circle" dance).
|Traditional Ocracoke Square Dance, 2012
But the old style dance, which was once popular throughout coastal Carolina, still survives only on Ocracoke. Ocracoke Alive, local non-profit cultural, artistic, educational, and environmental organization, will be sponsoring several dances in upcoming months. Look for more information soon.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of windmills on Ocracoke. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012113.htm.