Friday, March 14, 2008

Irish Dancing in the Bronx

This is the best thing I've seen in a long time-- make sure you watch the video!

With a student body that is 71 percent Hispanic and 27 percent black, Public School 59 does not seem an obvious home for a thriving Irish dance troupe. And when Caroline Duggan first arrived from Dublin at age 23 to try her hand as a New York City public school music teacher, it wasn’t. Many of her students had never heard of Ireland. Why, they wanted to know, did she talk funny?

Then, to stave off homesickness, Ms. Duggan hung a “Riverdance” poster in her fifth-floor classroom, and one thing led to another. The children pointed to a long-haired dancer on the poster and asked if it was her. No, she laughed, but I could show you a few steps. The impromptu lesson grew into a wildly popular after-school program and, for the first time last year, a trip to Ireland that still inspires dreamy looks among those lucky enough to go.

The group is called Keltic Dreams, and they are looking for donations to support the program and send the kids to Ireland again. It took me about 2 seconds to decide I'd be mailing them a check! The article doesn't include the contact information for donations, but here they are.

Make checks payable only to: The Keltic Dreams / PS 59
Mail them to attention of
Caroline Duggan - Music Teacher
Public School 59
2185 Bathgate Avenue
Bronx New York 10457

You can also find more information and photos at


3beansalad said...

I read this article this morning,too. What a great way to start the day!

Anonymous said...

How do you invest your $200K saved for retirement?

That Saddity Chic said...

I was so glad I ran across this blog. It really touched me. My cousin is a teacher in the south Bronx and she says it's well known that the children never really get outside of their neighborhoods. I think that's so sad. I love the work that the Irish teacher is doing for her kids!

My fiance and I will be writing a check to this wonderful group tomorrow.

Beany said...

Thanks for posting this. This was so moving...I almost cried. I found their performance that they did on the Irish TV show. It was really neat.

Tired of being broke said...

I read the article and watched them on News 12 the Bronx. Great program.

Saddity chic you are so right. As an immigrant who lives in the south Bronx, I know of many who have never left the tri-state area. Travelling is what some of us may take for granted, for alot of these kids and thier families, it is a true luxury.

Anonymous said...

I read this just now. Thanks for posting the contact information. I just sent off a check.

What a sweet story!

irishdanceteacher said...

Wow. What a great story! Makes my struggles with a new studio seem miniscule in comparison. Thanks for sharing!