McConnell Irish Dance

McConnell School of Dance - Competitive Division

McConnell School of I rish Dance is a registered member of Cumann Rince Náisiúnta(CRN), based in Dublin, Ireland. Our students compete in CRN's Open Platform Feis (competitions), which take place at the Regional, National, and World Open levels.  

Dancers compete in 5 Solo Levels of CRN - Bunghrád, Ullmhúchán, Meanghrád, Ardghrád, and Craobhghrád 

  • Competitions are offered for all ages and abilities, including adult students.
  • Team competitions include all traditional figure dances and modern choreography.

The Competitive season extends Sept - May for dancers who wish to compete in our school or nearby competitions. For dancers who wish to compete at the Regional, National, or World competitions, the season will extend Sept - August.

Competition is not mandatory for dancers enrolled in Competitive classes. Our competitive program is ideal for dancers who wish to brush up on technique or who need additional learning time, even if they do not wish to compete.

There are no performances for dancers registered in competitive division.  Dancers who wish to compete and perform will need to register for Competitive & General or Performance Division Classes.


Competitive Division Information

CRN Levels

Dancers compete in 5 Solo Levels of CRN - Bunghrád, Ullmhúchán, Meanghrád, Ardghrád, and Craobhghrád 

  • Level 1 Bunghrád - Reel, Slip Jig, Single Jig, Light Jig
  • Leve 2 Ullmhúchán - Reel, Slip Jig, Single Jig, Heavy Jig, Hornpipe
  • Level 3 Meanghrád - Reel, Slip Jig, Single Jig, Heavy Jig, Hornpipe
  • Level 4 Ardghrád - Reel, Slip Jig, Single Jig, Heavy Jig, Hornpipe
  • Level 5 Craobhghrád - Reel, Slip Jig, Single Jig, Heavy Jig, Hornpipe

Competitive Division Classes

  • Bunghrád, Ullmhúchán, Meanghrád - CRN Level 1 - 3 classes are combined so dancers can advance through the levels without having to attend multiple classes.
  • Ardghrád, Craobhghrád -  CRN Ardghrád and Craobhghrád classes are comprised of levels (1 & 2).  Level 1 is for dancers who are new to Ardghrád and Craobhghrád and Level 2 is for dancers who are well established in Ardghrád and Craobhghrád.  Dancers solo and set dances determine which level is most appropriate for them.
  • Championship Class - For dancers Levels 3 - 5 who are competing in Regional, National, World, and Open Championships.
  • Ceili / Teams 
  • Trad Sets / Treble Reels

Attending Competitions

Dancers who wish to attend competitions will need to confirm their participation with MSD in advance.  Instructors will determine which dances and levels are most appropriate for students. Schools hosting competitions will release their syllabus 6 - 8 weeks prior to the competition and generally registration for dancers attending competitions will be arranged through MSD.

Competition Registration

Generally, registration for CRN competitions is organised by the school. Students will receive notice via email once the competition registration is available and a deadline offered for registration.

After registration dancers will receive an invoice outlining their competition fees and a deadline for payment.
Competition Fees

Dancers are responsible for all registration fees for their competitions. Competition fees average at $7 - $10 U.S. per dance. 

Travel and Associated Fees

Dancers are responsible for all costs associated with their travel to and from competitions.  All travel arrangements are to be made by the individual, including transportation, accommodations, and chaperones.

Levels & Advancement

Instructors determine which level and which dances students will learn and compete with for solo and award competitions. 
CRN Level 1 - 3 Dances
Dances in Levels 1 - 3 are standardised steps throughout all schools in CRN.  There are slight variations in style between regions and schools, however dancers in Bunghrád, Ullmhúchán, Meanghrád must compete with the CRN sanctioned dances.
CRN Level 4 & 5 Dances
Dances in Levels 4 & 5 are of the same standard, however these dances are developed and choreographed by the school's instructor.  Slight differences in steps may be added for dancers who have individual strengths or weaknesses.

Solo Lessons are offered prior to all major competitions and sign up is on a first come, first served basis


Competitive Options for McConnell Irish Dancers


CRN Competitions are held in Canada, the USA, Ireland, Britain, and Australia.  McConnell School of Dance is a registered member of CRN and dancers participate in competitions at Local, Regional, National, and World Levels. 

McConnell School of Dance host the Canada Feile in May each year and we are excited to announce we will be holding the FIRST Canadian Open Irish Dance Championship in November 2019.  Both of our locally hosted competitions allow dancers the opportunity to compete and advance through the CRN levels without the financial burden of travel costs (flights, hotels, transportation, etc).

In CRN Féile have 1 adjudicator and Feis use 3 adjudicators.  Three adjudicator Feis allow for championship competitions where dancers may qualify for Irish Open and Nationals without having to compete at their Regional competition.  Ardghrád dancers who win a championship with 3 adjudicators level up to become Craobhghrád status earn the prestigious title of "Champion".

CRN school competitions are open to all CRN registered dancers and Open Platform "independent" schools.  McConnell dancers may compete in any CRN school competitions in Canada, USA, Ireland, Britain, Europe, and Australia.  Please visit the CRN's Website for a complete listing of school competitions


All schools in CRN are designated a region and we are members of the North Leinster Region (North & West of Dublin, Ireland, close to the Dublin Airport).  Due to it's proximity to the airport, it's a convenient location for our dancers to travel in Ireland. 

Every CRN Region hosts a Regional competition where dancers qualify to compete at the Irish Open and North American Nationals.  As we are members of the North Leinster Region, our dancers compete at the North Leinster Regionals (Nov 9th & 10th - Trim, Co. Meath, Ireland). 


Dancers who wish to compete in the CRN Irish Opens (April 24 - 26th Solos, May 1 - 3rd Championships) and/or the North American Nationals (Feb 2020- location pending) need to qualify for the competitions by either;

1. Competing & Qualifying at the Regionals in North Leinster


2. Competing in the Qualifying Round at the Canadian Open Championships (Nov 30th, 2019 - Wpg MB)

Dancers need to place in the top 33% of any one of their dances in order to qualify for that level at Irish Open and/or North American Nationals.  Dancers may qualify in more than 1 level and instructors work with dancers to determine which level is best suited for them to compete in for Irish Open and/or Nationals.  Typically most all of our McConnell dancers are of a high enough calibre to qualify at these either of these events.


In order to compete in the World Open Irish Dance Championship, dancers need to be fully Ardghrád or Craobhghrád must compete at Regionals or Nationals in order to compete at Worlds every year.  Dancers who are not yet fully Ardghrád but have achieved 3 Ardghrád level dances and 2 Meanghrád level dancers may qualify to compete at Worlds if they enter a qualifying round at Irish Open or North American Nationals.

2019 - 2020 CRN Competition Dates

  • Berkshire Feile -   Sept 14th, 2019 (Pitsfield, MA)
  • North Leinster Regionals - Nov 9th & 10th, 2019 (Trim, Co. Meath, Ireland)
  • Canadian Open Championship - Nov 30th (Wpg, MB)
  • Illinois Feis - Dec 7th, 2019 (Champagne, Illinois)
  • North American Nationals - Feb 15 - 18th, 2020 (location pending)
  • Canada Feile - May 23rd, 2020 (Wpg, MB)
  • Irish Open Solo - April 24th - 26th, 2020 (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Irish Open Championships - May 1st - 3rd, 2020 (Ireland - location pending)



 As a member of CRN, our dancers have the benefit of competing in any Open Platform Irish Dance competitions.  Open Platform competitions are held across the USA, Ireland, Britain, and Europe. CRN is a well established Open Platform organisation but other organisations such as An Chomhdháil USA, WIDA, RTN, and CRDM also offer open platform Irish dance competitions. Dancers must inform instructors if they wish to participate in any non-CRN competitions and all results must be submitted to CRN, through McConnell School of Dance, within 7 days of the feis.



 Digital Feis is an on-line organisation which offers dancers the opportunity to compete and advance levels without the burden of travel. 

  • Videos are submitted by the school and dancers must register for private video taping sessions where dancers solo routines are rehearsed, taped, and submitted for adjudication. 

Digital Feis provides feedback, placement, and medals to competing dancers and all results count towards their CRN Levels.  Digital Feis results must be submitted to CRN through McConnell School of Dance within 7 days of the digital feis.  Unlike CRN competitions, dancers are only permitted to compete in 1 level with Digital Feis. 

  • Instructors determine which level is most appropriate and beneficial for students. 

Although a digital competition can not compare to the experience gained from competing against other dancers at a feis, it's a good option for students who are unable to travel and still wish to progress outside of Canada Feile and our Canadian Irish Dance Championship competitions.

Digital Feis Competition Dates

  • November Digital Feis — November 17, 2019  (Taping Date - Sun Nov 3rd, 2019)
  • January Digital Feis — February 8, 2020 (Taping Date - Sun Feb 2nd, 2020)
  • March Digital Feis — April 4, 2020 (Taping Date - Sun March 22nd, 2020)
  • May Digital Feis — June 4, 2020 (Taping Date - Sun May 10th, 2020)


Additional Fees For Competing Dancers

CRN Lanyards (Optional)

CRN Lanyards are ordered from Ireland yearly in the Spring  & Fall and cost $20 Canadian.  The lanyard is good for life and does not need to be renewed, unless it's lost.

Lanyards enable dancers to avoid paying feile entry fees.  They are an economic option for dancers who attend competitions every year, but not necessary for dancers who are new to competitive Irish dance and uncertain if it's something they wish to continue with.

CRN Membership Fee (Canada Feile Competitors)

CRN collects a yearly membership fee from schools and the funds to pay for the membership fee are divided between all dancer's competing in Canada Feile.  The fee amount is divided between the dancers and it is added to your Canada Feile registration.

Without membership in CRN dancers would be responsible to pay an additional $15 per dancer at each competition, so CRN membership has its benefit.

Instructor Travel Fees (Regional, National, & World Competitors)

Our Competitive Irish Dance Program requires a great deal of work on the part of the instructors as well as administrative time for the teachers.  Teacher's travel expenses, flights, hotels, transportation, and required Insurance is costly.  Instructors travel on their free time to attend competitions and must volunteer to organise all major and class feiles. 

Therefore, students who compete at the Regional, National and World Level are required to pay fees towards instructor travel expenses. Instructors cannot be expected to pay for travel, volunteer their time to work, and organise competitions, without financial compensation for out of pocket expenses. 

CRN North Leinster Regionals, Irish Open, and Worlds

  • Instructors travel fees for North Leinster Regionals, Irish Open, and Worlds will be divided between all dancers competing at any one, or all of these events.  
  • Fees include airfare, hotel, and transportation for teachers and will range from $450 - $600 per dancer (maximum fee of 2 children per family), depending on how many dancers we have competing at the Regional or National Level each season.
  • Travel Fees may be paid in Full (September) or in 2 Term Payments (September & February).  
  • There is no refund on Travel Fees and dancers who attend Regionals, Irish Open, or Nationals are required to pay the FULL FEE regardless of which competitions they attend.

CRN North American School Feiles, Regionals, Nationals, and all Open Platform Competitions

  • Instructors travel fees will be divided by the participants in these events.  Fees will include airfare, hotel, and transportation.

Travel fees are applied to ALL CRN & Open Platform Feiles and Competitions instructors attend.  Instructors determine which competitions are most important and all travel fees collected go towards their expenses.  

Instructor Travel Fees for CRN North American & Open Platform competitions will be added to registration fees and must be paid prior to the competition.




School costumes, Solo Costumes, or  Basic Skirt & Blouse may be worn at CRN Competitions.

Basic Costume - Skirt & Blouse

Dancers may wear a basic skirt & blouse for any CRN competitions.  In most cases, basic costume attire is used for beginner levels, however dancers who wish to save on costume costs may choose to wear basic attire for any levels of competition in CRN.

School Costumes

2019 - 2020 Team Costumes - required for dancers competing in Team & Ceili Competitions.

Solo Costumes

Solo costumes are not permitted in Bungrád or Ullmháchán levels with the exception of dancers over 18.  Solo costumes may be worn in Meangrád, Ardgrád, and Craobhgrád levels by dancers of any age.

  • All solo costumes must be approved by the instructor prior to purchase or design by seamstress.
  • All school costumes are registered with CRN so please wear appropriate school costumes.


Irish Dance Shoes
Shoes should be well fitting, clean, and polished.  Ill-fitting shoes will affect a dancer’s placement and teachers will let you know if you require a better fitting shoe for competition.


Irish Dance Wigs
Wigs are optional for CRN Feile’s, however we prefer dancers wear wigs rather than hair down.  Dancers who wish to wear their hair down should verify the style with instructors prior to competition.
Full, Bun, or Pony tail wigs are acceptable.
Team dances must have their style of wigs coordinated by instructor.
Tights / Socks
CRN Rule, dancers 20 and over must wear black tights.
Dancers under 20 may wear poodle socks or tights, however we prefer dancers wear socks as it shows off footwork better than tights
Team dancers must coordinate socks or tights, depending on age of the team.
If you are under 20 and you wish to wear tights please verify with your instructor prior to competition
Make sure your socks are newer, clean, white, and well fitting.  Sock glue is essential.

MSD & CRN do not require the use of heavy make-up, spray tan, for younger dancers. There are no stage lights at Feile’s so heavy make-up is not necessary.  Light or no make-up is acceptable. 

Dancers competing at higher levels and in major competitions may choose to wear stage make-up.  Instructors will determine if a dancer's make-up is appropriate.

What is CRN?

Cumann Rince Náisiúnta ( koo-mun, rin-ka, now-shun-tuh)
CRN was established in 1982 in Dublin, Ireland by the late Ita Cadwell. CRN is the only organization whose competitions successfully operate with the Open Platform, where any dancer from any teacher, from any part of the world or any organisation can compete.

CRN believes in honesty, justice and fairness in competitions. CRN’s motto is: “Do not do to others what you would not like done to you”. CRN’s founder Ita Cadwell used the following phrase: “The honest road is the right and just road to take, but it is also a very hard and difficult road to take.

CRN is widely known as a traditional dance organization and it has successfully maintained the integrity of traditional dances, while actively encouraging the development of new and innovative work. Great thought was put into considering the developmental levels of students and their capacity to execute work in solo dances.

Five (5) grades/levels of dance were established. In an ongoing effort to honour tradition and continually protect the developmental
process of dancers a grading system is in operation in all 5 levels and grades. This system ensures that appropriate technique is being taught at each level.

CRN is committed to protecting the integrity and purity of the Irish Dance tradition.

CRN is very proud of the standard of dance education among its members. This standard was achieved through establishing a compulsory and rigorous teacher-training course and requires two to three years of supervised training in Ireland CRN Adjudicators must complete an additional two years of supervised study, taught by recognized trainers with Cumann Rince Náisiúnta. Additionally, the Instructor Examining Panel are also required to pursue continuing education.


For more information on CRN, please visit their website


Find them on Facebook


     Canada Feile

Saturday, May 23rd, 2020

The Canada Feile was established in 2016 and is CRN's only Canadian competition.  

Canada Feile is organised by instructors from McConnell School of Dance in an effort to allow our students and those from other nearby schools the opportunity to compete, place, and advance levels without the burden of long distance travel.

Canada Feile is open to all students from McConnell School of Dance, from all Divisions.  Dancers do not need to register for competitive division in order to compete at Canada Feile, although we do recommend Competitive Division classes for students who are serious about competing and wish to move on to higher competitive levels.


2016 - Ann English (A.D.C.R.N)

2017 - Lena McGinley (A.D.C.R.N)

2018 - Ann English (A.D.C.R.N)

2019 -  Brian Cleary (A.D.C.R.N)

Competitive Irish Dance Information

There are several major competitive Irish Dance organizations world-wide who offer either Open or Closed Platform Irish dance

competitions. Open platform competitions are open for any dancer, from any school to participate. Closed platform competitions
are limited to only open to those who belong to a particular organization.
Why Compete?

Competitions help motivate students to set individual goals and improve their technique.


Competitive Irish dancers have the opportunity to travel and meet other Irish dancers from around the world.

Improving technical skills in dance takes a great deal of self-discipline, patience, focus, hard work and commitment.


Dancers who are dedicated to competing and advancing through the levels through hard work will become better technical

Dancers and learn valuable life skills.