Font sizing



Sign up to ITMA Archive

Signing up to the ITMA archive provides the ability to save content you find across the site and access directly from your own dashboard.

Register now


Michael Tubridy standing with intern Laura Mannion, pointing to an open book from Michael's collection.

Michael Tubridy’s life in music and Irish traditional step dance

This guest blog was written by Laura Mannion, a student on the Masters in Performance and Musicology at Maynooth University. As part of her course Laura completed a five-week internship in ITMA and worked with ITMA staff to prepare a digital version of the 2nd edition of A selection of Irish traditional step dances by Michael Tubridy. In the process, she also conducted an interview with Michael about his life and music.

“One of my fondest memories when looking back would be when we were invited down to play in Wexford for a Festival. We were in a room and a manager came in to ask us if we would fill in for this Rock band. We went out onto the stage, and I can only imagine what they thought looking at this group with uilleann pipes and bodhráns. By the time we were finished, they were asking for more. We could not believe it. Joe Lustig then put a proposal to us that if we came and played at the Royal Albert Hall and if he filled it, ‘will you take me on as manager?’ We started with ‘O’Neills March’, and I opened it.”

Michael Tubridy on the beginning of The Chieftains

“Céline and I were asked to go to the Reading Clog Dancing Festival in London. The organisers asked Céline to write out the steps, so I did that for her, and subsequently handed them out at her class back in Dublin. Terry Moylan was in the class and brought it to Mary Friel. She could follow them, so he asked me would I like to put all the dances in book form.”

Michael Tubridy
Dan Furey / unidentified photographer
Currently viewing

A page from An gabhairín Buí written out in Michael Tubridy's unique notation

“In former times it would be danced using two brushes lying across each other, and this required much agility on the part of the dancer, but Dan made his own sticks by notching them where they crossed so that they could lie flat on the floor.”

Michael Tubridy

An gabhairín buí, step dance / Laura Mannion, dance