Society of Dance History Scholars
Twenty-sixth Annual Conference
26–29 June 2003
University of Limerick
Limerick, Ireland

The twenty-sixth annual conference of the Society of Dance History Scholars, entitled "Dance History on Shannon's Shore," will be held at the Irish World Music Centre (Ionad Cheol Cruinne Éireann) at the University of Limerick (Ollscoil Luimnigh).

[Panoramic view of the campus of the University of Limerick]

Panoramic view of the campus of the University of Limerick

Conference Schedule. The final conference schedule is now available Friday June 27, 2003.There is also an Alphabetical Listing of Presenters. We look forward to camraderie, Irish hospitality, and the presentation of exciting and original research in dance studies!.

Conference Registration. Although on-line registration is not yet possible for the conference itself, you may print out the Conference Registration Form, and mail or fax it to Jim Ranieri, Office of the Society of Dance History Scholars, 3416 Primm Lane, Birmingham, AL 35216, Fax: 205.823.2760. Limerick Travel will handle conferee hotel and local travel arrangements. For an Accommodation and Tour Registration Form. Please note that you must complete both forms. More information on the conference schedule will be posted here as soon as possible. Check back often!

Local Arrangements. The chair of the local arrangements committee for "Dance History on Shannon's Shore" is Dr. Catherine Foley, course director of the Irish World Music Centre's masters programs in Irish traditional dance and ethnochoreology. The other members of the committee include, Mary Nunan, course director of the masters programme in contemporary dance, Kate Sheahan, Delores Hanly, Orfhlaith Ni Bhriain, Catherine Sherer, Louise Mulcahy and Audrey O'Connell. Their postal address is Irish World Music Centre; Foundation Building, Room #FG-024; The Irish World Music Centre, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. Inquiries may also be addressed to Catherine Foley via telephone (+ 353-61-20.29.22), fax (+ 353-61-20.25.89), or e-mail (

Venue. Limerick (Irish Gaelic, Luimneach, "bare land") is the name of both a county in Munster province and a port city on the river Shannon in southwestern Ireland. Founded as a Viking fortress in 922, the settlement became an important Norse stronghold during the tenth century. It was taken by Brian Boru, later high king of Ireland, in the late tenth century and remained under Irish control for almost two hundred years. After the Normans conquered Ireland in the twelfth century, the lordship of the country was granted to John Lackland of England. During his reign as lord of Ireland (from 1177) and as king of England (1199-1216), a great castle and a cathedral were built at Limerick. Chartered in 1197, Limerick is Ireland's oldest chartered city.

The University of Limerick is one of Ireland's youngest and Europe's newest universities. Located on a spectacular park of some two hundred acres bordering the river Shannon, it is composed of six colleges, which are devoted to business, education, engineering, humanities, informatics and electronics, and science. The College of Humanities provides academic support for the work of the Irish World Music Centre, which is directed by Professor Micheál Ó Súilleabhain, an ethnomusicologist with a strong interest in dance.

[Atrium of the Foundation Building, where the offices of the Irish World Music Centre are housed]
Atrium of the Foundation Building, where the offices of the Irish World Music Centre are housed.

Since its founding in 1994, the Irish World Music Centre has moved from zero base to fourteen staff members, one hundred students from some fifteen countries, research programs at the master's and doctoral levels, a specialized research library, programs involving newly commissioned music and dance as well as over a thousand visiting musicians, dancers, and academics, and, above all, a suite of nine one-year, full-time master's programs. These taught programs form the central ring of energy around which the activities of the center revolve.

The facilities of the Irish World Music Centre include four music rooms, each capable of holding about 50 or 60 people; two large lecture halls, accommodating 150 and 200 people, respectively; and good dance spaces for lecture-demonstrations and workshops. The University Concert Hall, with seating for 1,000, is the first purpose-built concert hall in Ireland.

Travel Directions. As Ireland's third largest city and a major seaport, Limerick is readily accessible by air, rail, and roadway.

  • By Air. The University of Limerick is only twenty-eight kilometers (about sixteen miles) from Shannon International Airport. Direct flights are regularly scheduled from Dublin, Belfast, London, Birmingham, Paris, Frankfurt, New York, Washington, and Boston. Conferees from overseas locales are advised to book their travel arrangements with Limerick Travel, Bedford House, Bedford Row, Limerick. The firm may be contacted via telephone (+ 353-61-20.44.44 or 20.44.88) or e-mail ( Competitive airfares (in euros) from various cities around the world can also be booked on the firm's Web site.
    Buses and taxis link Shannon International Airport to Limerick City center. Taxi services from the airport to the city cost on average €25 (US$23, £15) and from the city to the university about €8/9 (US$8, £5.25). Car hire services are also available at the airport.
  • By Rail. Regular rail services connect Limerick city with Dublin, Cork, Tralee, Killarney, and (via Dublin) Belfast, Sligo, and Westport. An Iarnród Éireann timetable is available on the Irish Rail Web site (
  • By Roadway. The University of Limerick is located on the main Dublin N7 route only five kilometers north of Limerick City. Driving directions from Limerick City, from the Dublin/Nenagh approach to Limerick City, and from counties Cork and Kerry are given on the university Web site (, as are maps showing the major cities of Ireland and the University of Limerick in the context of the Limerick region.
    [View of Dromroe Village, University of Limerick]
    View of Dromroe Village, University of Limerick. Conference Accommodation.

    Accommodations. Housing facilities at the University of Limerick consist of several residential "villages" on the campus. The newest of these, Dromroe Village, will be available for SDHS conferees. Dromroe Village is located in a meadow site adjacent to the River Shannon. The village has en-suite facilities in all bedrooms.Dromroe is arranged in six bed-roomed apartments with a stylishly designed, comfortable living area with cable TV. The apartments also have a fully fitted kitchen and card phones. The bedrooms contain a double bed (4’6”) a large study desk and ample storage space. The en-suite facilities have a toilet, shower and hand basin.Continental Breakfast, consisting ofbreads, preserves, cereals, milk, juice, fruit and yoghurts, is delivered daily into each of the apartments for delegates. Dromroe s located within easy walking distance of the conference facilities, shops, restaurants and banks in the University’s grounds.

    [En-suite bedroom - Dromroe Village]
    En-suite bedroom - Dromroe Village, University of Limerick

    Hotel accommodation, adjacent to the University of Limerick is available at the 3-star Kilmurry Lodge Hotel and at the 4-star Castletroy Park Hotel. Special conference rates for hotel accommodation are available for all participants and accompanying persons. To receive the conference rate, be sure to make your reservations through Limerick Travel. For an Accommodation and Tour Registration Form.

    Food and Drink. There are several restaurants and bars in the university complex, including the Scholar's Club Bar and Restaurant, the Stables Bar, and the Paddock Restaurant. In Limerick City, visitors have a wide choice of restaurants, pubs, and clubs. Among them are Dolan's Warehouse, a pub, restaurant, and music venue; Schooner's Waterfront Bar and Restaurant on Steamboat Quay; and An Sibin, a traditional Irish music bar in the George Hotel on O'Connell Street.

    Area Attractions. Limerick lies at the heart of the Shannon region, which offers spectacular landscapes as well as a variety of heritage attractions, leisure sports, and cultural pursuits. Major historic sites in Limerick City are Saint Mary's Cathedral (completed in 1194), a mixture of Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles, and King John's Castle (completed in 1210), which is a fine example of Norman architecture. During summer months, a nightly son et lumière show at the cathedral traces the history of Limerick and the cathedral. Also of interest is the Adare Heritage Centre, which depicts daily life of the town of Adare from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century through realistic models, enactments, and audiovisuals. It also houses the Tourist Information Office, Abbot's Rest Restaurant, Kerry Woollen Mill, and Black Abbey Crafts.

    Conferees with an interest in prehistory and archaeology will find a number of fascinating sites within County Limerick, including the Duntryleague Passage-Tomb, a well-preserved megalithic structure, and the Ardagh Ringfort. Lough Gur, on Killmallock Road, was the site of a Neolithic settlement that was inhabited in 3000 BCE. The lough (lake) is surrounded by ancient standing stones, burial mounds, and megalithic tombs. The Lios, a four-thousand-year-old stone circle, lies just outside the park.

    The cliffs of Moher, in the Burren region, County Clare.

    County Limerick is dotted with more than four hundred castles built by the Normans. They include Askeaton Castle, Castle Matrix (where Edmund Spencer met Sir Walter Raleigh and where the potato was first grown in Ireland), Glenquin Castle, Glin Castle, Portrinard Castle, and Glenstal Castle. Other sites of interest include the abbeys of Ardpatrick, Glenstal, Lislaughtin, Manister, Mungret, and Killeedy. The ruins of Ardpatrick Church and Round Tower offer a grand view of the surrounding countryside.

    From Limerick, it is also possible to arrange day trips to the Burren region, to the Aran Islands, and to Killarney and Galway. The Burren is a desolate, starkly beautiful area of limestone cliffs and hills south of Galway Bay in County Clare. The Aran Islands (Irish Gaelic, Arana Naomh, "Aran of the saints"), in the Atlantic Ocean at the entrance to Galway Bay, are the original home of the famous Irish fisherman's sweaters. In contrast to the wild, windswept landscape of these places are the beautiful Killarney National Park in County Kerry, called "the greenest place on earth," and the city of Galway at the head of fabled Galway Bay.

    Information. A number of Web sites provide additional useful information.

SDHS publications

Studies in Dance History SDHS’s monograph series, published by University of Wisconsin Press, answers a growing demand for works that provide fresh analytical perspectives on dancing, dancers, and dances in a global context. Read more...

[cover of 2015 Conversations] Issued yearly in early spring generally, Conversations Across the Field of Dance Studies reflects the dynamic and diverse membership of SDHS. We seek to bring you themes and debates current in the field of dance studies and the profession, alongside news from the international community of scholars in dance and related disciplines. Read more...

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