A Ceilidh In Edinburgh

20140421-121616.jpgMy lovely friend and hostess in Edinburgh, Sara, was invited to a ceilidh by one of her friends on Saturday evening. I had never heard of a ceilidh before and neither of us really knew what this might entail, but it seemed like a quintessentially Scottish experience that we couldn’t miss. So not quite knowing what to expect, we picked up some booze (BYOB dance events in churches are such a great idea) and walked into what ended up being one of my Edinburgh trip highlights. 20140421-122039.jpg
We were skeptical at first: what was this intergenerational folk dancing event we had just paid cover to walk into? Sara’s friend told us to just “grab a man and follow him” through the lively jigs. We did as we were told– everyone was so friendly it was easy to join right in.

A trio from Belgium (fiddle, accordion, guitar) played the tunes, along with a Scot on percussion who called out the dances to lead us along. (There was even a “Canadian Barn Dance” –it is probably what we would call square dancing back home?–so I suppose Sara and I were just getting in touch with our roots!)

The dances were pretty easy to pick up, but oh my goodness was it ever a good workout. More than once I happily told Sara that I felt like I was in some (sweaty) modern Scottish version of a Jane Austen ball. We merrily skipped, polkaed and twirled the night away…and I woke up the next morning with bruises on my arm from all the grabbing and spinning around. Who knew Scottish dancing could resemble a contact sport? (I’m kind of proud of my bruises actually, they’re my Scottish souvenirs — shoutout to my dance buddy Chris who was certainly strongest spinner in all of Scotland that night.)

This all just goes to show: dancing is always a good idea. I’ll definitely be leaving my dance card free for a ceilidh or two next time I’m in town– thanks Edinburgh!



  1. Hi Katie, Edinburgh sounds so exotic (!) to me since I have only been to as far as London in my youth, visiting my uncle there. Glad you had fun dancing! As I was learning how to square dance, I can see how you got bruises:) It is fun, isn’t it?:)

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