IRISH CEILIDH 31 DECEMBER 2017 reported by James Staniland

Big thanks go to Hannah Barker and her team for organising such a memorable night on New Year’s Eve 2017.
The Irish Ceilidh was a little different from 2015’s event in that it was staged in Eynsford Village Hall as a fund-raising event for the hall renewal.
Just over 100 people attended. The hall was adorned with drapes, bunting and tablecloths giving a warm welcome to the arrivals at 8 pm on Sunday 31st December. This time it was decided to amplify our home grown band of musicians in order that a larger crowd of dancers would be able to hear from all over the hall.  
Tickets included an excellent main course of Irish Stew which had taken 36 hours to prepare, and wonderful puddings made over a period of several weeks. A hard core few had tirelessly made this food and, in many cases, had generously given the ingredients free of charge, or hugely discounted. 
Michael Barker made us all laugh as MC for the evening and, after a warm welcome, he introduced a set of songs whilst people went to the bar and warmed up. Words to classics such as “Whiskey In The Jar” and “Fields Of Athenry” were projected onto the screen whilst the audience sang, led by the band and their troupe of singers.
After a delicious plate of stew with dumplings had been served to each table, whiskey tea bread, chocolate fudge cake and Bakewell tarts could be collected from the Darenth Room.
Then Eynsford’s very own Irish Dance teacher, Kathleen Knight along with pupil Erica Marshall, took to the floor to give a demonstration of tap dancing to reels and jigs. 
Kathleen then took to the stage as caller, organised everyone into groups and explained all the moves. This was well responded-to and the floor was almost overloaded with people wanting to have a go! 
All music was provided by the band playing tin whistle, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, accordion, bass guitar and bodhran. 
Songs, reels and gigs continued into the night interspersed with jokes by our MC. Suddenly the midnight hour arrived and glasses were charged with sparkling wine (included within the £20 ticket).
At the end of the count-down everyone took to the floor, crossed arms and belted out a raucous “Auld Lang Syne”.
It was time to go home but the good cheer held up as revellers remained and helped to clear the hall.
Altogether the surplus from the tickets and bar was £1,930 which is all being donated to the new village hall being planned for the Harrow Meadow site. It was therefore a truly worthwhile fundraiser. 
If you would like to join the Irish Dance classes at Eynsford Village Hall please contact Kathleen on 01322 864276, mobile 07981 021276, or email her on
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