Exploring Our World Oklahoma Style: Ireland and Scotland

Want to travel the world? What are you waiting for? Oklahoma is full of interesting and entertaining cultural experiences meaning you can explore the world around you without ever leaving the city.

For instance, Ireland and Scotland are hidden in nooks and crannies wherever you look in this great state of ours. Here are just a few places you might look to learn about Celtic culture and heritage.


Irish and Scottish Dancing Performances and Lessons

Champion Irish Dancers

Champion Scottish Highland Dancers

Dancing is a very big part of Celtic heritage. Both the Irish and the Scottish have very distinctive dance forms which are performed throughout Oklahoma on a regular basis. ScotsFest, held in Tulsa in September of each year, is a wonderful place to catch some amazing performances of both Irish and Scottish Highland dancing. For something closer to the OKC area, check out the Iron Thistle Celtic Heritage Festival in Yukon in April. Other performances can be seen throughout the year at various events and festivals.

If you are interested in taking lessons to learn either of these athletic, traditional dance forms there are some great dance teachers right here in the Oklahoma City area. For Highland dance lessons check out Ladymon School of Scottish Dance. If you’d rather try out Irish dancing, you might enjoy lessons at Oklahoma Academy of Irish Dance.


Celtic Music Performances, Lessons, and Jam Sessions

For some awesome local Celtic music, you can visit either of the festivals mentioned above. There are a large number of Celtic musicians and bands in the OKC area, and many of them perform on a regular basis. One of my personal favorites is the band called Ravens Three. This group plays at local festivals and events quite often, and sometimes does library tours. Their last tour incorporated Scottish and Irish dancers and was very enjoyable.

If you would like to join in the musical fun, check out Oklahoma City Traditional Music Association. This local non-profit offers regular workshops and jam sessions, and while all the music they play is not nessecarily of Celtic origin, much of it is.

More formal lessons in nearly any Celtic instrument can be found all across the metro. Here at The Loop, our very own Sean Stoneman offers instruction in various percussion instruments which could be applied to Irish and Scottish music performances. Additionally, Mr. Gus Weaver gives lessons on playing the violin, a perfect stepping stone to learning to fiddle like the Irish do.


Local Pubs

For some traditional Irish grub you can stop by one of the fun loving Irish pubs in and around Oklahoma City. These local eateries offer up some great food, good beer (for the grown ups), and a whole lot of Irish fun. If you are lucky you may even see some local musicians or dancers during your time there! Be sure to bring your dancing shoes and your singing voice so you can join in the fun should the opportunity be presented.

Saint’s Pub

Black Raven Pub

James E Mcnellie’s Pub


Recommended Reading and More

Singing in Irish Gaelic by Mary MacLaughlin- Learn to sing in traditional Irish Gaelic

The Secret of Kells – A gorgeous animated family film featuring artwork from the real-life Secret of Kells and following the adventures of a young Irish boy.

Song of The Sea – A beautifully animated movie about a young selkie girl with enchanting music and characters by the creators of The Secret of Kells.

The Secret of Roan Inish – A live action movie about a young girl named Fiona and her encounters with selkies on a small island.

War of the Buttons – Another live action movie, War of the Buttons follows two rival groups of young boys from different towns in Ireland as they fight out their differences and grow as people.

Irish Legends for Children by Yvonne Carroll – The old Irish stories in this book are sure to draw in young readers with their colorful illustrations and intriguing mythical characters.

The Leprechaun’s Gold by Pamela Duncan Edwards – Learn about the mischievous ways of the leprechaun as you read this silly Irish folk tale.

Fin M’coul: The Giant of Knockmany Hill by Tomy DePaola – The traditional Irish story of Fin M’coul is retold alongside lovely illustrations in this book.

An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairytales by Theresa Breslin – Filled to the brim with engaging Scottish stories and wonderful pictures, this book could easily become a new bedtime favorites.

Katie in Scotland by James Mayhew – Follow young Katie on her adventures through Scotland and see all the sights right along with her in this fun book in the ‘Katie’ series.

Nessie the Lochness Monster by Richard Brassey – Learn the story behin the Lochness monster in this colorful and fun book for kids.

The Water Horse – A new story about the legendary Loch Neww monster of Scotland, this family film is sure to engage people of all ages.

Brave – One of the best known Celtic movies for children, Brave is a breathtaking computer animated feature that follows Scottish princess Merida as she fights for her rights, discovers magic, and learns important life lessons.