Napoleon and Irish set dancing

Standard
British Grenadier and Light Infantryman, 1812

British Grenadier and Light Infantryman, 1812

Lanny Fields over at Six Water Grog has an interesting observation gleaned from a video regarding Irish set dances and the Napoleonic Wars:

Quadrilles, or dances in square formation of four couples facing each other, evolved in France and became popular in Britain, Ireland and America in the 19th century. It was first danced publicly in Dublin in 1816. It is possible that quadrilles were brought back to Ireland by soldiers returning from the Napoleonic wars. The Irish dancing masters increased the speed to that of Irish dances of the time and modified the dance with native Irish dance steps.

It’s interesting to note that some Irish folk songs like Arthur McBride make fun of the English recruiting sergeants who had no qualms about sending the Irish off to the war as cannon fodder for the British crown.

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