About An Cumann

Céad míle fáilte romhat.

An Cumann is a non-profit association, incorporated under the laws of Nova Scotia since 1990. The main goal of the association is to foster throughout Nova Scotia knowledge and enjoyment of Irish and Irish-Nova Scotian culture and history.

An Cumann holds Irish Heritage Evenings in the fall, winter and spring and occasional workshops and special events throughout the year. Most regular activities take place in the Halifax metro area, but some special events occur elsewhere in the province.

At our events you can experience or learn about Irish music, the Irish language (Gaeilge), Irish literature and theatre, Irish history and current events, folklore, dance, sports and genealogy, among other things.

And there’s lots of great craic (fun)!

An Cumann’s Constitution

An Cumann’s constitution consists of its Memorandum of Association and By-Laws. An Cumann was incorporated under the Societies Act of Nova Scotia on October 1, 1990. The By-Laws were amended at the 1998 Annual General Meeting.

Annual General Meeting

The By-Laws require that the AGM be held within three months following October 31st each year, the fiscal year end.

Board of Directors

An Cumann’s membership elected officers and directors at large for 2011 are:


President – David Moriarity
Past President – Troy M. Doyle
Secretary – Pat Curran
Treasurer – Mary Rose Poirier


Paul Brennan, Kelly Curran, Elizabeth MacDonald, Ron MacEachern, Tony O’Carroll, Bridget Brownlow, Dean Gibbons, Carly Ellen MacDonald and Erin McIntosh.

Contact Information

P.O. Box 27153
Halifax, Nova Scotia
E-mail An Cumann

Irish Set Dancing

It wasn’t long after An Cumann began to hold céilís in 1991 that set dances entered the repertoire. The first set dance teachers in the area were Christopher and Jane Shipley, summer visitors to Nova Scotia from Baltimore, Maryland.

Following that introduction, An Cumann started adult Irish dance classes at the Chocolate Lake Communty Centre, where Kelly Curran taught a mixture of céilí dances and set dances.

In the fall of 1992, Kelly left for studies in Ireland and Elizabeth MacDonald became the teacher. Elizabeth was a veteran of the Toronto set dancing scene, with a background in Highland dancing and Scottish country dancing as well. Under her direction, set dancing gained a firm hold in the Halifax area. An Cumann hosted a number of dance workshop weekends with acclaimed teachers Elizabeth brought in from Toronto and Ireland.

Nova Scotia set dancing soon grew to the point that it needed its own organization, while still maintaining close ties with An Cumann and its céilís. Scaip na Cleití Dancers have thrived ever since.

For further information on classes and other set dancing activities, please visit the Scaip na Cleití’s website.

Irish Language

From the beginning, An Cumann has acknowledged the important role of the Irish language (Gaeilge) in Irish culture. For over 15 years, Vera Dutin, a native of Cork, has taught Irish classes during Irish Heritage Evenings and on many other Thursdays.

For almost the same length of time an Irish language reading and discussion group has been meeting on Tuesday evenings. Along the way, An Cumann has held a weekend language immersion workshop and has regularly included use of the Irish language in the newsletter, Scéala.

Anyone interested in joining either the Tuesday or Thursday language groups should e-mail us.

Traditional Irish Music

In every survey of our members’ interests, Irish music tops the list. An Cumann’s main contribution to this aspect of culture has been to provide countless opportunities for local and regional traditional Irish musicians to perform. An Cumann’s Céilí Band has played at all 19 of our St. Patrick’s Day Céilís, as well as at dozens of céilís held at other times of the year. We’ve had amazing evenings with Ronnie MacEachern’s “Off With Their Heads” and more recently with the all-women group, St. Brigid’s Céilí Band. Most of the shows at An Cumann’s winter concert series at The Music Room in Halifax have featured traditional music.

An Cumann also hosted traditional performances by Irish concertina master Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin and by renowned 4-string guitar vocalist Seán Tyrell. From the song tradition, we’ve had great shows by local group Dicey Reilly and by Irish ex-pat Jimmy Sweeney and a memorable, almost legendary, concert by  the late Tommy Makem, together with Kevin Evans and Brian Doherty, amidst fierce heat and fiercer mosquitos in Herring Cove.

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