Flight Of The Earls

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Category: Irish, Set


The Flight of the Earls set is also known as “The Leuven Set” and is considered as the ‘local’ set in Belgium for set dancers in Brussels and Leuven, given the historical links between the Flight of the Earls and their arrival in Leuven, and the founding of the Irish College that still exists in Leuven to this day under the name of ‘The Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe’. 

The set was created by Jim Keenan from Armagh who lived and worked in Belgium and was part of the Irish set dancers in Belgium until going to live in the USA. It was launched in Belgium at a ceili weekend in Leuven in 2006, and it was launched in Ireland, at a festival in Killibegs in 2007, given the link between the Earls leaving from Donegal in 1607 and their arrival in Leuven. Pat Murphy was present at the launch in Killibegs and included the set in his fourth Set dancing book, Apples in Winter. 

“The Flight of the Earls in September 1607 was chronicled by Tadgh O’ Cianain between 1607 and 1609. This set tries to capture, in part, the flight that began in 1607 and continues today.”
Jim Keenan 9 February 2006

The above information was supplied by Ronan Healy, one of the set dancers in the Brussels set dancing group. 



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Figure 1: Battle

Reel, 136 Bars + 8 bar lead-in

Description:

Danced lively and spirited.

The first figure of the set depicts the furor of many battles of the O' Neill and O' Donnells. The story of the flight begins with Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, who brought together the ruling families of Ulster to start a rebellion in 1594. In 1598 at the Yellow Ford - a hundred miles north of Dublin and close to Drumcree, O'Neill, aided by Spain, inflicted the greatest defeat the English ever suffered at the hands of the Irish. Then in 1601 he marched to the southern port of Kinsale to join an invading Spanish army, and the Irish were routed in unfamiliar country.

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1Everyone
Advance And Retire Twice With hands crossed in front (right to right and left to left) all advance and retire twice.
8
2Gents Wheel And Swing In Four While Ladies Chain Gents join right hands in the center (top gent with top gent and side gent with side gent), wheel for six bars, then dance two bars to face the center of the set.(8) The gents then join left and right hands in the center (top gent with top gent and side gent with side gent) swing for six bars then dance (retire) two bars into their home position. (8) The ladies chain around the set, top ladies clockwise (left) side ladies counterclockwise. Chain right to right, to move to the next position, dance two bars in place (4). Then chain left to left and dance two bars in the opposite position (4). Continue the chain until dancing two bars in home position (8).16
3Swing All swing in old ceili hold. (Right hand to right and hold partner’s right elbow in left hand)8
4House Holding crossed hands, top couples and side couple on their left house around each, house for six bars, then dance two bars to form a basket/Christmas8
5Swing In Four Top couples swing in four with the couple to their left. The gents join left and right hands crossed in the center. The ladies grasp the gents arms by bringing their hands under and up inside of the gents arms. The ladies are holding their partner’s right arm with their left hand and the opposite gents left arm with their right hand. (swing for six bars and retire to place in two bars)8
6Pass Through And Return (Square) Top couples and couple to their left pass through with the ladies on the inside, (at the start of this movement, top couples and side couple on their right form a line) after passing through the partners face each other and pass left pass left to left into the opposite position. Then repeat the movement back to home positions.8
7Swing All swing in old ceili hold8
8House Holding crossed hands, side couples and top couple on their left house around each, house for six bars, then dance two bars to form a basket/Christmas8
9Swing In Four Side couples swing in four with the couple to their left (as in 5 above)8
10Pass Through And Return (Square) Side couples and couple to their left pass through with the ladies on the inside, (at the start of this movement, side couples and top couple on their right form a line) after passing through the partners face each other and pass left to left into the opposite position. Then repeat the movement back to home positions.8
11Swing All swing in old ceili hold.8
12Gents Wheel And Swing In Four While Ladies Chain Gents join right hands in the center (top gent with top gent and side gent with side gent), wheel for six bars, then dance two bars to face the center of the set.(8) The gents then join left and right hands in the center (top gent with top gent and side gent with side gent) swing for six bars then dance (retire) two bars into their home position. (8) The ladies chain around the set, top ladies clockwise (left) side ladies counterclockwise. Chain right to right, to move to the next position, dance two bars in place(4).Then chain left to left and dance two bars in opposite position (4), Continue the chain until dancing two bars in home position (8).16
13Swing All swing in old ceili hold8
14Advance And Retire Twice With hands crossed in front (right to right and left to left) all advance and retire twice8
15House Holding crossed hands, all house8

Figure 2: The journey

Reel, 184 Bars + 8 bar lead-in

Description:

The second figure depicts the journey from Donegal to Louvain. James I restored the Earldom of Tyrone to O'Neill and made O'Donnell Earl of Tyrconnell, but without any real power the Earls found it impossible to reconcile themselves to the new order. So, on the 14th September 1607, they gave up the struggle and left Ireland for Spain where they hoped to muster support and make a quick return to liberated Ireland. This departure from the shores of Lough Swilly at Rathmullan became known as the Flight of the Earls. They proceeded by sea intending to go to Spain. They were at sea for thirteen days with continuous stormy weather. The voyage ended not in Spain. but in Croisic in Brittany. From Brittany the journey took them to Leuven/Louvain then part of the Spanish lowlands (Flanders).

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1Everyone
Lead Around And Return With hands crossed in front (right to right and left to left) all lead around to home position. Without releasing hands, pivot (gents remain inside) and dance back to home. Without releasing hands, gents face out of the set and ladies face in to the set during the last two bars.
16
2Swing All swing in waltz hold.8
3Chain And Dance At Home All face partner, take right hand to right, then chain left to left with the next dancer and continue (Ladies clockwise and gents counter-clockwise) until back in home position (12). All dance at home (in waltz hold) (4).16
4Diamond All dance sevens into the position on their right, gents facing out of the set. pivot, so that the gents are now facing into the set. Dance sevens to the next (opposite) position pivot, so that the gents now face out of the set. Repeat these movements until back in home position.8
5House All house in waltz holds.8
6Ladies Right Hand Wheel/Star All the ladies join right hands in the center, wheel/star and dance three fourths of the way around the set to the position to the right of their home position. Gents dance in place.4
7Gents Left Hand Wheel/Star All the gents join left hands in the center, wheel/star to their home position. Ladies dance in place.4
8All Swing All swing in waltz hold.8
9Repeat movement 0: Repeat 4 Through 8 Until Swinging With Own Partner96
10Chain And Dance At Home All face partner, take right hand to right, then chain left to left with the next dancer and continue (Ladies clockwise and gents counter-clockwise) until back in home position (12). All dance at home (4).16

Figure 3: Louvain/leuven

Jig, 136 Bars + 8 bar lead-in

Description: Danced as a down (falling) jig.

The third figure captures the time spent in Louvain/Leuven. On Friday, the ninth of November the earls arrived in Louvain/Leuven. The time spent here was one of celebration.
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1Everyone
Circle Advance And Retire Twice Holding hands in a circle all advance and retire twice
8
2Swing All swing in old ceili hold.8
3Tops Lead Across Holding crossed hands, top couples exchange places while sides dance in place4
4Sides Lead Across Holding crossed hands, side couples exchange places while tops dance in place4
5Repeat 3 And 48
6Tops Advance And Retire Holding crossed hands, top couples advance and retire while sides dance in place4
7Sides Advance And Retire Holding crossed hands, side couples advance and retire while tops dance in place4
8Repeat 6 And 78
9All House Holding crossed hands, all house.8
10Circle Advance And Retire Twice Holding hands in a circle all advance and retire twice8
11Swing All swing in old ceili hold8
12Tops House While Sides Dance At Home Holding crossed hands, top couples house around each other while side couples dance at home.8
13Sides House While Tops Dance At Home Holding crossed hands, side couples house around each other while top couples dance at home.8
14Top Ladies Chain While Sides Dance At Home Top ladies chain, with hands held low, then give left hand to the opposite gent, hands held low, dance around the gent (the gent turns with the lady). Repeat the movements back to place. Holding crossed hands, side couples dance at home8
15Side Ladies Chain While Tops Dance At Home Side ladies chain, with hands held low, then give left hand to the opposite gent, hands held low, dance around the gent (the gent turns with the lady). Repeat the movements back to place. Holding crossed hands, top couples dance at home8
16All House Holding crossed hands, all house around each other8
17Circle Advance And Retire Twice Holding hands in a circle all advance and retire twice8
18Swing All swing in old ceili hold.8
19All House8

Figure 4: The diaspora

Hornpipe, 184 Bars + 8 bar lead-in

Description: Danced in a smooth, easy, flat style.

The fourth figure depicts the journey from Louvain to Italy and is symbolic of the millions of Irish who left Ireland in the centuries to follow, scattered around the world.  On Thursday, the twenty-eighth of February, 1608, the  princes(earls) with their retinue, set out for Italy. They left two of O'Neill's sons, Sean and Brian, the Baron, the Earl of Tyrconnell's son, Aodh, the son of Cathbharr, O'Coinne, Sean O Hagain, and others of their nobles and followers in Louvain. (Most who traveled to Italy died of fever in August of 1608).
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1Everyone
Sevens And Dance At Home All dance sevens into and out of the set in waltz hold (4) Then dance at home for four bars
8
2Sevens And Dance To Position On The Right All dance sevens into and out of the set in waltz hold (4) Then dance at the next position in four bars (4)8
3Repeat 2 Three Times24
4High Gates And Change Partners Top couples hold inside hand. (a)Top gents give left hand to the lady on the left and make an arch. Top lady goes under the arch followed by the gent. (b)The top couples then make an arch for the side lady to pass under followed by the gent. (c) The top gent and side lady again make an arch for the top lady to pass under and dance into the side lady’s home position while the side lady dances clockwise into the top lady’s position.8
5Repeat 2 Through 4 Three Times Except at 4, where the sides, tops and sides alternate dancing the movement.120
6Sevens And Dance At Home All dance sevens into and out of the set in waltz hold (4) Then dance at home for four bars8
7All House All house in waltz hold. Double the last two bars8

Added on 2016-10-28 15:50:27.
Modified on 2017-03-15 19:02:31.
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