Everything you needed to know about Ceilidhs

It’s a well-known fact that we love a good ceilidh… so much so we host them every week!

We welcome hundreds of guests through our doors every month for a whirling, fun-filled evening of jigs, reels and live entertainment.

But what exactly is a ceilidh? What do you do if you’re a complete ceilidh novice and can’t tell the different between a Strip the Willow and a Gay Gordons?

Have a read of our handy guide below!

So, what exactly is a ceilidh?

Modern ceilidhs (pronounced kay’lee in case you were wondering…) tend to be most popular at special events such as weddings, parties, fundraisers or large dinners. It’s a great way to celebrate with friends, colleagues or loved ones and make for great memories and stories for the future. Ceilidh bands tend to be made up of three to six players, playing instruments such as fiddles, flutes, accordions, drums and even electric guitars, and the songs are cheery and lively to get everyone up in the mood to dance!

What’s the history of ceilidhs in Scotland?

Traditionally, a ceilidh was just another term for a social gathering held in a hall or larger community space, and did not have to involve dancing of any sort. These gatherings would allow participants to tell stories, sing songs and participate in group dances.

Whilst the traditional meaning for ceilidh has been taken over by people just equating it with dancing, it always has a great community spirit and it’s a lovely way to celebrate traditional Scottish culture. Ceilidh dancing is often taught in primary schools in Scotland so we know the steps from an early age!

What happens if I don’t know the moves?

Not to worry! Our ceilidh band comes with an experienced caller that will talk you through the moves prior to each dance beginning, so there’s no need to panic if you’re not sure what you’re doing. We see a mix of novices and experts each week, so there will also be plenty of other people that will be happy to help you nail those moves.

Do you need to come as part of a group to ceilidh dance?

A great benefit of ceilidhs is that they are social dances, often performed in groups of four or eight (or more!) so you don’t need to come as part of a group or bring a partner to our ceilidhs. Single travellers or guests are more than welcome to join in.

What do I wear to a ceilidh?

Flat shoes are always recommended! Ceilidh dancing is pretty active, so you want to make sure you’re wearing something on your feet you are happy to burl around in. There’s no set dress code, but wearing a kilt is always appropriate and encouraged!

Where’s the best place in Edinburgh to Ceilidh dance?

Ghillie Dhu of course! Every weekend we host the burly ceilidh club, where for £35 per person you’ll be treated to a welcome drink, a hearty three course Scottish dinner, ceilidh band and DJ.

Alternatively you can sign up online to join our guest list for the ceilidh only for just £7 per person.