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1,693 people kicked up their heels in Dublin today to set a new Guinness World Record for the longest Riverdance Line of Dancers

July 23, 2013 DESTINATION No Comments Email Email

We've done it!Ireland broke the Guinness World Record yesterday when 1,693 people from 44 countries gathered on the banks of the River Liffey to perform the Riverdance–The Gathering Longest Line.

The event was watched by an audience of thousands, who lined the quays from Dublin’s Samuel Beckett Bridge to the Sean O’Casey Bridge, cheering on the participants as they danced into the record books. The previous record of 652 people dancing in a continuous line was held by Nashville, Tennessee.

The participants, who gathered from as far away as Mexico, Uzbekistan and Australia to take part in this once in a lifetime event, were led in their performance by Jean Butler and 100 members of the Riverdance troupe. Following a starting signal provided by the LE Niamh, the Irish Navy ship, the banks of the Liffey came alive to the iconic sounds of Bill Whelan’s Riverdance, and the 1,693 dancers began the very special Riverdance–The Gathering performance, and in doing so set a new Guinness World Record.

Riverdance The Gathering World Record Dublin-6The participants were led by acclaimed dancer, Jean Butler. A New Yorker with Irish roots, Jean took the world by storm 19 years ago at the first Riverdance performance in the 1994 Eurovision Finals. Jean said “I am delighted to have had the opportunity to celebrate The Gathering through Irish dance with thousands of people over the course of this weekend. Riverdance has played a big role in my life but it has also played a big part in bringing the joy of Irish dance and music to many people throughout the world. It’s an honour to be among so many of those people here in Dublin to celebrate this Gathering.”

Making it a family affair, Jean’s sister Cara Butler joined her in the record breaking attempt. Also a professional dancer, based in Toronto, Cara is ‘home’ for two special Gathering performances with the Chieftains and the sisters arranged their own special gathering with friends and family in Dublin to coincide with Riverdance – The Gathering this weekend.

Riverdance The Gathering World Record Dublin-1Members of approximately 163 overseas Irish dance schools from 31 countries were some of those who travelled to take part in the Longest Line event, a testament to the influence of Riverdance across the globe. To date over 23 million people in over 350 cities have seen Riverdance perform live.

But it was not only accomplished dancers participating in the longest Riverdance line, the event was open to anyone. However all participants had to master the basic Riverdance steps & received online tutorials in advance to prepare them for the occasion.

The Longest Line record breaking attempt was part of ‘Riverdance – The Gathering’, a one-off  Gathering event in a year that will see over 4000 events, big and small, take place throughout Ireland as part of the Gathering Ireland 2013. It is a celebration of all things Irish – its people, its unique culture, heritage and rich history! It is about the people of Ireland throwing open their arms and inviting anyone who feels a connection to Ireland to come and visit in 2013.


J0252451454Since Riverdance began performances in Dublin 1995, the show has…

  • Played 10,000 performances
  • Been seen live by over 23 million people in over 350 venues world-wide, throughout 45 countries across 6 continents
  • Travelled 600,000 miles (or to the moon and back!)
  • Played to a global television audience of 2 billion people
  • Sold over 3 million copies of the Grammy Award-winning CD
  • Sold 10 million Riverdance videos & DVDs
  • Performed recently to America’s first family: Michelle, Sasha and Malia Obama at the Gaiety Theatre. First Lady, Michelle Obama was first on her feet leading the standing ovation at the end of the show.

And there have been…

  • 1,500 Irish Dancers
  • 14,000 Dance shoes used
  • 12,000 Costumes worn
  • 200,000 Gallons of water consumed
  • 60,000 Gallons of Gatorade consumed
  • 1,650,000 Show programmes sold
  • 60 Marriages between company members including the gorgeous Niamh O’Connor and Padraic Moyles who took part in the new world record
  • 20,000 Cumulative years of study in step-dancing by Irish Dancers
  • 45,000 Rolls of self-grip tape used by company physiotherapists
  • 15,000 Hours of rehearsals on tour
  • 5,500,000 Pounds of dry ice used on stage
  • 60,000 Pounds of chocolate consumed (for energy!) by the cast

Riverdance Director John McColgan said, “We’ve done it! Congratulations to all who participated today. The talent that was on display is truly remarkable and is more proof if we needed it of the enormous affection that exists for Irish dance and Riverdance in Ireland and throughout the world. Millions of people have seen Riverdance live but today a special 1,693 can say they were part of it in this Gathering year.”

 Images by Jason Clarke Photography & Naoise Culhane Photography

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