Danielle (14) crowned the World Irish Dance Champion in Killarney

By Aideen O'Flaherty 

A TEENAGER from Avonbeg in Tallaght was crowned a world champion at the An Comhdhail World Irish Dance Championships in Killarney earlier this month.

Danielle Walsh (14), who is a pupil in Coláiste de híde, beat off stiff competition from over 100 other competitors in the Girls Under 15 Championship category of the competition, where she was awarded first place after impressing the judges.

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Jodie Binns and Sarah McDowell with Danielle Walsh

Danielle is a dedicated dancer, who trains in the Sherry Murphy Academy in Donaghmede three times a week, and she also does two days of strength, condition and flexibility training a week, and she said that being crowned a champion and seeing all of her hard work pay off was “the best day of my life”.

She said: “I have worked so hard to get where I am today, and by being the World Champion it has been all worth it.”

The talented dancer first donned her dancing shoes at the age of four, where she tried out a number of different styles of dance, and at eight-years-old she began Irish dancing and realised that was where her passion lay.

“Danielle has such a love for dance that she dedicates most of her time to it without hesitation,” said Danielle’s mother, Audrey O’Reilly. “She is so hard working and committed to achieving her goals, and her main one was to be a World Champion at some point in her dancing career.  

“There is so much involved in the preparation for this competition that people don’t realise – hours and hours of hard training all year round, healthy eating, injuries, less time spent with friends and mentally preparing yourself. The list goes on.”

Alongside her passion for dancing, Danielle is also a keen sports fan and plays GAA for Thomas Davis GAA Club in Kiltipper and her school, and she has a brown belt in kickboxing.  

Commenting on her daughter’s future aspirations, Audrey said: “Danielle would love to travel with a dance troupe doing shows when she is older, and have her own Irish dancing school. 

“She is now the Irish Dancing World Champion and has her Globe forever, and will cherish this achievement for many, many years to come. Dreams do come true when you put in the hard work.”

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