Irish dancing crew go viral on TikTok following cancellation of Leaving Cert 4 weeks ago

Irish dancing crew go viral on TikTok following cancellation of Leaving Cert

17 million views in the past 24 hours and climbing.

Cairde Dance Company is a group of friends led by Galway man Ronan O'Connell, the youngest in the group.

"We all kind of knew each other because we danced against each over the years in competition," he told JOE.

"In 2017 at the Fleadh in Ennis we decided to come together."

The cancellation of the Leaving Cert gave the lads unexpected time to build up their TikTok following.

"I was supposed to do the Leaving Cert this summer. Dara and I are waiting for the predicted grades so we've got a bit more time on our hands.

"We set ourselves a target, we'd be really happy with a thousand (TikTok) followers by the end of July. But we got a bit lazy and didn't make it. Then on 1 August six of us went on a staycation to Enniscrone.

"We did a video with a skateboard to Taylor Swift, Romeo & Juliet and it got 5 million views, when we were only getting hundreds of views up to that point. We smashed our target then, adding 50,000 followers in 24 hours, but a day late. That was pretty funny."

Since then, their popularity on TikTok has soared, and Ronan admitted they were struggling to keep up with the level of interest.

"We had over 300,000 followers when I went to bed last night, I've no idea what we're on at the moment!"

The video that has gone viral this weekend features four members of the group - Ronan along with fellow Galway man, Francis Fallon, with Brian Culligan and Stephen McGuinness from Clare - which can swell to as many as twelve when geography and time allow.

"The two Clare lads, Brian and Stephen, came up to Barna Woods in Galway to film the video, it was all very impromptu," Ronan says.

"I had a few tunes in mind so we weren't prepping on the spot.

"I saw this tune on TikTok, a girl doing face reactions to Banjo Beats.

"We were dancing away in the woods for thirty minutes trying to put it together and getting a few odds looks!"

Watch the video that has gotten more than 17 million views on TikTok below on Facebook...

And what has the reaction to the video been like?

"There's been a lot of positive comments, thousands of them. Strangely, though, a lot of people don't know that it's Irish dancing and they think we're doing tap.

"I saw one comment, 'The upper half of their body said: ? (sleep face emoji).' Haha."

And the lads have big plans for the future...

"We want to be the biggest Irish dance page on TikTok," Ronan says.

"We're second after last night. Mary Papa George is probably the biggest, she's had Olly Murs duetting her and a few other massive stars.

"And we're hoping to get some more gigs off the back of it, so check us out on Facebook or TikTok!"