Irish Folk Costume

The revival of Irish dancing caused viewing of the Irish national dress as a colorful and flashy. However in ancient Ireland people traditionally wore leine (Irish for shirt), trews (Irish for trousers) and long brats (Irish for cloaks) fastened with a brooch. These pieces of clothes (leine and brat) were the basic elements of ancient Irish dress for people in the upper classes. These lasted from the earliest recorded times down to the 16th century.
Irish national dresses worn by people back in the eighth century have had great influence on the dresses that Irish dancers wear today. If anyone wants to get an idea of how Irish peasants looked like in the eighth century, one should just have a look at the dresses worn today by Irish dances. The dresses used in their shows are updated replicas of traditional dresses decorated with elaborate Celtic designs from the Book of Kells and emphasized with a Tara Brooch which is pinned to the shawl. The traditional colorful costume of Irish peasants stayed actual up to the beginning of the 20 th century.
The Gaelic League was created in 1893. The aim of this organization was to promote Irish nationalism. To reach this aim the League organized Irish dance classes and competitions called Feisanna, which is “Festival” in Irish. The purpose of these classes and competitions was to make sure that people were dancing the national dance. The organizers believed that if people danced national Irish dances they would not go in for any other dances that weren’t Irish, English dances specifically.