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The Moriarty Schools of Dance Mallow School of Dance 1936

Joan Denise Moriarty founded a school of dance in Mallow in 1934, soon after her family had returned to Ireland from Liverpool. From 1938 she began giving weekly dance classes in Cork. She moved to Cork in November 1940, opening the Moriarty School of Dance in Patrick Street, where she taught ballet, ballroom dancing, Irish step-dancing, tap-dancing and gave keep-fit classes. Her pupils performed in annual displays, took part in shows in the Opera House, and from 1947 in the Cork Ballet Company. Throughout the 1940s it was a struggle to make ends meet. From then on she was able to establish schools outside Cork city: in Bandon, Clonmel, Fermoy, Killarney, Limerick, Mallow, Tralee, Youghal, Waterford employing teachers who had trained with her and taken their Royal Academy of Dance examinations. Among them were Julia Cotter, Lavinia Anderson, Breda Quinn, Sinéad Murphy. After Moriarty’s death in 1992, her schools were taken over by Breda Quinn.


Accounts by former dance pupils from: Joan Denise Moriarty: Founder of Irish National Ballet – Material for a History of Dance in Ireland by Ruth Fleischmann (Ed.)   (Cork, 1998)

Angela Bolster, The Mallow School of Dance(8KB)

Ethel Beare, The Early Years in Cork(11KB)

Ann Quain, Ballet School in Cork in the 1940s(13KB)

Breda Quinn, Teaching for Miss Moriarty(10KB)