Family Run for 35 Years!

More Than Just a Dance School

Claddagh Dance Company is the premier Irish dancing school in Southern California. Claddagh Dance has added a touch of authentic Irish culture to the lives of Southern California communities since 1985. Students range from four to adult, learning a mix of solo and group dances in the traditional soft and hard shoes.

Claddagh is proud to include over fifty North American Championship Irish dancers in solo and team events, as well as overseas Champions. The dance school is under the direction of Máire O’Connell who moved to Ventura, California from Galway, Ireland in 1978. Ms. O’Connell has been dancing most of her life and is fully accredited to teach and adjudicate by the Irish Dancing Commission of Ireland. She has previously been active in the Irish-American community as a speaker and a judge at a variety of events, as well as a past President of the Irish American Club of Ventura. Máire is a 1995 honoree of the city of Los Angeles for her participation in the Irish Community of Southern California. In Irish dancing, she has previously been President of the Western Region of Teachers and Adjudicators. In 1999, she was invited to judge the All Scotland’s, All Ireland’s (the nations' Irish Dance Championships), and the World Championships in Ennis, Ireland. There are three additional certified teachers who run the various locations.

Gaelic is Máire’s first language and she is a graduate of University College, Galway, where she earned the credentials, B.A., H.D.E., and L.L.B. She is also fluent in Spanish and five other languages, which has been helpful since some of her students are of Spanish descent. Besides Irish and Spanish descendants who are learning Irish dancing, Máire has students of many ethnic backgrounds including Chinese, Filipino, German, Italian, and Polish. Irish dancing truly speaks to all nationalities.


"My kids joined Claddagh three years ago when we received one of the New Student Coupons, which allowed them to try Irish dance for a month for free. They have been dancing (and improving immensely) ever since. The dances and choreographies they learn are incredible, and every year Claddagh students travel abroad to compete in (and win) world championships all over the world.

However, what I like most about this studio is the respect the students have for their teachers and for each other. The older girls make it their responsibility to take care of the beginning dancers, and it's obvious that the little ones, in turn, look up to them."

~ Christina M.

"The Claddagh School of Irish Dance not only taught my daughter irish dance steps, they gave her confidence about herself. As an only child at home, Claddagh gave my daughter an opportunity to dance on teams with other kids her age as well as do solos. They traveled worldwide and became family together. She looked forward to class time during the week and weekends as she was spending time doing what she loved. Irish dance became a passion, a home and a safe place to be. The teachers love what they do and greet the kids as they arrive to class, even asking how was their day at school. I highly recommend the Claddagh School of Irish Dance. Why you’ll even learn a little bit of Irish history while your there!!"

~Julie D.

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