Kildare dancers triumph at World Championships in the Netherlands

Super results for Rachel Doyle, Martine Foley and Theresa Aldridge

Niamh O'Donoghue


Niamh O'Donoghue


Kildare dancers triumph at World Championships in the Netherlands

Rachel Doyle with her mum Mary

Dancers from Rathangan and Athy have made a huge impact at the WIDA World Irish Dance Championships in The Netherlands with Rachel Doyle, Martina Foley and Theresa Aldridge in excellent form. 

The Emerald Lakes Academy of Irish Dance of Rathangan and Rochfortbridge, under the leadership of dance teacher Kevin Lyster with a 25 strong dance contingent with the assistance of Philip Hynes, climbed to the top of the Worlds Awards and Medals table in 2018 at the Mecc Arena in Maastricht.

The Rochfortbridge School have yet again made huge inroads into championship solo and team dancing at the Worlds 2018 which seen the Academy walk away with a number of impressive World Titles.

This year saw 2,500 dancers attending the event from 34 countries across the world including, Russia, China, Australia, Germany, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Canada, Nehterlands and Spain to name a few.

At the World Championships 'The Open Championship' is the cream of the crop where all dancers must pre-qualify to dance at the World Championships through a number of national qualification events to ensure they can partake in the most prestigious event in the World of Irish Dance.

The Emerald Lakes for the first time in its history ended up with two World Champion Irish Dancers, Zofia Bielicka in U/12 and Ava Loran in U/14.

This is an outstanding achievement and their dance teacher and Rathangan native Kevin Lyster described the results as 'a proud moment' and 'emotional'.

Rathangan’s Rachel Doyle, also a talented dancer, danced a personal world best to receive a recall and claim the 4th position in the the Open Championship. This is Rachel’s first World Championship and she excelled on the world stage.

Athy was also celebrating as Martina Foley also took a number of titles in the senior category and 2nd place in the Premiership with Theresa Aldridge also taking 3rd place after fantastic performances on the dance floor. 

The Emerald Lakes Academy has a huge volunteering arm to its Academy where all its team and Irish Dance Drama classes are provided for free with its aim to promote Irish Culture and theatrical Irish Dance Drama.

This saw the dancers dance and acting skills come together and to fruition at the Gala Night in Maastricht where the Rochfortbridge team brought audiences to their feet in response to their Irish Dance Show and Drama which ended up in 2nd Place at the World Championships.

On reflection, Kevin Lyster said the time and effort put into his dancers with the assistance of Philip Hynes did not come down to him alone, but he put it down to “the strong family unit and solidarity with-in the academy of his dancers, parents and Laker Family members.”

He extended his special thanks to Philip Hynes, Marilyn Loran, Aine Doyle, Agnes Bielicka, Ray McDonnell and Niamh Gallagher. 

“2018 is a year to remember and a year that will go down in history for the academy,” he said.

Theresa Aldridge, Martina Foley and Nikki Doyle

If you know of other Kildare dancers or dance schools which also excelled at the World Championships please email us at or facebook us at Leinster Leader