Located in a heritage building in Shandon, Cork’s north city centre, DANCE CORK FIRKIN CRANE specialises in supporting dance artists, presenting dance performances and encouraging people in Cork to engage with dance of all kinds.
For dance to be one of the most vital and engaging artforms in Cork and Munster
Photo credit: Natasha Bourke, 2020
To promote and advance dance as a creative artform. We do this in three ways:
- Supporting the development of dance;
- Sustaining the holistic development of the dance artist;
- Bringing dance to diverse communities through learning, audience development and participation.
Photo credit: Catherine Young, State of Exception, 2020
We provide an inclusive and welcoming space for dance work to be developed and viewed through a year-round programme of residencies, workshops, studio rentals, community programmes, dance performances and special events.
Our programme is mission driven, aiming to identify, nurture, and support local and regional artists while simultaneously introducing artists and audiences to national and international choreographers. We support an annual dance artist in residence and are developing other national dance advocacy projects in partnership with Dance Ireland, Dance Limerick, Galway Dance Project and Tipperary Dance.
Artist residencies supporting the research, development, and production of new work are a central aspect of DCFC’s programme. In addition, a series of professional presentations, with a lens towards audience engagement, take place throughout the year. Professional and community classes for adults and youth are also offered.
Our facilities include two theatre / exhibition spaces and four professional dance studios in the Firkin Crane building as well as specially dedicated artists’ accommodation in the Jack Lynch House.
You can find out more about our spaces, including rental/usage information, in our Rent section
Photo credit: Instant Dissidence, Firkin Crane Ceist Residency 2021, Photo by Instant Dissidence
Cork’s northside is defined by hills rising up from the river. A warren of tiny streets, many still cobbled, surround some magnificent buildings, leading visitors to wonderful views as they explore the Shandon area. Dominating the streetscape is St Anne’s Church, whose lime and sandstone clocktower can be seen from all over the city. It is known as the “Four Faced Liar”, as each of its faces may tell a different time. It is possible to climb the tower to ring the famous Shandon Bells.
At the foot of the bells is the Firkin Crane, next to the intriguing Butter Museum and the site of the original Butter Market, from which butter was sent all over the world. The Firkin Crane building was opened in 1855. “Firkin” is a Danish word meaning quarter barrel, which equalled 9 gallons or 80 lbs of butter. The tarred firkins, or casks, were weighed on a balance know as a “Crane”, hence the building’s unusual name.
After the Butter Market closed in 1924, the building was deserted for many decades. It was put up for sale in 1979, and Joan Denise Moriarty, then Director of Irish National Ballet, successfully applied to the Arts Council to have the building bought and refurbished as a home for the Cork-based professional dance company. However, while work was being carried out, the building was completely destroyed by fire in July 1980.
Under the chairmanship of former Taoiseach Jack Lynch, a trust fund was established to secure financing for the rebuilding work, which was also supported by Cork City Council, the Irish Government, EU, Irish American Fund and private business. On 26 April 1992, this unique building was opened by then Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, preserving a building of architectural interest in one of the most historic areas of Cork city.
In 1996, the organisation negotiated for a former family home of Jack Lynch to be converted to use as subsidised artist accommodation. Opened in 2005, the Artists’ House is still managed by Firkin Crane and available to all artists visiting the city.
Also in 2005, the organisation changed its name to the Institute for Choreography and Dance (ICD). The organisation began to offer residencies of many kinds, professional dance classes and workshops, and began commissioning, co-producing and presenting new dance works. The organisation engaged with local artists and the immediate neighbourhood through projects with residents, community groups and local schools, and founded a dance library and archive to document important dance work.
Now renamed again as Dance Cork Firkin Crane, and proud of our history as Ireland’s first dance house and a founding member of the European DanceHouse Network in 2004, we remain an organisation and a centre dedicated to dance and to serving Cork and Ireland’s growing dance community.