Bluegrass Ceili Academy’s award-winning kilt design heading to production

Bluegrass Ceil tartan wins contest

The email header read: “We have a tartan contest winner.” The headline: “Sing it out loud.” But what was inside the email was the news dancers at Lexington’s Bluegrass Ceili Academy had been waiting for.

The school’s “Heart Sings” tartan design was selected the winner from 360 designs in Sport Kilt’s October contest. The design was among the top five most popular entries receiving votes from the public during the month-long contest.

“We’re thrilled to learn that our design, which represents the spirit and history of our community-based dance program, was selected for production by Sport Kilt,” said Megan Moloney, director of Bluegrass Ceili Academy. “Knowing we’ll be able to wear a custom-created, American-made dance costume that represents who we are, what we stand for and the community we call home every time we step on stage is humbling.”

The Heart Sings tartan pattern was designed by Moloney, who drew inspiration for the color palette from her cultural background and dance experience. The dominant royal blue represents Kentucky’s bluegrass (and the Wildcats!); the green is the color of Ireland, the home of generations of her Irish ancestors who were the first to call Kentucky home; the black and white signify dance family roots in County Sligo and the first school colors she wore; and the cerulean blue brings in the color of the heavens and represents Bluegrass Ceili’s motto “Do what makes your heart sing.” The motto is a tribute to Dr. Pearse Lyons, a valued mentor and community leader in Lexington. Read the tartan’s full story here.

“We will be submitting Heart Sings to the Scottish Register of Tartans, where it will enter the official database of designs,” Sport Kilt explained in its email announcing the winner. “We’ll also be producing a select number of Heart Sings tartans to bring this amazing design to life.”

While the plaid tartans are more closely associated with Scotland, kilts have been a part of the Irish dance scene since the early 1900s, worn mostly by men. Dancers from Bluegrass Ceili Academy — our men and women, boys and girls — currently wear Sport Kilt’s Big Blue tartan at local performances and competitions.

Moloney will be working with Sport Kilt on producing the Heart Sings fabric and kilts in the near future. Information on how to order the fabric, kilts and accessories will be shared when it’s available.

Bluegrass Ceili Academy tartan design
An email from Sport Kilt announces the Bluegrass Ceili Academy design “Heart Sings” as the winner of its tartan design contest.

Bluegrass Ceili Academy – Lexington’s community-based Irish dance school

Perspective. Experience. Community. Mission. It’s what matters.

What does that mean?

It’s the way we look at things, the experience we bring to the classroom, it’s building and giving back to our community, and living our mission by providing a supportive learning environment for dancers of all ages and skill levels.

Bluegrass Ceili Academy offers Irish dance classes in Lexington in partnership with Artworks at the Carver School and Lexington Parks and Recreation. Additionally, LexArts has provided funding support for through its Fund for the Arts.