The Passing of a Legendary Dance Master originally from Moyvane

Jerry Mulvihill - Dance MasterFrom: THE MULVIHILL VOICE Volume 3, Number 6 Summer 2013 Issue number 30

The Mulvihill Clan is deeply saddened to announce the death of Jerry Mulvihill, the legendary Irish Dancing teacher on August 9, 2013 at the age of 92 in Nesconset, New York. He was born in 1921 on “The Mountain” at Glennalappa, Moyvane, Co. Kerry to Mary and Patrick Mulvihill. He was one of nine children; Mary, Bridget, Lena, Lizzie, Hannah, Michael, Willie, Patrick and Martin were his siblings. The renowned fiddler, Martin Mulvihill, was his first cousin. Jerry began dancing at age 5. He and his sister Hannah took Irish Dancing lessons from the well-known local instructor Joe Enright. He later took lessons from the famous Kerry dancer, Jerry Molyneaux.  At 17, Jerry won the Irish National Championship. He continued to win many competitions in Ireland over the next decade.

In 1948, Jerry immigrated to the United States and settled in the Bronx in New York. He soon began teaching and was able to easily attract students thanks to his tremendous passion and skill. He taught children and adults alike. In 1951, his dream of opening a school was realized in the new Mulvihill School of Irish Dancing. He taught not only in the Bronx, but in Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties. Irish Dancing in New York quickly became associated with the Mulvihill name and that truly has never changed. Jerry married Anne Gilmore in 1954. Anne had two children but was widowed. Together with Jerry, a new family was born. Jerry continued teaching. His relatives all learned to dance from the master.

He travelled to Dublin in 1969 and received his TCRG certification in Irish Dance instruction which allowed his students to compete across the U.S. and Ireland. Many of his students soon became award-winning Irish Dance instructors themselves. In 1996, along with his former student Debbie Lynch, Jerry opened The Mulvihill-Lynch School of Irish Dancing. The school continues today as a legacy of the young man from Moyvane with fire in his feet and a dream in his heart.

Jerry is survived by his sister Lizzie, age 97, of Glin, Co. Limerick, granddaughters Debbie Walshe of Pompano Beach, Florida and Theresa Johnson of Kings Park, New York, great-grandchildren Erin, Billy, Timmy and Brendan and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews in the United States and Ireland. Jerry’s ashes will be brought to Ireland. Thanks very much to great-granddaughter Erin Walshe and her mother Debbie Walshe for providing Jerry’s biographical details and the photo. Their family will always remember him as “Popa” and they miss him tremendously already. The entire Mulvihill Clan sends our condolences to the family. We know clearly that Irish Dancing in the States would not be at all what it is today were it not for Jerry Mulvihill and the enthusiasm and talent that he brought to our shores.


  1. MichaelO"Sullivan says

    Merry Christmas , everyone…

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