Photos: Scotland Comes to the Castle for Night of Dinner and Dancing

By Purnell T. Cropper | February 18, 2014


Halfway through the dance, Grey Towers Castle’s Mirror Room filled with song. Fir me an’ my true love will ne’er meet again, the revelers sang, On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond.

Though the song’s lovers may never meet at the famous loch again, Arcadia’s recent Ceilidh transformed the Castle into the next best place to reunite.

On Jan. 24, nearly 100 diners, drinkers, and dancers—students and non-students alike—celebrated the traditional Scottish social gathering. Kilts were optional.

“I wanted to bring Scotland to Arcadia,” said Dr. Karen Scott, director of Forensic Science and a native of Scotland. Scott organized Arcadia’s first Ceilidh with the help of FYSAE students and members of the M.F.A. in Creative Writing program. Together, they fundraised, advertised, and found a local source of Scotland’s unique traditional cuisine for the night’s dinner.

After the haggis, neeps, and tatties (haggis, turnips, and potatoes, that is), the Scots-for-a-night listened to Dr. Elizabeth Murphy’s performance of Robert Burns’ “My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose” before taking to the dance floor. For the next two hours, dancers paired up and followed instructions of a “caller” from the Delaware Valley Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.

A few moments of stumbling on toes soon led to the charming chaos of a host of dancers stepping, waltzing, and clapping to the violins and bagpipes. “We can’t count [time] as well as they do in Scotland,” said Caitlin Way ’15, remembering her FYSAE experience, “but the energy is all there. You can feel it.”

Though tickets sold out, anyone was free to walk in and join the dancing, which lasted until 11 p.m. The turnout was “brilliant,” said Scott, who looks forward to organizing a second Ceilidh next year.

Photos by Kara Wright ’14