Mary was born in Rathkenny, Co Meath and started dancing at the age of four at the Farrelly School with Mollie Nic Conuladh. She competed at Leinsters, All Irelands and Worlds in solos and was part of the Senior Ladies Ceili who won the World Championship titles in the late 80s in Leisureland, Galway.
In 1992, having studied German at college, Mary decided to travel to Munich, Germany and further her language studies. Dancing was never far from Mary’s heart and it wasn’t long before she was performing at festivals, trade fairs and touring with many different Irish bands throughout Europe.
In 1993 she opened her own dance school in Germany and eventually became one of the first in Mainland Europe to pass her TCRG and ADCRG. Mary is one of the founding members of the Mainland European teachers association, RCCEA, and has served different officerships ranging from Feis registrar, Regional Rep, President and currently Vice President. She is the European Teachers rep to CLRG and currently works on the Overseas Development Committee which she previously chaired for 4 years. During her time on the committee she has been instrumental in introducing the Aisling Award to the World Championships.
Her school, Sweeney-McAvinchey Germany have so far produced multiple European Champions as well as the first All Ireland and World medal winners from Mainland Europe. Senior dancers from the school have gone on to become professional dancers with international Irish dance shows and recently four former students were the first from the school to successfully pass their TCRG exams.
Mary qualified as an ADCRG in 2009 and has judged at Oireactasi all over the USA, Great Britain’s, Irish Nationals , North American Nationals and All Scotlands. Mary has judged in cities from as far away as Vladivostock to Buenos Aires.
Shane began dancing at the age of six and under the instruction of Anne Callanan he had much competitive success, most notably ranking 4th in the world. At the young age of 16 he started his professional dance career with Riverdance. During his years with the show he traveled across North & South America, Europe, Asia and Australia performing on stages and television stations across the globe. Since leaving Riverdance Shane has gone on to have principle roles in many productions such as 'The High Kings', 'Dancing Thru the Ages' and 'Ragus' and is the featured dancer with the 'Niamh Ní Charra Band'. In 2009 he had the honor of the invitation to accompany Irish President Mary MacAleese on a state visit to Luxembourg where he performed for royalty and dignitaries representing Irish culture.
Shane resides between Ireland and Munich, Germany where he co-directs the Tir na nOg Irish dance School which has locations in Germany and Poland. His students are among the first Mainland Europeans to compete and medal at World championships and have over 30 European Championship titles between them. He travels regularly to conduct workshops and to date has has taught 1000′s of dancers around the world in countries such as Germany, Poland, USA, France, Spain, Austria, Serbia, Israel, Czech Republic, Russia, Kuwait, Argentina & Ireland.
Born and raised in Munich to a German mother and Irish father, Eileen was reluctantly dragged to her first Irish Dance class in 1998 at the age of 6 alongside her older sister. Eileen has been dancing ever since learning her first steps from Brid and Mary Sweeney (neé Murray) at those early classes held in Shenanigan’s Irish Pub. Eileen is one of Tir Na nÓg’s longest standing members and through this time has experienced life as both a dancer - competitive and recreationally - and as a teacher.
In December 2017 Eileen successfully sat her TCRG examination and is now a fully qualified Irish Dance teacher with An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha. Away from the dance studio Eileen works as a Sales Manager and she hopes that with the combination of her experience both professionally and through her longstanding membership of the school she will be able to help the Tir Na nÓg Verein to grow.
Lucy was introduced to Irish Dancing age 5 when her curious parents decided to enrol her into class as an after-school activity. Those Friday afternoons quickly progressed to attending classes several times a week at Tir Na nÓg. Lucy competed at some of the earliest competitions in the region and was one of the first dancers from the Mainland Europe region to qualify and compete at the World Championships. Lucy enjoyed a successful competitive career which included six consecutive Mainland Europe regional titles and winning medals at the All Ireland, British National and All Scotland championships as well as achieving top 5 place finishes at competitions in the UK and Ireland.
At the age of 18 Lucy moved to Glasgow to begin her Law studies at the University of Glasgow and joined the Caroline Greene School of Irish Dance. Here Lucy was given the opportunity to dance in the school's champion teams as well as practice and compete alongside the school's champion solos dancers. Upon graduating from her Masters LLM in International Law and Security Lucy returned to live in Germany. She successfully sat her TCRG examination in Vienna
December 2017 and passed with Honours.
Lucy is delighted to be back teaching with the Sweeney McAvinchey School and to contribute through both teaching and the Verein to the growth and expansion of Irish Dance in Germany.
Susanne was born in Munich to an Irish mother and German father and began dancing at early age. She went on to join Tir Na nÓg in 2001 where she enjoyed a successful competitive career. Susanne represented the school at many major championships across Ireland, England, Scotland, Mainland Europe and America, and traveled to Philadelphia to compete at her first World Championships in 2009.
In 2012 Susanne moved to Ireland to pursue her passion of Irish Dance and completed her certificate in the prestigious Irish Music and Dance course at the University of Limerick. Over the years Susanne has also developed as a professional dancer performing in dance shows such as Journey to Ireland and Take the Floor. In December 2017 she was successful in taking her TCRG examination to become a fully qualified teacher with the Sweeney McAvinchey school and An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha.
Susanne is currently a Psychology student at the University of Innsbruck and divides her time teaching in Munich with her studies.
Born and raised in Mexico City, Ana’s path to Irish Dance was a little different. A ballet dancer since the age of six - it was only several years later in Ana’s dance career that she would become part of the first generation of Irish Dancers in Mexico to compete and be affiliated under An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha.
Since then Ana has been teaching Irish Dance for over thirteen years with the principle of opening doors and giving opportunities to new generations of dancers. She is invested in both enabling students to reach the highest level of competition as well as providing an environment in which they can cultivate their passion, develop as a person and most importantly: have fun. Ana believes that Irish Dance affords students the ability to discover how to push their limits, reach goals and how to overcome any challenges faced.
In 2015 Ana moved to Munich and has been teaching with Tir Na nÓg since relocating to Germany. Aside from Irish Dance she also teaches Ballet to children. She is looking forward to promoting Irish Dance and culture in Munich.
Originally from the United States, Maggie began Irish dancing at the age of 11 with Mary Sweeney and Shane McAvinchey at Tir Na NÓg while her family was stationed in Germany with the military. Upon returning to the U.S., she continued her competitive dance career with both An Cor Rud (Virginia, USA) and the Broesler School (Maryland, USA). In 2018, Maggie’s dancing journey came full circle as she returned to Germany for her own career working at the American military hospital in the area. She rejoined Sweeney-McAvinchey as a Senior dancer with aspirations to become a qualified teacher.
During her competitive career, Maggie competed in at the World Championships, North American National Championships, Southern Region Oireachtas and Mainland European Championships. Outside of competition, she also founded the Irish Dance Student Club at her university, taught recreational dance for Academy de Ballet (Virginia, USA), and was a staff member at Camp Rince Ceol for four years.
In March 2022, Maggie successfully sat her TCRG examination in South Carolina to become a fully qualified teacher with the Sweeney McAvinchey school and An Comimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha. Outside of the dance studio, she works as a clinical Registered Dietitian and is also pursuing her graduate degree in Nutrition.