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The Netflix show Derry Girls is a sensation all over the world. But for people unfamiliar with the particulars of Irish culture, it has raised some important questions.
One Twitter user recently asked if the “Rock the Boat” choreography in Derry Girls is something that really happens in the country.
Yes, the choreography to “Rock the Boat,” the single from American band the Hues Corporation, is real. Rather than being some strange cultural artifact from the ’90s, like “Saturday Night” or “Macarena,” it remains a beloved part of many Irish celebrations to this day. For those unaware, the dance usually involves people sitting on the floor in rows while swinging their arms back and forth and clapping to the beat.
For those who are confused, Rock The Boat is basically a rite of passage at Irish weddings. Our weddings have late bars that can run until 2am. We love a dance. And sure a dance we can do on our arses is even better. #DerryGirls pic.twitter.com/EEAjTaRj7n— Sarah Doran (@sarahisnothere) March 26, 2019
Footage from a wedding in Cork on Sunday. Confirmed. pic.twitter.com/8sf7nCZBLV— Steph of the Crank (@Stephanenny) August 6, 2019
Happens at Irish weddings very late at night 🙈— Tara Keogh (@keogh_tara) August 6, 2019
So many photos like this one from various events. LOVE Rock the Boat💞 😂 pic.twitter.com/NcYLFqCzoN— fiona walker (@fionawalker20) August 6, 2019
An essential part of not just weddings but birthdays, graduations, and other large parties, many Irish people were shocked to discover this wasn’t an international phenomenon.
Wait... it isn’t... international...? 🤨— Shauna B-Money (@ShaunaBMoney) August 6, 2019
Does every peoples not do it?— Roy Murray (@trimroy) August 6, 2019
I’m feeling incredibly embarrassed now for all of Ireland for some reason lol. I had no idea we owned this and now that I think about it, it’s the weirdest tradition 😂— Kitty Col♡#EDS4IRE (@kittypotpie85) August 7, 2019
There are even giant public ones.
Yes. On Paddy’s day we even lined the streets to do it! https://t.co/huAx71G0EY— Johnny O (@jocno5) August 7, 2019
Including attempts to beat the world record.
Not only is it a thing but we take it very seriously. My home village in particular.https://t.co/7OGUPqMobD— Karol (@BurgundyJumper_) August 7, 2019
Have it here! https://t.co/RhX8qoWvW3— Mother on a Rothar (@neasabh) August 6, 2019
And one person is such a big fan that she’ll start doing the dance anywhere, anytime if the song comes on.
I had a friend in school who would drop to the floor no matter where she heard the song. On a public bus, in the middle of a shop. It's a wedding classic for some reason.— 🎃🕸️🏳️🌈Ghoulia McNeardeathexperiencey☠️🍁 (@gloralot) August 6, 2019
“Rock the Boat” may not be international yet, but thanks to Derry Girls it may just get there.
A classic at weddings, and other large gatherings of people. 👌 pic.twitter.com/zZ0O3Qdgfv— Dr. Leeanne Hinch 💛🧡❤️💜💙💚 (@SpillzHinch) August 6, 2019
Siobhan Ball is a historian, archivist, and journalist. She also writes for Autostraddle and bi.org