About us

The McGahan Lees Irish Dance Academy (in Oxford, formerly the Marion Flanagan School) holds classes across Essex, Kent and Oxford. The Academy is run by Frances McGahan, ADCRG, an experienced and qualified teacher and adjudicator registered with An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha – one of the governing bodies of Irish dance. In Oxford, the principal teacher is Marion Flanagan ADCRG, with Elizabeth McCarthy TCRG.

The Academy was born in 1996 when Frances gave up her job in London to launch herself into the less certain world of Irish dance teaching. Frances is assisted whenever possible by husband Guy, who has a full-time day job of his own. From small beginnings, Frances has built up a thriving and successful school. Frances achieved a major goal in 2004, when she took her adjudicator’s examination. She passed with flying colours, changing from Frances McGahan TCRG to Frances McGahan ADCRG.

The Academy has regular championship winners, a number of regional champions, and a host of dancers who compete at international level. As well as 3 coveted World Championships, McGahan Lees dancers have also won titles at the All Irelands, Great Britains, British Nationals, All Scotlands, and North American Irish Dance Championships. But more than that, the Academy has become a real community with its own ethos and social life. The dancers have a strong sense of identity and support each other in competition and training.

For information on upcoming events and school news, please visit the main McGahan Lees Academy website.

Oxford instructors

Marion Flanagan

Marion Flanagan Irish dance teacherMarion was born in Oxford of Irish parents. She was introduced to Irish dancing at the age of four and danced for the Anne Flood School of Irish Dancing in Oxford. She later went on to dance for the McDonald Academy and competed at the World Championships from the age of 15 until she retired from dancing competitively to start teaching. Marion has been teaching in Oxford for 24 years and is also a qualified adjudicator; she has recently judged such competitions as the World Championships, the All Irelands and various regional qualifying competitions. Her pupils have achieved titles at competitions all over the world, including the North American Nationals, Great Britains, British Nationals and European Championships, as well as winning World Medals and placing in the top ten at both the World Championships and All Irelands.

Liz McCarthy

Liz is originally from PortlanLiz McCarthy Irish dance teacherd, OR, USA, where she began her dancing career with what is now the Yeates Academy. While there, she had the opportunity to train with Michael Smith, Tony Comerford and Annie McBride. She later danced for the Celtic Gold Academy under Doireann Maioleidigh in Los Angeles before moving to Oxford in 2007 and joining the Marion Flanagan School. Liz has competed around the world, recalling and placing at the World Championships, All Irelands, British Nationals and various regional qualifiers. She spent two years touring with a number of professional Irish dance productions, including as lead dancer with Dance of Desire. Liz obtained her TCRG in 2010.

We encourage pupils to continue to pass along the art of Irish dancing, and we use senior pupils and ex-dancers to assist in our classes.