2.9 min readBy Published On: April 10th, 2012Categories: Features3 Comments on Delia and Mary

April, 2012

For as long as they could stand on two feet, Delia and Mary (both 14) have been Irish stepping.  It’s in their blood.  Mary McKenna and Delia Doherty have been dancing since they were three years old at the Woods School of Irish Dance.  Taught by their mothers – Roseann (Woods) McKenna and Peggy (Woods) Doherty – these inseparable cousins have natural talent and are both disciplined and dedicated when it comes to Irish step dance.

Just a week ago, both Mary and Delia traveled to the World Championship of Irish Step Dance in Belfast, Ireland.  Considered the Olympics of Irish dancing, the best dancers from around the world compete.  But Mary and Delia are no strangers to competition of this caliber.  Both have competed in the World’s before.  In 2009, Delia competed in Belfast; both Mary and Delia competed in Philadelphia, PA in 2010; and in 2011 Mary competed in Dublin.

Up against 160 dancers from all over the world,  Mary danced a slip jig and a heavy jig; Delia danced a reel and a hornpipe.  Mary, along with 50 other competitors, got called back to dance one more dance. She placed 26th overall and 11th for the United States.

The scoop on the girls:
More like sisters than cousins, Mary and Delia do just about everything together.  They are best friends and living next door to one another  makes it all the more convenient to spend every waking moment together.  According the Mary’s mother Roseann, “They finish each other sentences and make each other laugh louder and harder than any other person could ever do.” Both girls attend the Southfield School in Brookline and are in the eighth grade.  For both of them, math is their favorite subject.  When asked what their favorite movie is, they both answered enthusiastically, “The Hunger Games.”  Team Peeta or Team Gale? Mary couldn’t decide and Delia answered with a confident, “Peeta.”

Mary Rose McKenna

  • Daughter of Roseann Woods and Stephen McKenna
  • Youngest sister of Stephen and Brendan
  • Favorite restaurant: Mirasola’s
  • Role model: My parents
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? Pediatrician
  • Favorite place in Southie? Sidewalk Cafe

Delia Doherty

  • Daughter of Peggy Woods and Shaun Doherty
  • Big sister to Sean Doherty
  • Favorite Restaurant: Sal’s
  • Role model: My parents
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? Lawyer
  • Favorite place in Southie? The beaches

Answer the following:

Having a big family is great because:
Mary: there is always something fun going on
Delia: holidays and events are always fun

My favorite song is
Mary: Want To by Sugarland
Delia: Starships by Nikki Minaj

Team Edward or Team Jacob?
Both: Team Jacob

River Dance or Lord of the Dance?
Both: River Dance

Jeans or a dress?
Mary: jeans
Delia: a dress

Pizza or Chinese food?
Mary: Chinese
Delia: pizza

The best thing about Irish Step is
Mary: you get to travel a lot.
Delia: the competition.

Delia and Mary are both a breath of fresh air and ray of sunshine combined into one.  They are smart, beautiful, kind and extremely talented.  The World Championship of Irish Step Dance will come to Boston in the spring of 2013, and we are confident that Delia and Mary will be center stage once again with a hometown advantage.  And it when it comes to representing our town of South Boston, we couldn’t pick two finer examples of outstanding young women. 

Photography by Deborah McCarthy


  1. Dolley Carlson April 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Fabulous article!  These are the Real Young Ladies of South Boston!

    Blessings & more blessings on their inspiring, high-road paths and every precious “step”!

  2. Susan Linehan-Rooney April 10, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Great Story, These two girls come from three very nice familys .  A Few generations of old Southie, girls keep your feet moving and you will always going somewhere!!!!! You should be proud…….

  3. Irish Fan November 5, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Always joyful to hear about child talent and prodigies. Irish culture has given the world so many good things – Irish proverbs and sayings, Irish dance, the festival of Halloween, some fantastic fables and poetic blessings, cheerful music, great quotes and writers, just to name a few. Hence it is very nice to see children excelling in the traditional dance of their country. I would like to dedicate one of my favorite Irish blessings to Delia and Mary – May the sun always shine on your windowpane, may a rainbow be certain to follow each rain, may the hand of a friend always be near you, may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you. God bless these talented children.

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