Sunday's after mass, in the West of Ireland , are the times when the country folk would go on the cuaird. The cuaird comes from the Irish gaelic word cuiart which in short means "to visit". Similar to "visitin" down through the Appalachian areas.
No invitations are sent - it something that has been done since the small villages and towns came about. The kitchen door was left open and an empty chair sits next to the door. Neighbors from surrounding farms would start to drift in to the home, savouring the smell of brown bread, scones, and cakes. A pot of tea would be waiting for all those who came. The families would gather in the kitchen, the heart of the home. Soon, the reason for the cuaird would become apparent. News. News of the village - who was getting married, who was having a baby, how the turf and hay was getting on for the year. Women exchanged recipes while the men talked farm business. The cuaird was the lifeline to these small farmers.
As the night wore on, the conversations turned more casual and stories would begin to unfold. Stories would lead to songs, songs to prodding the lady of the house to play some tunes on the concertina. The music would begin and toes would start tapping. Tapping toes led to dancing the sets. Yes, they danced right there in the kitchen. As the dancer's spun 'round the room, they lilted the tune out loud. There was much laughter and joy, pots of sweet tea consumed, and over there in the corner, the gents would break out a jug of poitin (homemade whiskey). The dancing, songs, and stories would go late into the night.
The cuaird is a tradition that I'm not sure if it's even still carried on in today's present Ireland. But, out of the cuaird came house sessions and dances which still go on today.
Below I've linked you to a Youtube video that talks about house dances. I hope you enjoy it.