Nationalist movements used dance as well as music to invent discreet national cultures in the late nineteenth century. As this chapter demonstrates, Ireland was a typical example in that it drew on transnational cultures and inevitably had to balance the interests of increasing participation against those of cultural purity. The body (particularly the female body) became a potent subject of an explicitly national debate framed by the competing interests of Catholicism and nationalism. As this chapter explains, dance became a fundamental medium through which to express Irish nationality, and an important adjunct to the national movement. The uses of dance were multiple, and not always complementary. Nonetheless by the end of the revolutionary period there was a clear if inconsistent notion of what did and did not constitute Irish dance.