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About Us

Mary McInerney-Zona established the McInerney School of Irish Dance in 1983. Under her direction, the school grew to be the premiere Irish dancing school in Central Massachusetts. Unfortunately, Mary was diagnosed with cancer, and succumbed to the disease in 2009. She left a loving family, a thriving dance school, and hundreds of students, both current and past, who continue to honor her legacy of cultural pride, love of dance, and dedication.


The McInerney School is built upon teamwork and friendship; our dancers have become a family, and enjoy traveling, competing, and performing together. They have enjoyed great success at the New England Oireachtas (Regional Championships), North American Nationals, Great Britain Championships, All Scotland Championships, All Ireland Championships, and Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne (World Championships).

We have been honored to perform with world-renowned performers such as the Chieftains, Lúnasa, Cherish The Ladies, Eileen Ivers, and Téada. Some of our recent performances include Irish Christmas in America, First Night Worcester, Miss Ireland Massachusetts, and special events at the Boston State House and Hanover Theatre.

Dancers of all ages and levels are welcome. Contact us to learn more!

Our Staff



Clare began her dance career in New York under the direction of Anna O’Sullivan. When Clare was five years old, her family moved to Massachusetts, where she enrolled at the Smith Academy of Irish Dance in Boston. Clare competed in local, regional, national, and world competitions, enjoying great success. Clare attended Merrimack College on a basketball scholarship. After college, she taught school, coached basketball, and was ever-present at the McInerney School of Irish Dance. 


Clare supported Mary and the dancers throughout Mary’s lengthy battle with cancer. After Mary passed away in 2009, Clare successfully completed the TCRG examination and assumed responsibility for the school. Under her direction, the school that Mary started continues to thrive.


Lauren began dancing at the McInerney School of Irish Dance at the age of four, when Mary McInerney-Zona was invited to teach a class at Lauren’s ballet school. Soon thereafter, Lauren traded in her ballet slippers for a pair of ghillies (and made her parents play the Riverdance VHS daily).

Lauren was privileged to compete at the New England Oireachtas, North American Nationals, Great Britain Championships, All Ireland Championships, and World Championships, and thoroughly appreciates the opportunities she had to travel and experience different parts of the world through Irish dance. Lauren retired from competition at the age of 21, while she was studying at Providence College in Providence, RI. She graduated cum laude in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Finance, and is now a marketing program manager at a financial technology firm in Boston.

In May 2017, Lauren passed her TCRG examination with honors and became a member of The Irish Dance Teacher's Association of North America (IDTANA), New England Irish Dance Teachers, and An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha (The Irish Dancing Commission in Ireland). She is excited to share her passion for Irish dance with students and remain a part of the McInerney family.



Originally from Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan, Paula began Irish dancing at the age of five. Growing up in Ireland, she inherited a love for Irish dance, music, and culture through many of her local community's competitive and social activities. Paula danced under the tutelage of the legendary Mona Roddy, founder of one of the world's most successful Irish dance schools, Scoil Rince Mona ni Rodaigh in Dundalk, Co. Louth. She competed in various major competitions, including the Ulster, All Ireland, and World Championships. Paula holds a master's degree in Applied Languages for Business from the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland.

Paula came to the United States in 1994, and taught adult Irish dance classes for many years at Assabet Valley Continuing Education in Marlborough, MA. She has been a teacher with the McInerney School of Irish Dance since 2011.


Eileen O’Brien has had a life long association with the McInerney School of Irish Dance. Eileen’s mother, Mary, and Mary McInerney-Zona danced together at the Michael Smith Academy of Irish Dance in Boston. Eileen began her formal dance education at approximately four years of age. Enjoying the competitive aspect of Irish dance, Eileen competed in numerous local, regional, and national competitions. Her competitive dance career culminated with two qualifications for the World Championships. In addition to the competitive opportunities, Eileen also enjoyed any opportunity to perform in public. Eileen welcomed opportunities to perform for audiences large and small and in a variety of venues. She has performed in grand venues such as Mechanics Hall, the Hanover Theatre, and the State House in Boston in addition to numerous churches, nursing homes, community events, and parade performances. She has danced with world-renowned performers such as the Chieftains, Lúnasa, Cherish The Ladies, Eileen Ivers, and Téada.

Eileen graduated in 2010 from Holy Name Jr./Sr. High School with Highest Honors and as valedictorian of her class. That year, she was awarded an IDTANA Scholarship. She continued her education at the College of the Holy Cross, graduating magna cum laude in 2014 with a double major in Spanish and Psychology. From there, Eileen continued her education at Worcester State University and was awarded a master’s degree in speech-language pathology in 2016. She is currently employed as a speech-language pathologist in the Leominster Public Schools.

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