On March 3, 1983, a small group of like-minded musicians was host to a gathering at Nick Farrelly's Lounge (generally called the NFL Bar, and was the principal Irish pub in Dallas for more than a decade until its closing in 1984). The event was known as the "First Texas Ceili". Ceili (pronounced kay-lee) means a visit or gathering in Gaelic and is understood to involve musical entertainment and dance.
Although publicized mostly by word of mouth, more than 600 people showed up to hear about a dozen Celtic-oriented musical groups and individual entertainers from all over Texas. Many had to stand outside the open doors to listen to the music. Encouraged by the public response, the Ceili participants formed the Southwest Celtic Music Association in the spring of 1983 as a regional organization with members in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
The Southwest Celtic Music Association was formed to study, perform, promote and preserve traditional Celtic music, dance and culture in the Southwest.
The word "Celtic" refers to the culture that developed in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany, Galicia, and the Isle of Man. Much of the traditional music and dance that has evolved in the United States and in many other English-speaking countries in the last 250 years has developed from Celtic origins.