The "Rock the Boat" Dance in 'Derry Girls' Is a Real Irish Wedding Tradition — Can We Start It Here?!

Rebecca Macatee - Author

Aug. 9 2019, Updated 2:23 p.m. ET

derry girls rock the boat dance
Source: Netflix

Warning: Spoilers for Derry Girls Season 2 below!

If you haven't binge-watched Derry Girls Season 2 on Netflix yet, you should get on that ASAP. There are only six episodes, but it gives audiences an entirely new perspective on Northern Ireland in the 1990s. 

The rest of the world is learning some interesting things about Irish culture from Derry Girls. But the "Rock the Boat" dance in episode 4 really has Twitter talking. Is (or was) that a real thing? Here's what you need to know. 

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The Derry Girls "Rock the Boat" dance happens at a wedding. 

In Season 2, Episode 4 "The Curse," Erin Quinn (Saoirse-Monica Jackson) brings her group of friends to a family wedding. Inevitably, tensions rise and the girls get into an argument. Clare Devlin (Nicola Coughlan) threatens that the friendship "is over," but a DJ intervenes...

"Rock the Boat," a 1969 single from American band the Hues Corporation, starts to play, and nothing else is important. All the girls are overjoyed and join the entire wedding party in an intense, choreographed dance to the song.

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derry girls rock the boat dance wedding
Source: Channel 4/YouTube

Was the "Rock the Boat" dance on Derry Girls just made up for the show?

Or is "Rock the Boat" Ireland's version of "The Electric Slide"?! The internet had to know. Twitter user @carovaldez93 wrote, "Dear #irish people from the internet, is the choreography of "Rock the Boat" where people sit on the floor from #DerryGirls a real thing? I NEED TO KNOW."

Another user @kbbaus tweeted, "Is this "Rock the Boat" dance really a thing???? #DerryGirls"

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Irish people confirmed the "Rock the Boat" dance is legit. 

"It is absolutely a real thing," tweeted @Nevidge20, "and is always entered into with a terrifying zeal."

"It's a real thing," Laurence Doherty, an extra in the Derry Girls scene, confirmed on Twitter. "And I’m in there rocking with the Derry Girls. We rocked the boat for 5 hours!!

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Reddit user @everydayimrusslin seemed to think the "Rock the Boat" dance was past its prime, though. "It's something that used to happen at weddings in the 80s/90s," they wrote. "Don't really know why."

Derry Girls star Nicola Coughlan called the "Rock the Boat" dance "a staple" at Irish weddings.

In the Derry Girls wedding scene, Nicola Coughlan's character Clare is perhaps the most excited when "Rock the Boat" starts playing. In a promotional video fo the Salthill Roary Club, Nicola explained, "Rock the Boat is a staple at any Irish wedding. It's a dance that we all know."

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Derry Girls did great with the "Rock the Boat" dance — and not just on the show!

Nicola helped Ability West, an organization that provides services and supports to children and adults with intellectual disabilities across Galway City and County, organize an event to break a world record for the biggest ever performance of "Rock the Boat."

On June 15, 2019, a group of 1,805 people gathered at Salthill Promenade, Galway to do the "Rock the Boat" dance together. Per the Irish Times, this Derry Girls-inspired feat did, indeed, break the Guinness World Record for the biggest "Rock the Boat" performance ever.

Derry Girls Season 2 is currently streaming on Netflix.

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