Michael Flatley performs at Ireland’s largest traditional festival – as a musician

Irish dance legend Michael Flatley sows of his skill on the flute at Michael Flatley plays the flute at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann

Irish dancing legend Michael Flatley returned to the stage to perform at Ireland’s biggest traditional festival – but he wasn’t showing off any fancy footwork.

Instead the Chicago born star introduced audiences to another talent – as a flautist.

Flatley helped to kick off the 2017 Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ennis by showing that he has more than one string to his bow.

Irish dance legend Michael Flatley sows of his skill on the flute at Michael Flatley plays the flute at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann

He officially opened the festival by taking to the stage and showing that he is quite the virtuoso on the flute – and that there is plenty of life left in him after hanging up his dancing shoes.

He told RTÉ News: “I grew up on (flute stars) Tansey and Molloy, Kevin Henry, Peter Horn, Fred Finn – they were legends.”

Flatley first appeared at the Fleadh Cheoil festival 40 years ago in 1977.

It’s fair to say he has had an extremely successful career since then and revolutionised Irish dancing, turning the art form into the huge stage productions that can be seen all around the world today.

Flatley retired after in 2016, after a gruelling career that spanned five decades and took its toll on his body. He bowed out on top – playing a run of shows on Broadway and a final show at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.

Since his retirement he has given back to Irish dancing, both as an instructor to the younger generation and also as a producer.

He has also written and starred in his first short film – A Little Bit of Tear – which sees him play a drunken clown and was selected for the for the Los Angeles Shorts International Film Festival.

But he was never going to stay away from a live audience forever, and while he has retired from dancing, he has now proved that he is a highly talented musician.

Take a look at the videos below.

Here are more videos taken from audience members

More Irish dance videos

Flashmob Catholic style – happy couple stunned on wedding day

Cork trio showcase Irish dancing in all its glory

Why do Irish dancers always keep their hands by their side? Well, could that just be a myth?

Fusion Fighters keep raising the bar in Irish dance

Six-year-old Irish dancer wows Simon Cowell

Learn how to Irish dance with these quick four steps

Riverdance – where it all began in 1994

Leading performer celebrates Irish dance in its simplest form

The Willis Clan – 12 talented siblings of Irish music and dance

Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling