The competitions vary in size, duration, and level of eligibility.
While the phrase can be used to refer to any cultural festival or gathering, as well as to the Irish legislature, in Irish dancing it has come to refer to major top-level competitions, and is often casually translated as "championship".
At An Coimisiún events, the 20 and over age group is usually the most senior, whereas the World Irish Dancing Association offers age groups up to 60 and over.
There are three rounds in oireachtas solo competitions.
Oireachtais are held by several Irish dance organisations globally, including An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha, An Comhdhail na Múinteoirí le Rincí Gaelacha, the World Irish Dance Association, and others.
Many oireachtais include both solo and ceilí (team) events.
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Rounds for most age groups are performed 2 dancers at a time, but now it is customary for younger age groups to dance 3 at a time in the larger regions.
The organizing committee can choose to judge the competitions one of two ways.
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Some regions and organisations have very specific requirements, while sometimes eligibility is left to the discretion of the teacher.