DISCOVER IRELAND
 
ACCOMODATIONS IN IRELAND
 
DINING IN IRELAND
 
PLACES IN IRELAND
 
MYTHS AND LEGENDS
 
IRISH ARTISTS
 
CELTIC THUNDER STORE
 
 
AUTHENTIC IRISH RECIPES
 
IRISH HISTORY
 
IRISH TRADITIONS
 
IRISH POETRY
 
IRISH SPORTS
 

 

 

 RELATED ARTICLES

 
 IRELAND'S FARMERS MARKET
 
IRELANDS CULINARY SCENE

 

 

 

 
 

CELTIC THUNDER & SONY UNITE

Celtic Thunder and Sony have announced a new catalog partnership, set to begin with the upcoming release of 'The Very Best of Celtic Thunder'. The NEW Catalog will be released for the US, Canada, Australia and other regions coming soon!

 

 

NEW CD - 'THE VERY BEST OF CELTIC THUNDER'

Celtic Thunder recently announced their new catalog partnership with Sony’s Legacy Records label, set to begin with the upcoming release of The Very Best of Celtic Thunder. The 20-song collection – which includes seven all-time Celtic Thunder favorites updated and re-recorded by the current ensemble – arrives in stores on March 10.

 

THE VERY BEST OF CELTIC THUNDER TOUR

Celtic Thunder have recently added more US cities to their upcoming Very Best of Celtic Thunder Tour!! Now fans in Roanoke, VA, Torrington, CT, Cleveland OH, Baltimore MD, Hershey PA and Lakeland and Jacksonville FL will be able to join in the fun! Celtic Thunder Fan Club VIP Seats are now available for these dates and for all tour information and ticket links fans should check the tour page on the CELTIC THUNDER WEBSITE. VIP Artist Event Passes and Soundcheck Party Passes for the Very Best of Celtic Thunder Tour dates are also available.  Meet and Greet passes as ever are available exclusively through Public Television, many of which are pledging in March. Please check with your local station for availability.

 

CELTIC THUNDER ON ITUNES & SPOTIFY

Celtic Thunder and Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, have announced a new catalog partnership which is set to begin with the upcoming release of The Very Best of Celtic Thunder. In addition to the new release, Celtic Thunder will be re-issuing all of its past CDs and DVDs on the Legacy label. As a result, Celtic Thunder product is temporarily unavailable for purchase on iTunes while we switch our content over to our new partner. We anticipate having all Celtic Thunder CDs and DVDs back on iTunes and available for download once more by the end of this month.

 

CELTIC THUNDER OFFICIAL WEBSITE

Celtic Thunder has launched their brand new CELTIC THUNDER WEBSITE! It's an absolute treasure trove of all things Celtic Thunder and we think the new site is a huge improvement. The new site marries the agility of an App, with the flow of a social media page and the content of a traditional webpage. It’s comprehensive, easy to navigate and most of all incredibly user-friendly!

Now, you can find all of your Celtic Thunder news, music, videos, blogs, photos, tweets, posts and information all in one place.

Why not browse the site and check out upcoming tour dates, purchase pre-sale tickets, find out the latest news on the Celtic Times, watch Celtic Thunder videos online, read Tweets and Facebook posts in REAL TIME!

Developing the new site was a huge undertaking and we are still loading some of the content but we wanted to bring it you, our fabulous followers, as soon as possible so forgive us while we continue to add information and content.

 

 

CELTIC THUNDER SOUND CHECK PARTY PASSES

We have Sound Check Party Passes available for The Very Best of Celtic Thunder Tour, and what a great add-on to you show ticket for anyone who would like to full 'Celtic Thunder Experience'.

Sound Check Parties take place at 4pm on show days in ALL cities. The Sound Check offers attendees an exclusive glimpse at the behind the scenes workings of the tour, as they watch Celtic Thunder sound check and rehearse a few numbers for that night’s show. Guests are encouraged to take candid photos during the Sound Check Party - as photos are not permitted during a live Celtic Thunder Show. Attendees will also receive a souvenir Soundcheck Party Brochure to take home at the end of the event.

 

 

CELTIC THUNDER VIP ARTIST EVENTS

We have VIP Artist Event Tickets available for The Very Best of Celtic Thunder Tour, and what a great add-on to you show ticket for anyone who would like to full 'Celtic Thunder Experience'.

The VIP Artist Event takes place approximately 15 minutes after each concert in ALL cities. This event offers attendees an opportunity to meet with three members of Celtic Thunder and pose for a photo with them. Guests are also encouraged to take candid photos as well during the event. Please note that the posed photos will be taken with the attendee's camera so be sure to bring your camera along! Guests will also receive a signed VIP Artist Event Brochure to take home at the end of the VIP Artist Event.

 

 

REMEMBERING GEORGE DONALDSON

It will be one year on March 12th since our Celtic Thunder world was rocked by the devastating news that our beloved friend and colleague, George Donaldson had passed away. George was only 46 when he succumbed to a fatal heart attack and left us all way too soon. He is always in our minds and in our hearts forever. We talk about him often, remembering his presence on stage and off, his wonderful personality, his bear hugs, and his wonderful friendship. Above is a montage of some of our fondest memories of times spent with George Donaldson.

 

 

A DEDICATION TO GEORGE DONALDSON

George Donaldson, “Big George” as he was affectionately known by friends, family, colleagues and fans, passed away suddenly on March 12th at home in Glasgow. Born 1st February 1968, George had just turned 46 years old. His wife, Carolyn, and his daughter, Sarah, 13, who he described as the “lights of my life,” survive him.

One of nine children, George was born and raised in Glasgow’s East End and was a self-taught musician, accomplished on both guitar and flute. He had a lifelong passion for Celtic music, which was inspired by his late father Bernard, and he often said that one of his greatest thrills was the day he performed for his Dad – and 65,000 other fans – at Celtic Park for the 2000 Season opening match.

 

 

CELTIC THUNDER STORE

Keep Celtic Thunder with you at home! In addition to watching your favorite Celtic Thunder DVD or listening to the new Very Best of Celtic Thunder CD at home, now you enjoy CT at all times of day and night! From your first cup of coffee in a Celtic Thunder mug to laying your head on a Celtic Thunder pillow at night, the new merchandise offers something for the Celtic Thunder fan who has it all! Enjoy beautiful scenes of Ireland (and your favorite CT guy) on the Images of Ireland CD clocks or choose from our wonderful selection of Irish and Celtic jewelry, handcrafted in Ireland in sterling silver and assayed and stamped for fineness in Dublin Castle.

 

 

HERE COMES THE SUN!

That Groundhog really did a number on us in the US this year. We are still firmly in the grip of Winter, and we don’t think Boston will be thawed by next Groundhog Day the way things are going! Let’s just remember the fun and sun onboard the MSC Divina during the last Celtic Thunder Cruise!! Think warm thoughts and have a look at some of these fun photos!

 

MUSIC FROM IRELAND - THE FUREYS

The Fureys are one of Ireland's most influential traditional bands. Formed in 1974 by brothers Finbar, who sang lead and played Uilleann pipes, and Eddie, the group, which also included younger brothers Paul and George, toured throughout the world. Their many hits included "When You Were Sweet Sixteen," "I Will Love You Every Time," "Leaving Nancy," "Tara Hill," "Red Rose Cafe," "Lonesome Boatman," and "Green Fields of France." According to Shaun Dale of Cosmik.Com, "The Fureys distinguish themselves from the hardcore trad groups with a willingness to attack an updated songbook that draws from British and American pop, as well as their own deep Irish roots".

The Celtic Thunder Store is delighted to have 'Essential Fureys' on sale at the Celtic Thunder Store HERE.

 

CELTIC CONNECTIONS - A CELTIC THUNDER FAN VISITS IRELAND

The music of Celtic Thunder has captured the hearts of so many people, and the stories they tell through song are ones that touch different people in different ways.

But that wasn’t enough for me.

When I was planning my trip around Ireland, I wasn’t sure how I was going to link my trip together. I wanted to make it a trip that I wouldn’t forget, but I didn’t want to be a ‘tourist’. Even the word makes me cringe.

Then one late Sunday afternoon, while listening to Celtic Thunder at home, I got it. I was going to follow Celtic Thunder’s songs around Ireland! I was going to go to as many places as I could that appeared in their songs and immerse myself in the Ireland that I had heard about.

 

 

GREEN IRELAND

Two stunning coastal locations on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way have been listed in the first ever Sustainable Destinations Global Top 100 – the world’s greenest holiday destinations.

Loop Head Peninsula, a slender finger of land on the most westerly point of County Clare, and Kilkee, a seaside resort and gateway to the peninsula, were listed alongside other worldwide destinations ranging from Easter Island in Chile to South Africa’s Cape Whale Coast.

The Top 100 Sustainable Destinations was created by TravelMole.com, VISION on Sustainable Tourism, Totem Tourism and Green Destinations to celebrate and recognise places around the world that have adopted sustainable tourism practices.

 

 

IRISH WHISKEY MUSEUM

The unique attraction chronicles the story of Irish whiskey, looking at everything from its taste and flavour, to the rise, fall and current worldwide renaissance of the Irish whiskey industry.

The museum features a range of enjoyable, interactive exhibitions spread out across five rooms in a location right in the heart of the city’s ‘golden mile’ overlooking historic Trinity College.

Completely independent from the drinks industry, the Irish Whiskey Museum features all types and brands of whiskey and offers a tasting – one of the ‘proper’ things to do while in Dublin – led by a master taster.

 

 

NOTHERN LIGHTS OF IRELAND

One of the world's most famous and stunning solar phenomena has lit up the skies across the Inishowen Peninsula, Co. Donegal once again.

The Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, provided an impressive display last night with photographer Rónán Mc Laughlin capturing the attached pictures at Malin Head, Irelands most Northerly Point.

Astronomy Ireland advises, the further North you are the better chance of viewing the Northern Lights and  they can be seen more dominantly  in an area absent from light pollution, making Inishowen the best place in Ireland to see this dream-like extravagant. Visit Inishowen have put together a step by step guide to chasing the Northern Lights in Inishowen, which will allow you to determine the best time to head north in search of the Aurora Borealis.

 

 

THE IRISH SHAMROCK

What is shamrock? The reality is that shamrock is a form of clover - Trifolium repens, Trifolium pratense or more likely Trifolium dubium, to give its botanical pedigree - and only looks different from what one might expect because it is picked so early in spring AND It is not unique to Ireland. Trifolium dubium is found from Scandinavia to the Caucasus and even in America.

What’s the connection with St. Patrick? Legend has it that in attempting to explain the three-in-one principle of the Holy Trinity to the pagan King Laoghaire (pronounced Leary), St. Patrick found the three-leafed shamrock a convenient teaching aid. Four-leafed shamrocks obviously are discounted. They cause severe theological problems!

 

 

 

FACTS ABOUT SAINT PATRICK

When St. Patrick set foot in Ireland in the 5th century AD, he faced an uncertain future in a little-known country. Warring Celts were scattered in tribal groups across the island, ruled with iron might by five provincial kings. Eerie dolmen monuments and ancient ruins dominated the landscape. Even the Roman conquerors of Britain had not ventured this far – apart perhaps from the odd traveler or adventurer.

Against this backdrop, St. Patrick’s phenomenal success as a Christian missionary seems all the more incredible. By the end of the 15th century, Ireland had become a Christian nation.

Perhaps Patrick’s elevation into sainthood was therefore inevitable. But his prominence in the traditions and legends of the country says something of the reverence, awe and affection in which he has been held in the intervening centuries and which are rekindled in the Irish every St. Patrick’s Day.

 

 

CELEBRATING ST. PATRICK'S DAY AROUND THE WORLD

St. Patrick has in recent years become the focal point of a festival in DUBLIN which reflects the diverse talents and achievements of a now supremely confident Irish people. Once confined to a single day, it now spreads itself over a week and attracts an international audience of well over 1 million – not just the Irish themselves or those of Irish descent but also those who sometimes might wish to be Irish. A truly carnival atmosphere provides a backdrop for days of music, madness and magic, which include street theatre, fireworks displays, pageants, exhibitions, music and dance. Throughout the week, the Irish themselves do what they do best: having a party, a celebration full of warmth, fun and energy.

The highlight of the festival is the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. There was a time when the equivalent parade in New York was considered to be the most spectacular in the world. That is no longer the case. The parade in Dublin has now taken its rightful place as being the most spectacular and exciting of them all. It provides a showcase not only for the most imaginative Irish talents but also for increasingly more diverse international ones. It provides manifest proof to the assertion that on St. Patrick’s Day just about all the world wants to join in celebration. For the latest information on the St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin.

 

 

SAINT PATRICK'S DAY FESTIVAL IN DUBLIN

As the national holiday celebrated in more countries around the world than any other, St Patrick’s Day is the one day when everyone wants to be Irish...

…Except that celebrating the very best of Irish and international talent takes more than a single day back in the old country, which is why this year’s St Patrick’s Festival takes place over four days from Saturday 14 to Tuesday 17 March.

Dublin’s 2015 festival, the premier St Patrick’s Day event on the island, promises a major Irish shindig for all ages, with music, cultural treats, comedy, sport, dance, indoor and outdoor performances, many free attractions and the spectacle that is the Grand Parade.

 

 

ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE - GRAND MARSHAL 2015

Brendan O’Carroll as Grand Marshal for this year’s Festival Parade. Brendan has shown his great personality and exceptional talent throughout his whole career but it is safe to say his work in the past few years has been phenomenal. Brendan is a great ambassador for Ireland on a global level through his charm and Dublin wit, we know this means a lot to him and we wish him all the best in his role as Grand Marshal and hope that he enjoys the special experience.”

A little background into this year’s Grand Marshal - Brendan was brought up in Finglas, Dublin. He’s the youngest of eleven children. His mother Maureen was the first female Labor TD elected to the Dail and was Labor’s chief whip from 1954 - 57.

 

 

DUBLIN SAINT PATRICK'S FESTIVAL HISTORY & 4 DAY ITINERARY

St. Patrick’s Festival was established by the Government of Ireland in November 1995.

The principal aim of St. Patrick’s Festival, since its inauguration, is to develop a major annual international festival around the national holiday over which the ‘owners’ of the festival, the Irish people, would stand proud. It sets out to reflect the talents and achievements of Irish people on many national and world stages, and it acts as an exciting showcase for the manifold skills of the people of Ireland, of every age and social background.

As the one national holiday that is celebrated in more countries around the world than any other, St. Patrick’s Day is the day when everyone wants to be Irish.

We set out to seize that opportunity, and completely transform the national and international perception of St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. This country is bursting with the kind of creative energy, ideas and enthusiasm required to do the job. Our job has been to harness them, and make our national holiday an unforgettable experience for all.
Why was it started?

 

 

CARLINGFORD - NORTHERN IRELAND

County Louth boasts an impressive coastline – stretching over 55 miles from Carlingford Lough to the beaches of Baltray. Have you ever walked on water? That’s what a loop of the Clogherhead Peninsula feels like, winding around rocks from which the standing stones at Newgrange are said to have been cut, before emerging at Port Oriel.

Carlingford Village in the heart of County Louth is one of the best preserved Medieval towns in Ireland with narrow streets and castles, and situated in the heart of the beautiful Cooley Peninsula, nestling at the foot of Foy Mountain, on the shores of Carlingford Lough, and overlooking the Mountains of Mourne. It was founded at the beginning of the thirteenth century by Hugh de Lacy (the younger son of the Hugh de Lacy who constructed Trim Castle). He began by constructing a strong castle on an outcrop of rock that overlooked the Lough, and soon afterwards a settlement began to flourish in the shadow of the fortress.

 

 

GHAN HOUSE

Built in 1727, Ghan House is a 4* AA rated, fully restored, family run Georgian House now in its 20th year of continuous business with 16 years of awards and nominations.

One of the oldest private houses of its' type in Ireland, Ghan House is a tree length from Medieval Carlingford with 3 acres of walled mature gardens.

All of Carlingford's ancient buildings dating as far back at 1210 from King John's Castle, the Dominican Friary, and Mint. Taaffe's Castle and old town wall are within a 2 minute walk from the front door. The Tholsel, Medieval Carlingford's old town gate is just 30 meters from the walls of this beautiful Georgian estate.

Situated in a wonderful location just one hour from both Dublin and Belfast with two of Ireland’s three World Heritage sites within easy driving distance - just 45 minutes to Newgrange and a 120-minute drive to the stunning Giant's Causeway.

In addition the recently opened Titanic museum in Belfast and the Dublin Convention Centre are both just a one hour drive from its gates. Ghan House is an oasis of Georgian ambience, gardens and fine dining with beautiful views from every room of Carlingford Lough, The Mourne Mountains or Slieve Foy. It has 12 bedrooms in total ~ 4 in the Main House (1 single and 3 double) and 8 Garden bedrooms located 10 yards to the side of the Main House.  The combination of old world charm allayed with modern requirements seamlessly dovetail together to give a thoroughly unique experience.

 

 

RESTAURANT FORTY-ONE

Rarely does a month pass without Restaurant Forty One scooping another award for its fine-dining. Under the expert guidance of rising talent Graham Neville, the restaurant has flourished in the last three years, with The Irish Times describing the menu as "splendid, impeccable, elegant, perfect" and The Irish Independent praising the restaurant's "air of luxury and comfort" and the "beautifully presented, perfect" food.

Eschewing butter and sugar in favor of olive oil, vegetable and fruit juices — sourced from its very own garden — Graham and his team create fulsome courses, boasting delicate and elegant tastes with sumptuous depth. To complement the incredible edibles, sommelier Victor Nedelea provides a breathtaking, world-class wine list, including rare wine and small wine producers. The staff, meanwhile, are attentive and mindful. This is fine-dining without the stuffiness.

The restaurant can host up to 52 guests in the front and main room, with an additional two private dining rooms (with both catering for up to 10 guests each). Tasting menus and special requests are willingly accommodated, and wine tastings and dinner evenings are always available.

 

 

ROAD RACE CYCLING

During the recession in the mid-eighties, Ireland was starved for sporting heroes. Jack Charlton’s football army was not yet imaginable and Barry McGuigan had lost his boxing world title after on his third defense. But Ireland was not short of global sporting superstars. Sean Kelly, a teak-tough farmer’s son from Waterford, and Stephen Roche, a more urbane city boy from Dundrum, South Dublin, were at the top of their careers. Sales of racing bikes had gone through the roof and kids all over the country went haring around the country roads imagining they were pro cyclists.

When Sean Kelly won the National Junior Road Race Championship in 1973 as a country lad from County Waterford, very few could predict that he would go on to be one of the best riders of his generation. Whilst the top step on the podium of the World Championship and The Tour de France escaped him, he went on to win virtually every Classic cycling event on the World cycling calendar and for a number of years ended up at the top of the World rankings.

Kelly was quickly known as the King of the Classics and although now retired for many years, it is a title he is still known by. Kelly was best known for his classics victories but he also had an immense record in the Tour de France. He finished the race in 7th place in 1983, 5th in 1984 and 4th in 1985. He also won five stages of the Tour; surprisingly his last came as far back as 1982. He also finished in the Top 10 of a Tour Stage on more than 100 occasions, which is an amazing feat in itself. The Tour de France organization paid its respect to Sean Kelly’s career by routing the 1998 Tour De France through Sean Kelly Square in his hometown of Carrick-on-Suir in Co. Waterford.

 

 

ST. PATRICK'S DAY DINNER

Did you know that Corned Beef and Cabbage isn’t actually the national dish of Ireland. You wouldn’t eat it on St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, nor would you be likely to find it in Cork. So how did Corned Beef and Cabbage become synonymous with the Irish?

During the time of the Irish immigration to the U.S., the first generation of Irish-Americans were in search of the comforting tastes of their homeland. On St. Paddy's Day that meant boiled bacon. But the immigrants were too poor to afford the high price of pork and bacon products. Instead, they turned to the cheapest cut of meat available: beef brisket. Given that New York City was a melting pot for immigrants from around the world, rather than boil the beef, the Irish adopted cooking methods from other cultures. Brining was a technique of the Eastern Europeans, which is a way of salt-curing meat. And the corn? Well, “corned” has nothing to do with corn but instead refers to the corn-sized salt crystals used during the brining process. The corned beef was paired with cabbage, as it was one of the cheapest vegetables available to the Irish immigrants.

We are featuring the St Patrick's Day Festival in Dublin this year as one of our highlights so we thought it would be fun to show you recipes that you would find in Dublin on St Patrick's Day. Ireland is an island with brimming with amazing fish and seafood, so what better appetizer than Dublin Bay Prawns or beautiful Fishcakes? Irish Stew with gorgeous Spring Lamb is a staple in Irish households at this time of year. Using fresh and seasonal ingredients, this warming hearty dish is perfect to eat after the Parade. It's still chilly in Dublin in March and a plate of Irish Stew will set you up for the celebrations ahead. Black Pudding is considered a delicacy in Ireland. Originally seen as a breakfast food (it's still one of the core ingredients in a Full Irish Breakfast) now the once seemingly innocuous blood sausage has been elevated to the status of gourmet  fare and is often the star of dishes served in fine dining Irish Restaurants. Colcannon, more often associated with Halloween, is a much-loved dinner staple and is commonly found in restaurants the length and breadth of Ireland. Finally, no St Patrick's Day in Ireland would be complete without either a hot toddy (hot whiskey) or an Irish Coffee to keep the chill away - for medicinal purposes of course!

 

 

THE STORY OF SAINT PATRICK

Patrick was almost certainly born before the end of the Roman rule in Britain (400AD), probably in the southwest of England (though the north, Wales and Scotland have all made claims!). Various biographers suggest his given name was Sochet but all that is known for sure is that he refers to himself as Patricius, a Roman name of which Patrick is the Anglicized version.

Calpornious, Patrick’s father, was a deacon who was involved in tax raising so Patrick’s childhood, growing up in a large Roman Villa, would have been very comfortable. In his confession, Patrick wrote ‘according to the World’s reckoning, I was a gentleman’.

Disaster struck at the age of 15. With the roman influence fading, raiders from Ireland were able to develop a thriving slave trade. Such a raiding group took Patrick back to Ireland where he was forced to work as a shepherd. It is believed he lived and worked on the slopes of the imposing Slemish Mountain in County Antrim.

After six years, Patrick dreamed of a message from an angel called Victoricus, who urged him to escape his master. Patrick traveled nearly 200 miles – probably to Waterford – where he completed his escape back to England. Back home, he trained as a priest and within a decade had become a Bishop.

 

 

THE CARLINGFORD LEPRECHAUN

In 1989 a Carlingford publican P.J.OHare was weeding flowerbeds in the town in the early hours of the morning, just as the sun was rising in the Mournes. He heard a piercing scream coming from the area of the slate rock on Foy Mountain, and headed upwards to investigate. Close to the area of the wishing well he came upon an extraordinary sight, lying on the ground close to an area of scorched earth was a small green suit and hat, and a scattering of bones. He picked up the suit and found 4 gold coins in the trouser pocket. Almost immediately P.J. knew what he had found: the first authentic leprechaun suit ever found in Ireland.

He took it to his pub and displayed it and the bones in a glass case for all to see. Thousands came to see it and many believed in its authenticity, however a close friend and confidant, a man named McCoillte didn't believe.

A few years later P.J. died, the pub was sold, and the suit and bones remained there in the glass case. They are there till this day. Nobody ever knew what had happened to the gold coins.

 

 

A PINT OF PLAIN IS YOUR ONLY MAN - FLANN O'BRIEN

When things go wrong and will not come right,
Though you do the best you can,
When life looks black as the hour of night
A pint of plain is your only man.

When money’s tight and hard to get
And your horse has also ran,
When all you have is a heap of debt
A pint of plain is your only man.

When health is bad and your heart feels strange,
And your face is pale and wan,
When doctors say you need a change,
A pint of plain is your only man.