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

 

 

 

 
 

THE VERY BEST OF CELTIC THUNDER - NEW DATES RELEASED

Celtic Thunder have just announced that they will be adding more US cities to their upcoming Very Best of Celtic Thunder Tour!! Now fans in Cleveland OH, Baltimore MD, Hershey PA, Torrington CT, Roanoke VA, Lakeland & 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 general Celtic Thunder pre-sale and on-sale dates fans should check the tour page on the Celtic Thunder website www.celticthunder.com/best/. VIP Artist Event Passes and Soundcheck Party Passes for the Very Best of Celtic Thunder Tour dates are also available on tour page of the website. Meet and Greet passes as ever are available exclusively through Public Television, please check with your local station for availability.

A new CD – The Very Best of Celtic Thunder will give fans an additional opportunity to listen to the songs they saw on the Very Best of Tour. The Very Best of Celtic Thunder CD is slated for release on March 10th 2015 on the Sony Legacy label.

 

 

VIP ARTIST EVENTS - THE VERY BEST OF CELTIC THUNDER TOUR

Finally, passes for the post-show VIP Artist Events for the Very Best of Celtic Thunder are here! The VIP Artist Event will take place approximately 15 minutes after the concert at the venue in ALL cities. This event will offer attendees an exclusive behind the scenes looks at the tour, and guests are able to take candid photos with their cameras during the event and will also have the opportunity to pose for a photo with the 2 Celtic Thunder members in attendance. Attendees will be able to take a souvenir VIP Artist Events Brochure with them at the end of the VIP Artist Event, autographed by all Celtic Thunder principals.

 

SOUND CHECK PARTY PASSES - THE VERY BEST OF CELTIC THUNDER

Finally, passes for the pre-show Soundcheck Party for the Very Best of Celtic Thunder are here! The Soundcheck Parties take place at 4pm on show day in ALL cities. This event will offer attendees an exclusive behind the scenes looks at the tour, and guests are able to take candid photos (as photos are not permitted during a live Celtic Thunder Show) as they watch Celtic Thunder sound check and rehearse a few numbers for that night’s show. Attendees will also receive a souvenir Soundcheck Party Brochure to take them at the end of the Sound Check Party.

 

DAMIAN MCGINTY

In less than a decade, Damian McGinty has gone from a virtually unknown singer in his local church choir, to an internationally adored singer and actor with a fan base almost ten times the size of his hometown population. 

22-year-old Damian was born in Derry, Northern Ireland. His career began at the age of 13 when he recorded a charity CD, and his unmistakable talent and charisma quickly catapulted him into fame and success. Selected in 2007 by producer Sharon Browne and musical director Phil Coulter to join the inaugural cast of Celtic Thunder, Damian quickly became a fan favorite for his friendly charm and his deep baritone voice. In the time he was with the group, Damian performed in six specials for Public Television and completed four coast-to-coast tours of the U.S. and Canada, and Celtic Thunder sold over one million CDs and DVDs as well as over 400,000 concert tickets.

 

 

BE OUR VALENTINE!

We have great new merchandise in our Celtic Thunder store and as a special gift to our lovely fans we will send you 6 Butler’s Handmade Irish Chocolates with every order! This offer applies from all orders placed from Monday Jan 26th to Saturday February 14th 2015.

Here is a selection of some of the wonderful new items in the Celtic Thunder store. Check them out on the side of the page, just click on the item to view!

ALL Celtic Thunder DVDs purchased from the Celtic Thunder Store have no REGIONAL BLOCKS and will work anywhere in the world. With quick WORLDWIDE Shipping, the Celtic Thunder Store makes it easy to shop for yourself and loved ones.

The Online Store also stocks a wide variety of Sterling Silver Jewelry that is made in Ireland and is assayed for fineness and Hallmarked at the Assay Office in Dublin Castle.

 

 

THE VERY BEST OF CELTIC THUNDER - NEW CD

Celtic Thunder’s latest album “The Very Best of Celtic Thunder” will go on sale on March 10th 2015 on the Sony Records Legacy label.The album features twenty of fans favorite big ensemble numbers chosen from Celtic Thunder shows down through the years with recordings newly updated to include Colm Keegan and Emmett O’Hanlon. Big opening numbers Heartland and show finales Ireland’s Call and My Land are present on the CD alongside other Celtic Thunder classics Take Me Home, Caledonia and Mo Ghile Mear, while the a cappella numbers Hallelujah and Amazing Grace bear proof to the vocal dexterity and wonderful harmonies of the principal artists in the ensemble.

 

 

SIGNING FOR CHARITY

Celtic Thunder fans who attended the post show VIP events on the Symphony Tour, took time out to sign a Celtic Thunder 8’x10’ banner. Over the course of 21 shows we invited our Celtic Thunder Fans to sign or leave a note on the Celtic Thunder Logo Banner. The city name for each tour date was also designed and hand drawn onto the banner by members of Celtic Thunder cast and crew - Music Director David Munro, Conductor David Brophy, Singer Keith Harkin and Band Member Dave Bakey to name but a few. On the very last night of the tour, Keith, Ryan, Neil, Emmett and Colm signed the banner. We thought it a really cool and a perfect and unique piece of Celtic Thunder memorabilia for the Fan who has everything!!

 

 

CELTIC THUNDER COMPETITION

Celtic Thunder hosted a competition on the Celtic Thunder Symphony Tour last fall that offered our audiences a chance to win a pair of tickets to an upcoming Very Best of Celtic Thunder Show of their choice! We have selected 22 lucky winners and will be giving away 44 tickets to the Very Best of Tour. Winners have been contacted by email.

It’s our way of saying thanks to our fans for your continued support of Celtic Thunder, and please enjoy the next show on us!

Here are our 22 lucky winners!!!

 

 

CLANNAD

Clannad is an Irish family group responsible for such timeless music as ‘Theme From Harry’s Game’, ‘In A Lifetime’, ‘I Will Find You’ and the sound track to the ‘Robin Of Sherwood’ TV series and 2013 saw them mark their 40th Anniversary.

Over the decades, Clannad have made music that entwines the traditional and the modern, the past and the future, with stunningly beautiful results. With their haunting songs, mesmerizing vocals, and captivating sound the group has sold over fifteen million records worldwide.

The band first came to prominence in the UK in late 1982 when after the hard hitting drama ‘Harry’s Game’ was aired, their evocative theme song was propelled into the high reaches of the UK singles chart. This was no overnight success though, the band already had years of touring and six albums under their belt.

 

 

IRELAND GETS IT'S OWN ORIENT EXPRESS

The Belmond Grand Hibernian will be the first luxury overnight rail experience of its kind in Ireland, and will tour the magnificent open countryside, dramatic coastal scenery and fascinating cities of both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The Orient Express-style sleeper train is being launched by Belmond, which owns and operates over 40 unique and distinctive luxury travel experiences in many of the world’s most celebrated destinations.

It has been named after Hibernia, the classical Latin word for Ireland.

The Grand Hibernian’s 10 carriages will have exclusive accommodation for just 40 guests, travelling in 20 elegant, in-suite cabins, and there will also be two restaurant cars and an observation bar car.

 

 

IRELAND ON A BUDGET

How do you put a value on the experience of a lifetime? You have not lived until you have walked the stones at the Giant’s Causeway, or ridden a horse along the stunning beaches of the Kerry coastline, or settled down to an evening of fine food and dancing at the Bunratty medieval banquet. These are just some of the highlights that make Ireland a unique vacation destination and a must for 2015.

Ireland offers a wide range of attractions. There are accommodations to suit every taste and pocket, from ancient castles and luxury five-star hotels to golf and spa resorts, from modestly priced hotels to cozy guesthouses and family-run farmhouses. You might even rent your very own cottage!

Ireland is rightly famed for its natural beauty. It is indeed a land of verdant hills and fields, rumpled mountains laced with peaty streams, and stunning beaches. But it is equally renowned for its warm welcome and for the value for money it offers its guests.

 

 

THE GARDENS OF IRELAND

Perched on the western edge of Europe, it’s not hard to see why Ireland has become known as the Emerald Isle. But as well as a landscape bounteous in natural beauty, Ireland is also famed for its hauntingly beautiful cultivated gardens with exotic, verdurous plants, mystical greenery and intriguing character. From the sub-Arctic flowers of County Clare to the wild strawberry trees of Kerry and Cork, Ireland is ablaze with color throughout the four seasons so take a tour and set senses alight!

Ireland’s history will sets imagination on fire. And its corresponding castle strongholds, gothic revival houses, formal 17th-century gardens, landscaped parks, rustic wilderness gardens, cottage gardens, botanic gardens and arboreta offer a vibrant insight into Irish cultural life, past and present.

Tender tree ferns from Australia, exotic banana plants from Japan, primulas from the Alps and sunny daisies from South Africa all thrive in Ireland’s renowned soft climate.

 

 

ST. VALENTINES DAY RECIPES

Saint Valentine, patron saint of lovers, is an Irish saint... by adoption at least. Not as important in Irish culture as Saint Patrick perhaps, but as much an international force to be reckoned with. St Valentine's final resting place is in Dublin's Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church, where a special mass for lovers is held every February 14th. Maybe the place to be when spending Saint Valentine's Day in Dublin with your beloved (be sure to check out the history of St Valentine in this edition of The Celtic Times). But, if you can't make it to Dublin this Feb 14th, why not cook an Irish themed romantic dinner for the special someone? Here you will find a wonderful appetizer, entree and dessert, a veritable feast for lovers!

 

 

YEATS 2015 - 150 YEAR CELEBRATION

Irish President Michael D Higgins is a patron of Yeats 2015; the President is not only as a lover of Yeats, but also a lauded poet in his own right.

President Higgins has expressed his great honor at becoming patron and has recorded his own reading of the poem Prayer for my Daughter.

Followers of Irish literature will not want to miss this year’s national and international celebration marking the 150 years since the birth of WB Yeats, one of the country’s greatest literary figures.

The year-long Yeats 2015 event will celebrate and commemorate the life, works, influence and achievements of the poet, dramatist, Nobel-prize winner and Irish national treasure, who was born on 13 June, 1865.

 

 

TRADFEST - TEMPLE BAR IS BACK!

Dublin’s biggest & best Festival of Irish Traditional & Folk Music celebrates 10 years: 28 Jan – 1 Feb 2015

2015 will mark the tenth year of the hugely successful TradFest, based in Dublin’s Temple Bar, which showcases the full spectrum of traditional & folk music in some of the city’s most unique venues. Now a firm favorite on the Irish Festival Calendar TradFest Temple Bar is the biggest and best Festival of Irish Music and Culture in Dublin and regularly attracts over 18,000 international visitors each year. Running from 28 Jan to 1 Feb 2015, tickets are now on sale www.templebartrad.com.

Line up includes:Donovan, Beoga & Big Band, Levellers, Hothouse Flowers, Cara Dillon, Danú, DeBARRA, Mick Flannery, Liam O'Flynn, Mícheal Ó Súilleabháin, Paddy Glackin & Neil Martin The Irish Concertina Ensemble, Karine Polwart, Sweeney’s Men, Matt Molloy, John Carty and Arty McGlynn, Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman, Coda, The Undertones, John Sheahan, Damien Dempsey, Declan O’Rourke & Susan McKeown.

 

 

GAME TO THRONES - THE CHILDREN

We’ve reached the end of Game of Thrones for another season, and it was a cracker. Swords, crossbows, magic, daggers and dragons all contributed to the brutal finale. Jon Snow meets a King, Khaleesi makes a tough decision about her children and the bells toll in King's Landing. But saying goodbye to Westeros doesn’t mean saying goodbye to Northern Ireland…

You’re never far from a scene-stealing Game of Thrones location here. But we know these places better by their local names…

Like the Dothraki grasslands of the Shillanavogy Valley in Country Antrim, the King's Road that leads past the Dark Hedges and on to Armoy, or the fabled Iron Islands' harbor at Ballintoy.

There’s been more of the series shot in Northern Ireland than anywhere else in the world. So go forth – it’s time to explore Game of Thrones territory.

 

 

YEATS COUNTRY - SILGO COUNTY

Hills honed by nature into fantastic shapes. Cascading streams and lake-lapped valleys. Wide bays and long, golden beaches. Immortalized by the poet, W.B.Yeats. An abundance of megalithic monuments. A playground of incredible beauty. Sail into the sunset. Trek trail. Climb a mountain. Ride a wave. Appreciate wildlife. Emerge in the history. Or just switch off! Enjoy the views. The food. The shopping. The company. The theatre and the arts. Young or old, active or passive, Sligo is the Land of Hearts Desire.

As the inspiration for the poet W.B.Yeats, Sligo offers the greatest concentration of megalithic monuments in Europe. Furthermore, the county has a renowned reputation for famous traditional music and also offers majestic links golf courses, superb horse riding centres and a marvelous mix of beach, mountains and lakes.

Cape Town has Table Mountain; Sligo has its Ben Bulben, the flagship feature of a county and coastline famous the world over as Yeats Country...

 

 

FINE ART - JACK BUTLER YEATS

On a cool crisp Eve, with a swelling crowd pressing in tightly, they sang on behalf of The Simon Community, a charity that helps the homeless, named after Simon of Cyrene. The organization oversees a number of shelters run by local volunteers.

“Bono! Bono! Bono!” voices in the crush of people cried out, as they tried to get closer to the legendary Irish rock musician, well known for his activism on behalf of Africa and numerous other causes.

“Step back a bit – we’re going to sing songs,” said Irish songwriter Glen Hansard, as he stood next to Bono with a guitar in hand. Hansard is a guitarist for the Irish group The Frames, and half of the folk rock duo The Swell Season.

Between Trinity College to the north and St. Stephens Green to the south, on one of the busiest shopping streets in the world, Bono’s voice carried above and through the throng,  “Oh come let us adore Him, Oh come let us adore Him, Oh come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”

 

 

CASTLE DARGAN - SLIGO

Castle Dargan Hotel Sligo offers unsurpassed accommodation with facilities ranging from stunning en suite guest hotel rooms and Wall Garden Apartments/Lodges to the magnificent Castle Dargan House Premier Suites all of which present an old world charm with modern day 4 Star Hotel comforts.

Their signature hotel beds; The Vogue & Elegance mattresses with Feather Down Duvets & Pillows are a feature in every guest accommodation bedroom, ensuring a peaceful nights slumber.

Set on 170 acres of rolling parkland in a stunning country setting, the 4-star Castle Dargan Resort, complete with a Darren Clarke designed golf course and Icon Spa, is the ideal venue for a relaxing break. Located just a short ten minute drive from Sligo town, the resort’s centerpiece is the opulent Castle Dargan House, built in the 18th century and lovingly restored to modern standards. Castle Dargan Resort has built its reputation for excellence and high standards in customer care and has established the Sligo Hotel as the first choice destination for Weddings in Sligo, Golfing Breaks, Conference's & Holiday Breaks in Sligo and the North West of Ireland.

 

 

DINING - EALA BHAN

Following on the success of the Strandhill seafood restaurant, Trá Bán, Anthony Gray opened this town center fine dining restaurant in December 2011. Like its older sister, Eala Bhán (‘White Swan’) soon established an enviable reputation with local diners; this has stood the test of time and Eala Bhàn is a favored destination for any special meal out, so weekend tables need to be booked well in advance.

Located in an attractive riverside premises that has been home to several restaurants, including one of Conrad Gallagher’s brief Sligo ventures, the interior is cleverly divided by curved wrought iron railings and its focal point - two floor to ceiling curtain ‘walls' of double thickness cream voile with fairy lights are hung between the layers - is reminiscent of the eponymous swan.

Block mounted photographs inspired by nature decorate the walls, and tables – which include two especially desirable window tables looking out on the river - are smartly set up bistro style.

 

 

SURFING IN IRELAND

Supreme Waverider Kelly Slater had heard the rumours and they turned out to be true: Ireland’s west coast was "a cold paradise". In fact, he describes it as "like a little party out on the water". No further endorsement needed, it’s time to head to surf capital Bundoran

We're on shore in Bundoran, where the sky hangs bruised to purple, as if swelling up with the makings of a good night’s rain. Into that sky flies a spinning BMX, attached to it someone else who knows a thing or two about bruises.

Around the stage, hands are in the air, paper cups are held aloft and surfboards stick out of the sand like an informal sculpture.

This is Donegal (according to US news channel CNN, Donegal's coastranks among the top 50 surfing locations in the world); this is Sea Sessions Surf & Music Festival, one of the coolest and quirkiest new festivals on the calendar.

 

 

VALENTINES DAY IN IRELAND

Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus. One legend says that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young, unattached males. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages in secret for young lovers. When Valentine's defiance was discovered, Claudius ordered him put to death. Another story suggests that Valentine may have been martyred for trying to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. Yet another legend says the saint was the one who sent the very first Valentine. According to the story, he fell in love with the jailer's daughter while he was in prison and sent her a message of affection, signed "From Your Valentine."

While much of what is written about the saint is, at best, very murky and unreliable, these stories certainly illustrate his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, romantic figure. So, it's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France. But why is his day celebrated in mid-February? There are those that believe it's to commemorate the anniversary of his death which occurred around 270 AD. However, it's more likely that the Church decided to make this day the feast of St. Valentine in an effort to Christianize Lupercalia, an ancient pagan festival. In ancient Rome, February was the official beginning of spring and was considered a time for purification.

 

 

MYTHS & LEGENDS - QUEEN MAEB

Most notably Queen Medb was the warrior queen of Connacht, the western province of Ireland.  It is said that her father was king of Connacht before becoming High King of Ireland and she became ruler of Connacht after him.  She had five recognized husbands, and ruled for over 60 years.  She was also said to be the reason her husbands became kings, that to be the ruler of Connacht they had to be 'married to Medb' as in married to the land. The first mention of Medb is in the Cave of Cruachan, Oweynagat, in the form of an Ogham inscription on the lintel stone placed in the cave during the 4th or 5th century AD. She appears in much of the literature of early Ireland, and our most famous epic literary tale, the Táin Bó Cuilnge (Cattle Raid of Cooley) revolves around her, despite being known as the Ulster Cycle.

 

 

LAKE ISLE OF INISFREE - WB YEATS

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.