Celtic Thunder’s October dates in Minot and Thackerville are almost here! CT will return to the US on Oct. 1, 2015 for their first-ever festival engagement at the Norsk Hostfest in Minot, North Dakota and then onto the WinStar World Casino Resort in Thackerville OK for an Oct. 3rd show. Both shows are entitled “An Evening with Celtic Thunder” will feature both past and present members of the Celtic Thunder cast.

Fans will be delighted to welcome back former Celtic Thunder members Paul Byrom, Emmet Cahill and Damian McGinty for these two very special evenings. Paul, Emmet and Damian will be featured as guest artists and will be performing alongside current CT cast members Ryan Kelly, Colm Keegan and Neil Byrne.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to see Celtic Thunder members from down through the years! Tickets for both shows are now onsale. Norst Hostfest tickets can be purchased HERE. Tickets for WinStar World Casino and  Resort can be purchased HERE.




Over the past four years, Emmet’s life has been transformed from a young man pursuing a career in classical music to being plunged into the world of touring across cities and performing to thousands of fans with world renowned Irish music show Celtic Thunder. After three years of phenomenal success, including three albums shooting to number 1 on the world billboard charts, Emmet began preparing to carve out his own unique identity as a solo artist, with an eagerly anticipated debut solo album due to be released in late 2015/ early 2016.

Growing up in a musical household, pursuing a career in music was always a natural path for Emmet to take. From the tender age of four, his father began to provide music lessons, leading to a 5 year ‘Schola Cantorum’ music scholarship at his local secondary school. After attending formal classical training at the prestigious Royal Irish Academy of Music, Emmet soon found himself touring the world, from the United States, to Canada, to Australia as a lead vocalist with Celtic Thunder and relishing every moment of it.

”It’s quite a surreal feeling waiting backstage in such famous venues like ‘The Fox Theatre’s’ in America. You see the signatures on the walls of some of the most famous artists of all time. Your thinking, I’m about to go on and perform on the same stage as those musical icons…They are the moments you really cherish”



As many of our fans are aware, Celtic Thunder has recently joined forces with Sony Entertainment. We have been working to re-release all of our catalog items on our new record label (the CDs are currently available on iTunes). Physical CDs and DVDs will be available at retail on October 30th 2015, as will digital downloads on DVD for the first time ever!

In addition our new partnership with Sony we are in the planning stages of a new tour of the US and Canada that will run for the last 4 months of 2016. More details will be announced in time, so keep checking back with us! This will be one of the largest tours Celtic Thunder has ever undertaken. The show that we will be touring will be based on the one that filmed in Casino Rama in March 2015.

There will be a new Special for Public Television airing in March 2016 with the CD and DVD from the show going on release in February 2016.



We launched  our brand new CELTIC THUNDER WEBSITE back in September 2014 and we hope you have been enjoying the new features and highlights! It's an absolute treasure trove of all things Celtic Thunder. 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 find out about upcoming tour dates, ticket pre-sales,watch Celtic Thunder videos and read the latest news on CT on The Celtic Times, while getting automatic Twitter and Facebook updates in Real Time.

The Celtic Thunder Official Fan Club also launched back in September 2014 and we thank all of our fans who have already signed up. You can see a comprehensive list of Fan Club benefits by selecting a Fan Club tab on the left of the page (Platinum, Gold and Green). The Fan Club is FREE to all who wants to join, with the option to upgrade to a paid subscriptions for additional perks.



Did you know that Halloween first started in Ireland?

Samhain, the ancient Celtic Festival that we now call Halloween, originated in Co. Meath more than 2,000 years ago. Samhain marks the end of the old Celtic Year and the beginning of the New Year; the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death.

The Celts believed during this time of transition the veil between our world and the next came down, and the spirits of all who had died since the last Oíche Shamhna (Night of Samhain) moved on to the next life. On the night before the new year (October 31) the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred and it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.

One of the main spiritual centres of the ancient Celts was located on top of the hill of Tlachtga, now called the Hill of Ward, one mile east of Athboy, Co. Meath. The Druids felt that this world and the other world were closest at Tlachtga. It was here on the festival of Samhain that the sacred fire was kindled. It was custom of the Druids to assemble on Tlachtga on the eve of Samhain and that a fire was lit on which offerings were made. All the fires in Ireland were quenched on this night and the men of Ireland were forbidden to relight them except from the fire of Tlachtga.




Ashford Castle has been voted the world's number one hotel by Virtuoso, an international network of luxury travel agencies.

The announcement was made last night at the “Best of the Best” awards at the annual Virtuoso Travel Week event, a luxury travel show which is taking place in Las Vegas. The annual competition recognizes the travel industry’s top properties and hoteliers. This was the first time ever that an Irish hotel was nominated.

Congratulating Ashford Castle on being voted the “best of the best” hotel, Alison Metcalfe, Executive Vice President Tourism Ireland US and Canada said “This award is richly deserved. There are almost 1,100 five star, luxury properties in the Virtuoso hotel and resorts portfolio, and in that light, Ashford’s nomination – and subsequent win last night – is a wonderful achievement and is a wonderful recognition of the hard work of general manager Niall Rochford and his team, in building Ashford as an iconic brand in North America over many years.”




Behind Bram Stoker: What inspired him to create the prince of darkness and the annual festival that honors both the man and the monster.

Abraham Stoker (1847 – 1912) was born in Clontarf, Dublin, a leafy seaside suburb five kilometers from the city center, as the bat flies. Bram, as he was known, was bedbound until the age of seven, a time when his mother Charlotte would fuel his imagination with macabre tales and Irish folklore from her native County Sligo. He recovered and went on to attend Trinity College Dublin and spent much time devouring books over at Marsh’s Library, the oldest public library in Ireland and home to the death mask of Gulliver’s Travels author Jonathan Swift. Trinity’s elegant patchwork of historic buildings, old libraries and cobblestones haven’t changed much since Stoker roamed here as a student, where he was a university athletics champion, a capped footballer, and President of the Philosophical Society.

Dracula has since become one of pop culture’s great icons and, each October, legions of horror lovers descend on Dublin’s Gothic heart to celebrate the Count and his creator. It’s a weekend of ghastly thrills and ghostly spills around the city, family events and late-night antics, large-scale spectacles and much more.




Devotees of contemporary design should pencil in a date with the island of Ireland in 2015 – the country has set aside the entire year for a big celebration of Irish design in just about every form.

Irish Design 2015 is an initiative with an Irish heart and international reach. It is a year-long exploration into the value of design and achieving change through design.

Through a year-long programme of events, Irish Design 2015 are working towards:
Raising the profile of Irish design, at home and abroad. Increasing awareness of the value of design in all aspects of life. Building on the international reputation of Irish design. Encouraging links between local and global Irish designers. Showcasing the importance of design to success in business and as a driver of economic growth.

As part of this action plan, Irish Design 2015 aims to raising the profile of Irish design, at home and abroad. Increasing awareness of the value of design in all aspects of life.

Design is present in every aspect of our lives, from the everyday to the spectacular, from our takeaway coffee cup to the cutting edge of innovation in science, business and technology. ID2015 celebrates and promotes design across a wide range of disciplines.
Disciplines: Animation, Architecture, Costume, Craft, Education, Engineering, Fashion, Film, Food, Furniture, Graphic Design, Interaction, Jewelry, Landscape, Medical, Music, Product, Service, Set, Textile, Theatre.




Tourism Ireland join with Minister Deenihan to invite diaspora home to run SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon.

Minister for the Diaspora, Jimmy Deenihan, TD, has joined forces with Tourism Ireland and Sonia O’Sullivan to invite members of the Irish diaspora home to run the SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon on October 26th, 2015. Speaking at the launch, Minister Deenihan said: “The SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon is one of Ireland’s most prestigious sporting events. I hope that members of our diaspora will consider signing up and travelling home to take part. The marathon is an opportunity not only to visit home but also to meet with other Irish people living and working all over the world.

“The recently launched 'Global Irish: Ireland's Diaspora Policy' emphasized the importance of facilitating two-way diaspora engagement at local, national and international level.  I hope that this effort to bring members of our diaspora back to participate in the SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon will contribute to achieving this and will also encourage other similar initiatives throughout Ireland.”

The high profile sports event will be supplemented by a networking event attended by Tourism Ireland, the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade aimed specifically at giving the diaspora attending an opportunity to network with fellow participants who have travelled home.

This year also gives marathon runners the chance to run with one of Ireland’s most celebrated diaspora, former World Champion Sonia O’Sullivan.




Launching in September 2015, Gaelic Girl Getaways is the first female-only cooking, baking and guided tour of Ireland.

With the success of the Gaelic Girl Goodies Brand (a range of traditional Irish bread mixes sold out of Ireland’s top tourist stores and airports), Gaelic Girl is now offering women the chance to join other ‘Gaelic Girls’ on a culinary delight tour of Ireland. ‘Castles and Cooking’ is the first GG Getaway to give both solo and group female travellers a truly unique tour of Ireland that includes traditional Irish bread and dish making, exploring Ireland’s castles (with a banquet meal) and fun filled trip to the best Irish spots.

‘While Ireland has traditionally been a place to discover your ancestral roots and visit the ‘old sod’, in recent times we have seen a huge increase in the number of solo female travellers looking for food related tours’, explains Gaelic Girl founder, Sandra Sheerin.

‘We decided to bring like-minded female travellers together on a trip that will give them an authentic taste of Ireland and a unique insight into the old world cuisine of Ireland, even if they can’t boil water in their own home’.

Gaelic Girl Getaways will run their first tour of 2016 on the week of St. Patrick’s Day bringing women around the west coast of Ireland to discover Irish bread-making skills and the origin of authentic Irish dishes hailing from the west coast of the island.

Essentials for Gaelic Girl Getaways - Tastebuds (Guinness or Gourmet) and a wicked sense of humor.




A visit to the Irish capital takes on a whole new life when you drop by Glasnevin Cemetery for an entertaining and fascinating encounter with Dubliners past. A grand and impressive necropolis, and unique as Ireland’s largest cemetery, the Dublin attraction is now one of the most visited in the city thanks to major restorations over recent years.

Since 1828, more than 1.5 million people have been interred in Glasnevin. Rich and famous, paupers and politicians, artists, warriors and heroes all rest side by side in this renowned Victorian Garden Cemetery.

They include a wealth of historic political and literary figures, from Charles Stewart Parnell to Daniel O'Connell, Michael Collins, Éamon de Valera, Maude Gonne and Brendan Behan.  The cemetery’s tour guides, actors, re-enactments, a genealogy service, story-telling, poetry and music all contribute to an unforgettable Dublin experience.

The award-winning museum and guided tours chart the fascinating history of this national monument and vital part of the Irish heritage story, telling stories of grave diggers and grave robbers, epidemics and world wars.  Daily walking tours visit many of the renowned figures that shaped the country, and the tour guides' enthusiasm is compelling. Brimming with banter and charm each guide is passionate about sharing their love of heritage and history.

There is inspiration around every corner and at every grave, and with one and a half million stories buried in Glasnevin, there’s no shortage of tales to tell.  One of the museum's features is that for a set period it picks a random group of 200 people and gives access to information about their life. You can discover what they did, where they lived, how they died and even see pictures of them.

A visit inside Daniel O’Connell’s Celtic Romantic designed Crypt and iconic tower, the tallest in Ireland, forms a highlight of a tour.  A pedestrian walkway also joins Glasnevin with Dublin’s famous National Botanical Gardens to create the second largest green space in the city after the Phoenix Park.




Matchmaking is one of Ireland’s oldest traditions and, for the last couple of hundred years; a good deal of it has taken place in Lisdoonvarna during September and early October. The name Lisdoonvarna comes from ‘Lios Duin Bhearna’, which means the lios or enclosure of the fort in the gap.

The town developed into a tourist center as early as the middle of the 18th-century when a top Limerick surgeon discovered the beneficial effects of its mineral waters. People travelled from near and far to bathe in, and drink, the mineral waters.

Rich in iron, sulphur and magnesium, the waters gave relief from the symptoms of certain diseases including rheumatism and glandular fever. The Spa Hotel was the center around which the village developed.


The opening of the West Clare Railway contributed towards that development, although the nearest railway station was seven miles away at Ennistymon. This station opened in l887 and from that time onwards, until the advent of the motorcar, tourists travelled from the train in pony and trap to ”The Spa”. It was due to the popularity of these mineral springs and the huge amount of people going there that led to the Lisdoonvarna “matchmaking tradition”. September became the peak month of the holiday season and with the harvest safely in, bachelor farmers flocked to Lisdoonvarna in search of a wife.




Waterford has built a reputation as one of the country’s most progressive food producing counties.  From farmers and growers, to restaurateurs, small producers and market leaders, all have put the Waterford stamp firmly on the international food landscape. Waterford Harvest Festival is a showcase for great people and their great food.

The 7th Waterford Harvest Festival takes place throughout Waterford City from Friday, September 11th to Sunday, September 13th with something to suit all taste buds.  Waterford City’s main thoroughfares will be transformed into a smorgasbord of flavors, aromas and heritage with festival markets, harvest kitchens, wine appreciation classes, junior food craft classes, celebrity cooking demonstrations and much more.

Festival Chair, Paul Nolan said the Festival will put a well-deserved spotlight on Waterford Food Heroes.  “Heroes is a pretty grand term, but that is what they are!  Waterford is enjoying a resurgent food movement and that is down to those who grow, cultivate, produce, create, serve and champion great local food.”

“It is worth noting that we now have a number of producers working together as they realize that their strength lies in collaboration in order to harness the Waterford food brand.  Some examples of these collaborations include EnterpRISING Food Network, EAT Waterford and the Waterford Blaa Bakers Association.”

“We want to give these heroes the opportunity to showcase what they do best and what better way than at the Waterford Harvest Festival.”



With Ireland being famous for its Saints and Scholars  it comes as no surprise that its also a country famous for its blessings.

Some blessing maybe hundreds of years old when others could have been created last week. So what is an Irish blessing?

For one thing, Irish blessings is about welcoming, warmth and turning a negative situation into a positive one. Its no wonder the people in Ireland tried to stay positive with its long history of misery.

Click below to see some examples of Irish Blessing.




Brian Boru was the last king of Ireland and is said to have been born around 940-950 in Thomond, now known as County Clare, to his mother Bé Binn and father, King Cennétig mac Lorcáin.

Brian’s mother was killed by Vikings when he was a child and being the youngest of two sons, Brian never became king until his father died, and then was succeeded by his older brother, Mathgamain. Mathgamain then died around 976 and this is when Brian became king, at around 30 years of age and was to soon begin his reign as the last High King of Ireland.


Brian Boru proceeded to battle with lesser kings in Ireland resulting in him ruling the whole of Munster; he then went on to  conquer Leinster. Brian met with Mael Sechnaill II, the current High King of Ireland at the time, in 997-998 and between them they divided Ireland – Brian King of the North, and Mael Sechnaill the King of the South.


In 1002, Mael Sechnaill II recognized Brian Boru as King of Ireland after he defeated the King of Dublin and the Norse Settlers, a feat that was almost impossible for any king to do. Mael knew that Boru was seen as a hero in his people’s eyes - he had brought Ireland back from its knees after the invasion of the Vikings, and he knew he was no competition to Brian Boru.

The Reign of Brian Boru as High King of Ireland began. The origin of this name ( ‘Brian of the Tributes’) came from the tributes he was given from minor rulers throughout Ireland and how he used these tributes (mostly money) to restore important structures such as monasteries and libraries which were ruined during the Viking Invasion, he even sent overseas for lost artifacts and books.




Ireland's number one visitor attraction – is a must on any trip to Dublin.

Since opening its doors in 2000, the Guinness Storehouse, a seven story treasure trove of all things Guinness, has welcomed in excess of 13 million people.

The storehouse offers an unforgettable journey deep into the heart of the world-famous pint, brand and company.  The famous St James's Gate Brewery has been home to the 'black stuff' since 1759 and the historical building is central to Dublin's and Ireland's heritage.  This must-do brewery experience tells the tale of Ireland's famous stout in a multimedia bells-and-whistles homage to the country's most celebrated export and one of the city's most enduring symbols.

The pint glass-shaped tower rises seven impressive storys around a stunning central atrium. At the top is the Gravity Bar offering with panoramic 360⁰ views of Dublin.  People from all corners of the world come to visit the birthplace of Guinness.

Interactive exhibits demonstrate the brewing process and explore the history behind the legendary stout.  A treat for the senses, the self-guided tour allows guests to look at old ads, touch the barley, smell the hops, hear the waterfall, learn how to pour the perfect pint in the Guinness Academy, and finally, to taste the finished product straight from the barrel.

The experience starts in the atrium at the bottom of 'the world's largest pint glass'. The 9,000 year lease that founder Arthur Guinness signed on the St James's Gate Brewery, which marks the beginning of the Guinness story is on display.




John Sheedy’s passion for great food has earned them numerous awards and when you see his resume, it comes as no surprise!

John started his career as a chef in the mid 1980s in the Michelin Star restaurant of the Plaza Athénée in Paris before returning to Ireland to the Blue Book Property, Longueville House in Mallow Co. Cork.

While at Longueville, he was responsible for a team that earned the restaurant five Michelin Bib Gourmand ratings over five different years. The bib Gourmand rating means the retaurant is a Michelin inspector's favourite for good food at moderate prices - a principle that John stands over in his own restaurant at Sheedy's in Lisdoonvarna.

After Longueville, John moved to Ashford Castle as Chef de Cuisine for nine years. During his time in one of Ireland's most famous castles, he was invited to New York to cook for many dignitaries at the opening of Ellis Island, and also did a cookery programme on world class cuisine for the Discovery Channel.

Although John is happiest when he is in the Kitchen, he has also managed to take a little time out to pen some wonderful recipes for a number of books including "The Great Game Book", "The Great Fish Book" and "The Keith Floyd Recipe Book".




“As our guests often tell us, from the moment you enter the long drive into our grounds, you'll feel the stresses of modern life ebb away. The first thing you'll notice is the genuine friendliness of your welcome. The second is the relaxed charm of the atmospheric Georgian house itself with its elegant lounges, delightful bedrooms and beautiful grounds. Linger in our heated swimming pool, indulge in a holistic beauty treatment or enjoy games of tennis on our two courts without leaving our grounds.”

One of Ireland's friendliest and most atmospheric period houses. Rathmullan House is a 4 Star Luxury Hotel. Set in idyllic wooded grounds overlooking Lough Swilly in Co Donegal and just a few steps from a two-mile long golden beach, the luxury hotel and restaurant is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the good things in life.

Renowned for award-winning food, locally sourced and expertly cooked, and beautifully furnished bedrooms, what brings it all together is the genuine family warmth of the welcome you receive here.

The second generation of the Wheeler family now run the 4 star hotel and look forward to welcoming you to Rathmullan House.

With its stunning location, right beside the sea, you can stroll through the gardens of this lovely old house down to a mile long sandy beach.

Inside has a comfortable and informal country house style with rooms to suit everyone, from romantic garden rooms with freestanding bath tubs to large garret rooms for whole families.

The beach provides endless entertainment-walk it, jog it, comb it, ride it, occasionally even lie on it when the weather is good! But there is also an indoor heated pool, sauna, tennis courts, massages and holistic treatments at the hotel. books, boardgames, DVDs and jigsaws for the less energetic. Nearby, there are lots of excellent links, including Portsalon, Rospenna and Ballyliffin, providing golf at geat value. (Green fees from €25). Charter a boat and go fishing or dolphin spotting, stride the beach, surf the waves, visit Glenveagh Castle and Gardens or find a pub and drink in the views.




Since its formation in 2004, Celtic Woman has emerged as both a spectacular commercial success and a global cultural phenomenon. The group’s uplifting mix of timeless tradition and contemporary craft has transcended national and cultural borders to touch the hearts of a devoted international fan base, who’ve embraced Celtic Woman’s hugely successful Public Television specials and made their CDs and DVDs into multi-platinum best-sellers. The group’s albums have sold more than seven million copies around the world.

The distinctive ensemble of female performers, originally comprised of four singers and a violinist, was first brought together in 2004 for a TV concert from The Helix in Dublin. The 2005 PBS broadcast of this concert introduced Celtic Woman to American audiences and their popularity has continued to grow in the U.S. ever since amongst a dedicated and loyal audience of fans.

Celtic Woman’s previous public television specials were filmed at historic locations around Ireland, including Slane Castle and Powerscourt House & Gardens. The first Celtic Woman concert taped in the United States is "BELIEVE" (featured in this month’s Celtic Times), at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, GA. Their latest concert special entitled Emerald Gems was filmed in South Bend IN in April 2013.




The All Ireland Gaelic Football Final, which takes place in Dublin's Croke Park, is the climax of Ireland’s most popular sporting season. But whose colors will you be waving on the day? On match day, this iconic stadium is packed to the rafters, creating an atmosphere perhaps unparalleled to any other sporting occasion across Europe!

With Gaelic football having been a national pastime since the 16th century, catching a game is an incredible dose of Irish culture as much as it is a thrilling sporting showcase.

The most widely played sport in Ireland is Gaelic Football, which along with Hurling is organized by the Gaelic Athletics Association (GAA) and is the national sport of Ireland.




... the low sun is turning everything golden. The harvest is gathering. Flavours are turning earthier. It’s a particularly good period for Irish ingredients.
Fall, or autumn as we call it,  is a magical time in Ireland…the colors shift from cool greens to dazzling yellow, orange & gold. The bustle of summer dies down & the winding country roads are once again filled with the whisper of the trees. This is the time for blackberry picking or spending a crisp golden day on a bike ride, or on a golf course.

Our autumnal fare reflects the crispness in the air and the earlier arrival of nightfall; we seek out more filling and comfort foods. Curly kale is at its best at this time of year, and colcannons and champs starting appearing on menus across the country. Hearty soups, such as the Potato Soup in this month’s recipes bring that warm, comforting feeling.

In Ireland the old rule that native oysters should only be eaten when there is an ´r´ in the month is the cue for September to kick-off the oyster season. The Hillsborough Oyster Festival (6-9 September) in Northern Ireland holds the annual World Oyster Eating Championships (record: 223 in three minutes). It will be alive with a gourmet food market, fashion show, concerts, dancing, beauty pageants and even a golf tournament and supercar dream rides in Ferraris, Porsches and Aston Martins. Every September since 1954 the small village of Clarenbridge in County Galway also celebrates the king of seafood at its Clarenbridge Oyster Festival. This year it runs from 15-16 September.

On a much larger scale the Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival (28–30 September), labelled by London’s Sunday Times as one of the 12 greatest shows on earth, is one of Ireland’s most internationally recognised food festivals. Visitors from all over the world travel to the magical West of Ireland city to help the area celebrate the beginning month of the oyster season. Few can resist a Galway oyster tasting (with the perfect accompaniment of a pint of Guinness), the seafood fare in the city’s restaurants or the super-glam night at the Gala Oyster Ball.




Dreams fled away, this country bedroom, raw
With the touch of the dawn, wrapped in a minor peace,
Hears through an open window the garden draw
Long pitch black breaths, lay bare its apple trees,
Ripe pear trees, brambles, windfall-sweetened soil,
Exhale rough sweetness against the starry slates.
Nearer the river sleeps St. John’s, all toil
Locked fast inside a dream with iron gates.