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 (they are currently available on iTunes & The Celtic Thunder Online Store). Physical CDs and DVDs will be available at retail on October 9th 2015.

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.

More details about our 2016 tour will be released towards the end of this year, and we will feature more information here on The Celtic Times as it becomes available.




Celtic music phenomenon, Celtic Thunder, will return to the US in October 2015 for two shows only; their first-ever festival engagement at the Norsk Hostfest in Minot, North Dakota and a show at the WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville OK. 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.

Backed as ever by members of the amazing Celtic Thunder Band, Ryan, Colm, Neil, Paul, Emmet and Damian will deliver much loved Celtic Thunder ensemble numbers with selections from their 9 Public Television specials to date. In addition to these incredibly popular ensemble performances, the WinStar World Casino and Resort and the Norsk Høstfest shows will also feature a wide variety of solo hits highlighting each of the 6 principal artists diverse vocal styles, ranging from traditional Irish and Celtic song to more contemporary classics. The concert-style shows will also highlight the group’s fun side with performances of all time fan favorites and Celtic Thunder anthems.



Paul Byrom is often hailed as Ireland’s premier young tenor and with good reason. The Dublin-born tenor began voice study and training when he was just seven years old and soon after went on to study under the legendary Dr. Veronica Dunne, Ireland’s leading lady of opera and a renowned vocal teacher. He was a professional singer by his early teens and Paul recorded his first album as a boy soprano aged 14. His second release, entitled VELVET, was in 2005 and it reached #2 in the Irish music charts. Paul followed this soon after with the release of his Christmas album entitled "I'll Be Home For Christmas" in 2008, which charted in the Classical Billboard Charts. In Ireland, Paul has also had a short stint in “Fair City”, the longest running Irish soap opera, and was also a finalist on “Celebrity Jigs and Reels” (Ireland’s answer to Dancing with the Stars).

His talent as a tenor has taken him far and wide, and some of the many highlights of his career to date include performing for dignitaries such as Irish President Mary McAleese, Emperor Akihito of Japan and Former Irish President and UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson. On Saint Patrick’s Day 2009, Paul had the honor of performing (along with the other soloists of Celtic Thunder) at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama and their guests. This July 4th, Paul had the honor of performing for Speaker of The House John Boehner and the American Ambassador to Ireland in Dublin.



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.



Celtic Thunder Fan Club members are entitled to discounts and free items from the new Celtic Thunder online store. Our first official Fan Club t-shirt is the Celtic Thunder Ogham shirt which was designed by one of Ireland’s top graphic designers. The Ogham shirt is now available in black or white and spells the name of Celtic Thunder in an ancient Gaelic script.

As many of our loyal fans are aware we have been working hard to bring you a brand new Celtic Thunder online store , which is easier to navigate and which brings you tons of Celtic Thunder related merchandise from hoodies and t-shirts, to pillows, CDs, DVDs, calendars, songbooks, mugs, pins, teddy bears! Essentially everything for the Celtic Thunder fan! We’ve also introduced a range of beautiful giftware from Ireland, with selections including beautiful hand made Irish jewelry, Irish giftware, clothing and accessories, candies, music and much more.




The island of Ireland is home to multitude of stunningly beautiful beaches along its 5,000km of coastline.  There's uncrowded beaches for walking or swimming, enchanted beaches for dreaming, beaches for surfing, sandcastle building, rock pooling, kayaking, sunbathing and outdoor adventure – Ireland has it all.

But which one do you head for amid the amazing choice? Here's a quick guide on where to set up beach camp…

Trip Advisor’s readers' favorite Irish beaches are a great place to start, and Inchydoney in Clonakilty, County Cork, has topped its Readers' Choice Awards for two years in a row.

Inchydoney is blue flag peach of a beach with vast expanses of sand, dunes and excellent surfing conditions. At low tide the water can be almost 200 meters from the dunes. This beach prompted one reader to comment: “to walk along the beach in the warm Irish sunshine isn’t far short of wonderful.”

Four of the Trip Advisor Reader's Choice Top 10 Irish Beaches are in County Kerry, known as 'The Kingdom' to locals and travellers alike. The glorious, beautiful and unspoiled sandy stretches in the Kingdom include Derrynane, Inch Beach, Rossbeigh Beach and Banna Strand – all wonderful destinations in themselves, or amazing detours along the famous Wild Atlantic Way.




A white-knuckle cliff-face walk along Northern Ireland’s famous Causeway Coastal Route has opened to the public for the first time in over 60 years this summer.

The Gobbins Cliff Path, a dramatic, two-mile-long cliff-face walkway, features tubular and suspension bridges, a staircase, caves and tunnels carved through the rock in County Antrim.  Its long awaited restoration brings a modern twist to a major attraction first built in the Edwardian age and re-awakens a magnificent but forgotten experience of the spectacular Northern Ireland coastline.

Puffins, eerily carved cliffs and crashing waves – the Gobbins landscape is straight out of Game of Thrones and is actually in the vicinity of locations used in the filming of the hit TV show.

Strictly for thrill-seekers and those who can handle a bracing climb, the narrow route uses the original uneven steps that were carved out of the cliff by pick and shovel more than a century ago.  It's 'daredevil stuff', according to the team behind the ambitious project, with walkers and adventurers scaling narrow, winding steps cut from the basalt cliffs.

Visitors will have to brave 23 metal bridges and water-splashed gantries installed along sheer cliff faces and plunging down to a series of steps that drop below sea level.  With access by guided tour only, the journey begins at a state of the art Gobbins Visitor Centre, where walkers will meet their tour guide and be placed into groups of no more than 12.




The Rose of Tralee Festival, which is now in its 56th year, is a perennial favorite in the hearts and minds of the Irish diaspora; from rural fireside armchair, to stateside Irish bar, every year, more and more Irish people tune-in and soak-up a little bit of the beauty of Kerry and hear the stories and journeys of the 32 Roses.

This year, for the first time, the Rose of Tralee Festival will provide the perfect backdrop for the introduction of a new and important dimension; a celebration and recognition of the business ambitions and achievements of modern women of the Irish diaspora.

The one-day conference, which is being organized by Enterprise Ireland, is aptly themed, “Bloom for Ireland” as it will aim to harness the power of the Irish female diaspora, to contribute to continued economic growth and prosperity in Ireland.

The conference will be opened by Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald TD, and will be hosted by Minister for the Diaspora, Jimmy Deenihan TD.
Conference delegates will hear from Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh as well as some previous Roses, many of who have successful careers in business both in Ireland and elsewhere. 2005 Rose of Tralee, Dr. Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin who is a Doctor of Mathematics Education, will share her work life experience and talk about the need to encourage more women into the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math).




It's no wonder Ireland is known throughout the world for its fabled landscapes and entertaining stories. When you travel around the country it feels like there's a tale in every field, a myth in every mountain and a legend surrounding every stream, river and lake. The native inclination for a good tale has come down through the ages, the generations and the evocative Irish language, leaving a myriad of old Celtic stories rooted in actual places you can still see, touch and experience.

If you want to hear about them, just ask. The talkative characters, artists, writers, poets of practically any Irish village or town will only be too happy to recount the local lore – and usually with a bit of craic and the gift of the gab.

Take County Meath, one of the best places to explore a beautiful touring region called Ireland's Ancient East. It's the location of some of the country's most important historic sites and ancient monuments, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Brú na Bóinne (Palace of the Bend of the Boyne) and the royal site at the Hill of Tara.

Legends abound here and one of the best loved had been told by the druids of old. In a still, dark pool in the shade of the hazel trees overhanging the River Boyne there lived the Salmon of Knowledge. According to prophecy, the one who would eat the salmon would gain its knowledge for themselves.




When it comes to photography, the Emerald Isle has so many perfect locations for that iconic shot. So for fantastic photos and a few tips to guide your hand, focus up. Here's a snapshot of our top 10 photo opportunities on the island…


You may as well start with the big one in Northern Ireland – the 40,000 polygonal-shaped stones of Giant's Causeway. This is fabulously photogenic territory and a mecca for snappers of all abilities.




Captivating culture, Celtic curiosities and carefree wanderings of discovery go hand in hand along Ireland’s Ancient East trail.

The most enjoyable place in Europe to experience 5,000 years of history, the Ancient East is an exciting new touring region and one of the greatest keys to unlocking a treasure chest of holiday memories on the Emerald Isle.

Stretching from Newgrange and the Boyne Valley in the northeast and ranging through the midlands all the way down via Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile to Waterford’s Viking Quarter and Cork’s many cultural attractions, the east of the country is Ireland’s latest and most stimulating pathway to discovery.

Enter at any point and explore at leisure. There’s no fixed start and end point, just a mega opportunity to uncover Ireland within four unique themes and experiences.

A tour through Ancient Ireland can include the prehistoric passage tombs of Newgrange, the Hill of Tara, one of the most sacred in the mythical Irish landscape, or sites such as the Brownshill Dolmen in County Carlow.

Exploring Early Christian Ireland is about the wonder of monastery masterworks in sites such as Glendalough, Mellifont Abbey, Jerpoint Abbey, St Canice’s Cathedral and Holycross Abbey.




The Rose of Tralee International Festival is based on the love song The Rose of Tralee, by William Mulchinock a 19th century wealthy merchant who was in love with Mary O'Connor, his maid. Mary was born in Broguemaker's Lane in Tralee and worked as a nanny. When William first saw Mary he fell in love with her, but because of the difference in social class between the two families their love affair was discouraged. William emigrated, and some years later returned to Tralee only to find Mary had died of tuberculosis. He was broken hearted and expressed his love for her in the words of the song.

The Festival as it is today stems from Tralee's Carnival Queen, once a thriving annual town event, fallen by the wayside due to post-war emigration. In 1957 Race Week Carnival was resurrected in Tralee that featured a Carnival Queen. A year later a group of local business people met in Harty's Bar in Tralee and decided to revamp the Carnival in a way that would regenerate the town, encourage tourism and keep the race crowd in town overnight.

The new event would be called a festival and the carnival queen contest turned into a celebration of the Rose of Tralee song. Young women would also be sought from outside Tralee, and heats were held as far away as London, Birmingham, New York and Dublin with the help of local Kerry people living abroad.

The first Festival in 1959 had Roses representing Tralee, London, Dublin, Birmingham and New York, and cost just IR£750. It is indicative of the growth of the event that by 1965 the budget had grown to IR£10,000. Each Rose had to be a native of Tralee, but this condition was relaxed in the early sixties to be a native of Kerry, and in 1967 "Irish birth or ancestry" became the criterion.

The 1959 Festival was a resounding success with Alice O'Sullivan from Dublin becoming its first Rose. The organizing committee extended their sights to include setting up centers in other areas, beginning with the United States. As well as Ireland, the UK and the US, the Festival now has centers in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai and Luxembourg.




In Ireland’s Ancient East there’s a castle around every corner, some in ruins, some perfectly preserved and many others now offering luxury hotel accommodation. Here’s a guide to the top 10.


The largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland, Trim Castle is over 800 years old and has an unusual three-story keep with 20 corners. It was used as a location in the movie Braveheart.

With an area of 30,000 m², Trim Castle is the largest Cambro-Norman castle in Ireland. The design of the central three-story keep (also known as a donjon or great tower) is unique for a Norman keep being of cruciform shape, with twenty corners. It was built on the site of the previous large ring work fortification in at least three stages, initially by Hugh de Lacy (c. 1174) and then in 1196 and 1201–5 by Walter de Lacy. The castle interior was partially the subject of an archaeological dig by David Sweetman of OPW in the 1970s and more extensively by Alan Hayden in the 1990s.

The surviving curtain walls are predominantly of three phases. The west and north sides of the enciente are defended by rectangular towers (including the Trim Gate) dating to the 1170s; the Dublin gate was erected in the 1190s or early part of the 13th century; and the remaining wall to the south with its round towers dates to the first two decades of the 13th century. The castle has two main gates. The one in the west side dates to the 1170s and sits on top of a demolished wooden gateway. The upper stories of the stone tower were altered to a semi-octagonal shape, c. 1200. The Dublin Gate in the south wall is a single round towered gate with an external barbican tower. It dates from the 1190s or early 13th century and was the first example of its type to be constructed in Ireland.



United Airlines today announced that it will be offering its customers from Northern Ireland year-round nonstop service from Belfast to its New York hub, Newark Liberty International Airport.

In addition to its current schedule, the airline will now also operate the service from 7 Jan through to 10 Mar 2016, three times weekly.

“We’re pleased to offer our Northern Irish customers a year-round direct link to New York,” said Bob Schumacher, United’s Managing Director Sales, UK and Ireland. “New York remains a popular destination for travellers and our Newark Liberty hub provides the most convenient route into the city as well as easy connections to hundreds of other destinations across the United States and beyond.  With this schedule change, we are offering our customers even more choice.”

Belfast International Airport Managing Director, Graham Keddie, said: “This is wonderful news. We have been working with stakeholders to achieve this outcome and we are delighted it is now being delivered. The decision by United to return to full year-round service is of great significance to the Northern Ireland economy. Our one and only direct, scheduled trans-Atlantic service to Newark Liberty is a ‘lifeline’ for U.S.-owned firms and adds massively to efforts by Invest NI to attract additional and highly prized U.S. investment. United are to be applauded, and we will do all we can to promote and market the service.”




Check out the list below for the lowdown on all the best upcoming Irish Food Festivals and Events. See which ones are close to you, mark the date off in your calendar and get ready to experience all the best that Ireland has to offer your taste buds.


The Taste of Cavan returns on 7th and 8th August 2015 at its new home in Cavan Equestrian Centre, guaranteeing a sumptuous food and family experience. The event showcases extraordinary and diverse local food producers, chefs and restaurants in County Cavan and gives visitors an opportunity to sample and purchase the finest of Cavan fare, from handmade chocolate, ice cream and organic sausages to boxty, breads, muffins, mushrooms, liqueurs, honey, meats and local jams. Enjoy food demonstrations on both days by top Irish chefs including Irish Restaurant Awards' Best Chef, Neven Maguire, and one of Ireland's best-loved chefs, Kevin Dundon. The 'no salt chef'  Brian McDermott, Maire Dufficy from Bord Bia, Gearoid Lynch from the award-winning Olde Post Inn, Shane Smith from Fallon & Byrne,  Adrian Martin from the Craft Butchers of Ireland and Anjula Devi, winner of the BBC Good Food Bursury Award will be present. As if that's not enough, Rachel Allen will also be there.




The Celts were not the first inhabitants of Ireland. At the end of the Ice Age, as the climate became warmer in about 6,000 B.C., early immigrants probably crossed the narrow sea from Scotland to the Antrim coast and gradually moved further south.

The term Celtic denotes a group of Indo-European languages. But we transferred the name to the people who spoke these languages. Before 500 B.C. the Celts had come to be known in an area comprising Bavaria, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary and Bohemia. They spread over much of France and part of northern Italy in the sixth century before Christ, invaded northern Spain in the fifth century, sacking Rome at the end of the fourth century and getting a footing in Greece and Asia Minor in the third century. The Greeks called them Keltoi and the Romans Galli.

The Celts were not the first inhabitants of Ireland. At the end of the Ice Age, as the climate became warmer about 6,000 B.C., early immigrants probably crossed the narrow sea from Scotland to the Antrim coast and gradually moved further south. They lived a primitive existence by hunting in the forests and streams and lakes. Next came the first farmers who used stone implements for felling trees and preparing the soil for grain, they also kept large quantities of cattle, sheep and pigs. Perhaps by 2,000 B.C. a new group of settlers had arrived, metalworkers in search of gold and copper, who fashioned the artistic ornaments now in the National Museum in Dublin, the greatest collection of prehistoric gold objects in Western Europe. These were the dominant people in Ireland in the late Bronze Age when the Celts arrived.

The Celts had the advantage of having weapons made of iron. They seem to have moved into Ireland in two waves, one directly from the continent into the west of the country and the other through Britain into northeast Ireland. They may have begun to arrive as early as 500 B.C. and they were well established a century before Christ.

With their arrival a new era had begun in Ireland. The Picts in the north and other pre-Celtic peoples were overthrown. No doubt they still formed a strong element in the population but they became a part of the Celtic language and culture. The Celts dominated Ireland for nearly a thousand years.




Killarney is the kind of town that’s hard to leave. There are luxury resorts such as Aghadoe Heights Hotel and Spa, great craft shops and lively pubs. That’s not to mention the thriving restaurant scene, with fun and tasty spots such as Miss Courtney’s Tea Rooms and The Smoke House. But there is so much around and about that it’s essential to take at least a day to experience the wild, invigorating surrounds of this special part of the world.

South and west of the town of Killarney in Co. Kerry is an expanse of rugged mountainous country. This includes the McGillycuddy's Reeks, the highest mountain range in Ireland which rise to a height of over 1000 meters. At the foot of these mountains nestle the world famous Lakes of Killarney. Here where the mountains sweep down to the lakeshores, their lower slopes covered in woodlands, lies the 10,236 hectare (26,000 acres), Killarney National Park . The distinctive combination of mountains, lakes, woods and waterfalls under ever changing skies gives the area a special scenic beauty.

The nucleus of the National Park is the 4,300 hectare Bourn Vincent Memorial Park which was presented to the Irish State in 1932 by Senator Arthur Vincent and his parent-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. William Bowers Bourn in memory of Senator Vincent's late wife Maud.

The focal point of the National Park for visitors is Muckross House and Gardens. The house which is presented as a late 19th century mansion featuring all the necessary furnishings and artifacts of the period is a major visitor attraction is jointly managed by the Park Authorities and the Trustees of Muckross House.




Ballyseede Castle, one of the best-known Castle Hotels in Ireland, has a history dating back to the 1590’s. Set in 30 acres of native woodland Ballyseede has been wonderfully transformed into a luxury hotel for you to enjoy.  One of the most unique & special luxury Tralee Hotels, this Castle Hotel offers you formal and casual dining, 23 en-suite bedrooms and 3 beautiful private rooms complimented by enchanting formal gardens.

Ballyseede Castle is a proud member of Manor House Hotels of Ireland and as the only four star Castle Hotel in Kerry, Ballyseede Castle is well placed to offer a getaway that is distinctively different.

Ballyseede Castle Hotel in Tralee, Co. Kerry offers luxury accommodation in Tralee - 23 elegant rooms located over three floors and all within the original Castle. The Bedrooms are elegant and spacious and come in a large variety from mini-suites to large family room, deluxe four posters and superior rooms.

The rooms are elegant with the delicate mixture of old world decadence.

The fantastic corridor, known as "Paddy's Way" where each room is named after famous Irish Paddys. Have a flutter by staying in the Paddy Power room or be enchanted with poetry in the Paddy Kavanagh room. Sing a tune in the Paddy Clancy Room or maybe the art of horse training will rub off in the Paddy Prendergast room. What were once stables for the horses on the estate have been beautifully transformed into luxurious well-appointed rooms.



THE DUBLINERS - 1962-2012

Formed in 1962 in O'Donoghue's Pub, Dublin, The Dubliners were arguably the most popular Irish Folk Band in the world. The founding members were Ronnie Drew, Barney McKenna, Luke Kelly and Ciarán Bourke, with John Sheahan joining the group in 1964. In 2012, while celebrating the band's 50th anniversary, Barney McKenna, the last surviving founding member, passed away at the age of 72. Towards the end of that year John Sheahan announced his retirement — officially ending the era of The Dubliners.

In 1962, Ronnie, Barney, Luke Kelly & Ciarán Bourke, begin playing together at informal sessions in O'Donoghue's.

"At the time, Donoghue’s Pub was a very, very quiet pub … civil servants used to be sneaking in from their offices to have small whiskeys and things. Luke Kelly had come home from England and he came into Donoghue's. Ciaron Bourke was studying in the University … he used to play the tin whistle and play the guitar and one night we asked Paddy Donoghue, round about Christmastime, could we play a few tunes. So we played a few tunes. That was it. The music has never stopped in Donoghue's since that day. That was more or less how the whole thing got going—or how the whole thing began." — RD




The Special Olympics World Summer Games returned to the United States after 16 years, having last been held in the United States in 1999 in Raleigh, North Carolina. This year Los Angeles welcomed more than 7,000 Special Olympics athletes from 177 countries to compete in 21 Olympic-type sports.

Team Ireland  was made up of 88 athletes, a 40-strong management and coaches team and 154 volunteers.  In addition to this 23 Irish volunteers were selected as part of the International Officials Programme including two athletes as Table Officials in Basketball. Team Ireland also had 5 Technical Delegates in Basketball, Bowling, Equestrian, Volleyball and Games Management System who worked with the Games organizing committee in Los Angeles on advising on their sport.




My love said to me
My mother won’t mind
And me Father won’t slight you
For your lack of kind
Then she stepped away from me
And this she did say
It will not be long love
Till our wedding day.

She stepped away from me
And she moved through the Fair
And fondly I watched her
Move here and move there
And she went her way homeward
With one star awake
As the swans in the evening
More over the lake.




Nothing says summer more that wonderfully fresh seafood, a commodity which the island of Ireland has in abundance. We hope you enjoy this month’s recipes which have a decidedly fishy theme!!