Traditions, folklore, history and more. If it's Irish, it's here. Or will be!
"People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors."
Library: Books, Movies, Music
Prints & Photos
Bunús na Gaeilge
Circle of Prayer
Did You Know?
Write to Us
Links/Link to Us
Advertise with us
Awards & Testimonials
The Bells of Dublin - The Chieftains
by Bridget Haggerty
We've owned The Bells of Dublin for many years and it remains one of our favorite Christmas recordings. The Chieftains are impeccable as always but, in addition to their traditional Irish sound, they team up with a group of contemporary vocalists; for the most part, the mix works well. In fact we like every cut except one.
We have a couple of Rickie Lee Jones CDs which we play often, but we always skip over her rendition of O Holy Night on The Bells of Dublin. We'll never understand why The Chieftains allowed this cut to remain because Rickie's voice just can't handle it. That said, the rest of the CD is a thoroughly enjoyable combination of popular carols, toe-tapping instrumental medleys and inspirational choral pieces.
As one reviewer on amazon put it, the way some of the cuts are recorded, you feel as if you're in an Irish pub; but I think what we like the best is the medley of carols toward the end; sung by a truly magnificent choir, it's easy to imagine you are in an Irish cathedral. The finale of church bells is simply glorious.
Here are some other reviews and a play list:
Ken from Michigan
Truly an album you don't want to end, and I have a very hard time putting it away after the holidays. I like the fact that they don't do all the same old songs heard over and over every year. Throw this CD in the multi disc player with Johnny, Nat, and Bing, hit the shuffle button, then sit back and enjoy a wonderful mix. OK Chieftains, where's volume 2?
Daniel from Michigan
If you like Irish music and you like Christmas music, this CD is definitely for you. In their usual inimitable style, the Chieftains transport you to the warmth and hospitality you might expect to find in a friendly village in western Ireland. If such a journey sounds appealing, put on this CD, sit back, and enjoy.
A music fan from Vermont
This is the best Christmas album I've ever listened too. My Christmas would not be complete without having it playing while I wrap presents and make cookies or just drive down the road to work. You will love it. I am especially fond of the medleys and Ile Est Ne. I give this album away as presents each year to people on my list regardless of their musical interests and they are all uniformly impressed. Enjoy.
Eileen from Massachusetts
This CD has been in my collection for several years and it is the first Christmas CD I reach for every year. The songs are a nice mix of traditional and modern with the constant Irish influence of the Chieftains that gets your feet tapping and your spirits soaring. Again this year I am completely content to listen to it again and again. A must have for any Irish music lover's Christmas collection.
Rebecca from Texas
I've had this CD for several years now and I'm still stunned by its quality and beauty every time I listen to it. With several hundred CDs in our collection, my husband and I still find ourselves rating it as the best one we own.
A music fan from Virginia I bought this CD a few years ago, but I make it apart of my Christmas music tradition every year. "The Wren in the Furze" and "The Bells of Dublin - Christmas Eve" are my favorite. I wish the Chieftains would release more Christmas music.
1. The Bells Of Dublin Christmas Eve
2. Past Three O'Clock
3. St. Stephens Day Murders
4. Il Est Ne/Ca Berger
5. Don Oiche Ud I MBeithill
6. I Saw Three Ships A Sailing
7. A Breton Carol
8. Carol Medley: O The Holly She Bears A Berry
9. Carol Medley: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
10. Carol Medley: The Boar's Head
11. The Wexford Carol
12. The Rebel Jesus
13. Skyline Jig
14. O Holy Night 15. Medley, 'The Wren! The Wren!': The Arrival Of The Wren Boys
16. Medley, 'The Wren! The Wren!': The Dingle Set--Dance
17. Medley, 'The Wren! The Wren!': The Wren In The Furze
18. Medley, 'The Wren! The Wren!': A Dance Duet--Reels
19. Medley, 'The Wren! The Wren!': Brafferton Village/Walsh's Hornpipe
20. Medley, 'The Wren! The Wren!': The Farewell: The Piper Through The Meadow Strayed.
21. Medley: Once In Royal David's City
22. Medley: Ding Dong Merrily On High
23. Medley: O Come All Ye Faithful
To hear a sample, click here The Bells of Dublin.
Thu, Dec 7, 2017
Holly and Ivy hanging up and
something wet in every cup*
Not so long ago, Irish Christmas decorations were much simpler than they are now. The children gathered holly and ivy for adorning, windows, doorways, mantles and pictures, and the father would carve out a turnip in which would be placed a large red candle. This would go in the window to light the way for the Holy Family on Christmas Eve. Only in relatively recent times did an Irish family have a Nativity scene and a decorated tree in the house. As for Mistletoe, it's quite rare in ireland and is generally associated with ancient Celtic and Druidic fertility celebrations; this is most likely where the custom of kissing under the mistletoe comes from.
*Old Irish Christmas toast
Image: Pashley Manor Gardens.
Click for More Culture Corner.
According to the 30 or more reviews we've read, if you own just one Irish Christmas recording, this should be it. Featuring Anthony Kearns, Ronan Tynan and John McDermott, we are treated to both solo and trio performances of a dozen or more best loved holiday airs, sung in their trade-mark Irish tenor style. As one reviewer cleverly observed, if these three sang the phone book, she'd buy it!
Click here for Home for Xmas
For a non-traditional Christmas (yet very traditional Irish) recording, this CD offers a wide variety of moods - from serious and reflective to joyful and exuberant. The cover photo is particularly appealing and reminds this reviewer of the eager anticipation she once knew - oh, to have that feeling back again.
Click here for Real Irish Christmas.