Strumming A New Version of Ireland’s National Anthem

Feb 8, 2014 by

There is a wonderful new version of Ireland’s national anthem, Amhrán na bhFiann, (pronounced OW-rawn nuh VEE-un) also called A Soldier’s Song, that’s been recently posted to YouTube.  Paul Quinn, an Irish musician from County Clare,  performs the famous song of the 1916 Easter Uprising as an acoustical guitar solo with verve and skill, breathing a spirit of vitality into a song written more than 100 years ago.  


Composed in English in 1907 by Peadar Kearney and Patrick Heeney,  the tune became a marching song for Irish rebels in 1916 and throughout the founding of the Irish free State.  The Irish translation was written by Liam Ó Rinn (1888–1950) around 1917  and is the version most commonly sung.  The complete song consists of three stanzas and a chorus, although Ireland’s National Anthem is only the choral refrain.

Amhrán na bhFiann, Ireland’s national anthem

Sinne Fianna Fáil,
atá faoi gheall ag Éirinn,
Buíon dár slua
thar toinn do ráinig chughainn,
Faoi mhóid bheith saor
Seantír ár sinsear feasta,
Ní fhágfar faoin tíorán ná faoin tráill.
Anocht a théam sa bhearna baoil,
Le gean ar Ghaeil, chun báis nó saoil,
Le gunna scréach faoi lámhach na bpiléar,
Seo libh canaig amhrán na bhfiann

Soldiers are we,
whose lives are pledged to Ireland,
Some have come
from a land beyond the wave,
Sworn to be free,
no more our ancient sireland,
Shall shelter the despot or the slave.
Tonight we man the “bearna baoil”,[fn 4]
In Erin’s cause, come woe or weal,
’Mid cannon’s roar and rifles’ peal,
We’ll chant a soldier’s song



This Gaelic version by a different performer gives you a feel for the sound of the Irish version (which is how Irish schoolchildren learn it):


To learn more about Paul Quinn and his music, visit his links:


He has a very popular acoustic version of the theme from Game of Thrones and this gorgeous cover of The Rolling Stones Wild Horses, featuring singer Sinead Boomsma:


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Top 10 Celtic Christmas Albums All Celts Should Own

Dec 4, 2013 by

Top 10 Celtic Christmas Albums All Celts Should Own

Here’s a joyful selection of traditional Celtic Christmas music for the holidays, featuring bagpipes and harps, carols and chants, Gaelic and Welsh and much more.  Click on the blue links for details about each album–most are available in CD and MP3 formats.


51qa4yUccoL._AA160_101 Welsh Carols & Christmas Songs

Welsh, like Cornish and Breton is a Brythonic/Brittonic language that is Celtic, but is not Gaelic, with a lilting, melodic quality that is one of the most beautiful things you’ll ever hear.  This large collection of carols and songs in Welsh(most are just 1-2 minutes long) provides a rare  Christmas treat to all Celts, especially those with Welsh heritage.






Brittany Carols

The spirited L’Ensemble Choral du Bout (the Chorale Ensemble of the World’s End) formed in 1977 to preserve the Celtic musical heritage of Brittany, a Celtic region in northwest France. Comprised of two smaller regional choirs as well as singers from over 40 villages, the ensemble offers a lighter alternative to the slower, more solemn albums of Christmas church music. Recorded at Landévennec Abbey, this CD has an ancient, Celtic feel with instrumentation from flutes, claviers, bagpipes, guitar, and organ while often feeling contemporary during the livelier, melodious songs.





51t21lDygdL._AA160_The Virgin’s Lament

This album brings light and peace to my dark winter days every holiday season–Christmas and the Winter Solstice simply cannot be celebrated until I hear ” The Virgin’s Lament “.   Nóirín Ní Riain adds her lovely Irish soprano  to the monks of Glenstal Abbey in a collection of medieval Celtic religious songs in the sean nos or “old style” tradition–subtly varying enunciation and tempo. Singing in Gaelic and Latin Gregorian plainchant, Ní Riain’s voice delicately wavers and flies throughout Limerick’s Glenstal Abbey, creating an angelic and purely holy atmosphere.  Definitely one of the finest albums of sacred ancient Celtic music you will ever hear, and one you will want to share with friends and family.






51gKEP0Do5L._AA160_Duan Nollaig (A Gaelic Christmas)


A beautiful collection of Christmas songs, sung in Scots Gaelic by the talented singer songwriter Fiona MacKenzie, from the Isle of Lewis in Scotland.  It’s rare to get such a large collection of Scots Gaelic songs on an album–this one is a must-have for anyone who loves the native language of Scotland.




51BjyFlH2XL._AA160_Celtic Christmas Sampler

A Windham Hill collection that features holiday and winter songs by many well-known performers in the Celtic music genre. Fans who remember Planxty, the Bothy Band, Silly Wizard, and Capercaillie will embrace the performances here by individual members of those critically acclaimed and popular groups. Nightnoise singer Triona Ní Dhomhnaill, who was once described as one of the greatest voices of the century, sings a haunting piece called “Solus,” while her brother and former Bothy Band fiddler Kevin Burke create an enchanting place on “On a Cold Winter’s Day/Christmas Eve.”




51fDVo6uzQL._AA160_Chieftains Christmas

Probably the greatest Irish trad band of all time,  the Chieftains team up with rockers Jackson Browne and Elvis Costello, actor Burgess Meredith,  bluegrass musician Nanci Griffith and other celebs on this hugely popular and critically acclaimed  Christmas album.




41SVZKP4RYL._AA160_Wolcum Yule: Celtic and British Songs and Carols

Beautiful selection of 19 traditional songs from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, from ancient chants to more contemporary songs.  Featuring the group Anonymous 4, this disc includes a traditional Cornish wassail song, medieval chants, haunting numbers like “Flight into Egypt,” sung in Gaelic, and “Behold, here is the best morning,” sung in Welsh.






51JQ4SZ2VFL._AA160_  A Highland Christmas

A festive bagpipe extravaganza for those who love the sound of the Great Highland Pipes–and what Celt doesn’t?!




A Scottish Christmas

Fiddle virtuoso Bonnie Rideout,  Maggie Sansone, hammered dulcimer artist and  Eric Rigler, the Braveheart piper, join forces on this lovely collection of traditional Scottish carols, wassail tunes, strathspeys and reels.






414ZMF56QWL._AA160_Narada Presents: The Best of Celtic Christmas

A captivating double disc packed with fiddles, flutes, and Celtic music’s brightest stars! Ireland’s best-loved traditionalists sing their favorite Christmas carols on disc one (each tune features a different lead instrument or vocal): It Came upon a Midnight Clear Cathie Ryan; Get Me Through December Natalie MacMaster; The Snowy Path Altan; The Mummer’s Jig/Christmas Eve Boys of the Lough; Ding Dong Merrily on High Frankie Gavin & the Irish Chamber Orchestra; Christ Child’s Lullabye Kathy Mattea (yes, the American country singer!); Ceol NaNolag John Whelan, and more. Disc two highlights the award-winning Galway group Dordan with a collection of jigs and carols, many sung in Gaelic! 30 festive, thoughtful tunes in all.



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