A bit o’ the Irish

Really, if you like traditional Irish instruments and find Christmas music inspirational –and especially if the names Jackson Browne and/or Nanci Griffiths rings a happy bell in your brain — you are probably already a fan of the Chieftains and their album The Bells of Dublin.

In case, however, you missed it until now I have two things to say to you: (1) give this music a test drive immediately (iTunes, Amazon.com and Pandora all offer options for at least listing to snippets) and (2) start planning now how you will thank me for turning you on to one of the best Christmas musical treasures you’ll from now on enjoy year after year. If you aren’t sure how to do that second one, call me . I’m sure I can help you think of an appropriate expression of your gratitude.

Back in the old days when I had an answering machine on my phone (the one connected by wires to my house — the only phone I had at the time), I used the beginning of the first track in the background of my message one Christmas. It was fabulous. Well, I thought so, anyhow.

Below you’ll find the song list. You won’t love each song as much as each other any more than you equally love everyone who sends you a Christmas greeting — but all together they are still greater than the sum of them. Try to listen without feeling a bit jolly around the edges at the least. Of course, if you are annoyed by Irish music that makes you wonder if you’re in a pub somewhere, skip this one. Trust me, there’s plenty of Christmas music to go around.

  • 1. Bells of Dublin/Christmas Eve
  • 2. Past Three O’Clock
  • 3. St. Stephen’s Day Murders
  • 4. Il Est Ne’: Ca Berger
  • 5. Don Oiche Ud I Mbeithil
  • 6. I Saw Three Ships a Sailing
  • 7. A Breton Carol
  • 8. O the Holly She Bears a Berry
  • 9. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  • 10. The Boar’s Head Carol
  • 11. The Wexford Carol
  • 12. The Rebel Jesus
  • 13. Skyline Jig
  • 14. O Holy Night
  • 15. The Arrival of the Wren Boys
  • 16. The Dingle Set: Dance
  • 17. The Wren in the Furze
  • 18. Dance Duet, A: Reels
  • 19. Brafferton Village: Walsh’s Hornpipe
  • 20. The Farewell: Piper Through the Meadow Strayed/This Is the Season To Be Merry
  • 21. Once in Royal David’s City
  • 22. Ding Dong! Merrily on High
  • 23. O Come All Ye Faithful


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