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Great Celtic Music

Updated on September 5, 2011

Great Celtic music

What is it about Celtic music that so many people love? I can speak only for myself. Something about this music speaks to my soul. It conjures up images to me of quaint Irish villages, rolling hills covered in heather, and the rugged Scottish Highlands. Perhaps this is some inherited memory from my ancestors. Whatever the reason, Celtic music has enjoyed a vigorous resurgence in the United States, and in fact, around the globe. Please do yourself a favor and take the time to listen to the attached video recordings of my three favorite Celtic groups. I think you'll find this Celtic music as moving as I do.

The Corries

This was an awesome Scottish duo made up of Ronnie Browne and Roy Williamson. Actually, they started out as a trio in 1962, called the Corrie Folk Trio, with Williamson, Ron Cockburn, and Bill Smith. Cockburn left the group soon after it was formed, with Ronnie Browne as his replacement. In 1966, Smith left the group, also. Browne and Williamson called themselves The Corries.

Williamson was a gifted woodworker who invented two new instruments called the “combolins.” One combined a mandolin, a bass, and a guitar; the other was a combination of a bandurria, a sitar, and a guitar.

Many of the Corries songs are hauntingly beautiful. Their Celtic music includes old folk songs and ballads. Their repertoire ranged from folk songs to Jacobite tunes to love ballads. Their 1974 release of “Flower of Scotland” was adopted by rugby fans as their national anthem, perhaps because Williamson had played rugby for the Edinburgh Wanderers.

Sadly, in 1990, Roy Williamson passed away. The Corries were inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

My favorite song by the Corries is "Lake Lomond." Williamson sings it in Scottish brogue. I also love "Wild Mountain Thyme," an old folk song. Both videos are below.

Celtic Thunder

 I first saw this five-man group in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, 2008, and I was blown away. Their harmony is amazing!

The group is comprised of four Irishmen – Paul Michael Byrom, Keith Ronald Harkin, Ryan John Kelly, and Damian McGinty. The oldest member, George Donaldson, is from Scotland. Young McGinty is only 17 and is the obvious crowd favorite.

The singers are backed by Celtic Thunder Band and have a wide range of songs and styles. At times they sing as a group, and at other times, a soloist is featured. Their songs include traditional folk songs, as well as those made famous by Jim Croce, Chicago, Neil Diamond, and Frank Sinatra. In 2009, the group performed at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama.

My favorite songs performed by Celtic Thunder are “Caledonia” and “Danny Boy.” Listen to the videos below!

Celtic Woman

Celtic Woman is an amazing all-female singing group, the brainchild of David Downes of Riverdance fame. Originally, the ensemble was made up of Orla Fallon, Lisa Kelly, Chloe Agnew, Meav Ni Mhaolchatha, and Mairead Nesbitt. The latest version of Celtic woman consists of Kelly, Agnew, Nesbitt, Alex Sharpe, and Lynn Hilary.

Not only do these women have glorious voices, Nesbitt often accompanies them on her fiddle. They’ve sold over 50 million records and have entertained audiences around the world with their combination of old traditional tunes and modern songs, along with other examples of Celtic music.

I think my favorite performance by Celtic Woman is "Scarborough Fair," sung at Slane Caste, Ireland. I also like “You Raise Me Up.” It begins with the plaintive notes of Nesbitt’s instrument. Listen to both examples of Celtic music below.



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    • profile image

      Gerry Hannan 

      5 years ago

      Hello, Maybe you might enjoy this...

      Eirechill from Ireland

      Ireland's premier Chill Music Station

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 

      5 years ago from London

      I recognize some of these! I think that I will be doing a lot of humming today :)

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, shinkicker. I LOVE your name!

    • Shinkicker profile image


      8 years ago from Scotland

      Great Hub, marvelous music

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      I feel the same way! The bagpipes really get to me!

    • Nemingha profile image


      8 years ago

      I am of Irish and Scottish descent so I love all Celtic music, but when I hear the bagpipes played, I can't help but cry because such a beautiful sound seems to speak directly to my soul. Lovely hub!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      They are awesome! I think you'll enjoy all the videos. Thanks for reading!

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 

      8 years ago from West By God

      I love Celtic Women. Thanks for the hub! I will come back later to listen to the music vid's. Hubby is watching the TV.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, itakins! Of course, I agree!

    • itakins profile image


      8 years ago from Irl


      What good taste in music you have---no bias here:)

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Charlie! I actually sing the Sky Boat Song to the grandbabies when I rock them! Thanks for reading.

      Thanks, Zsuzsy! I can't find mine, so I'll have to buy new ones.

      Pop - I knew you had good taste!

      Thanks for reading, Suzie!

      Oh, Lorlie - that one gets to me, too!

      Many thanks, Tattoguy!

      Rob, we were going to see them when they were in Jax, but something came up. Lucky you!

      Hi, Ken! Hope you like the Corries! Thanks!

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 

      8 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Loved this Hub - Celtic music always stirs my soul. The Corries are a new group for me. Thanks for putting this together.

      And congratulations on the well deserved honor. Blessings, peace & HAPPY NEW YEAR.

    • Robwrite profile image


      8 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      I went to see the Celtic Women on their American tour a few years ago. They were great.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Best Hubber 2009, you so deserve it moi friend, have a Happy New Year xox

      PS - Loved the hub as well ; )

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Hey there, Best Hubber of 2009! Or some such title-I'm so proud to be your fan and bookmark yet another of your hubs. Danny Boy put me in the mood for tears, but 'tis too early in the morn, so I'll refrain!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Hey there, Best Hubber of 2009! Or some such title-I'm so proud to be your fan and bookmark yet another of your hubs. Danny Boy put me in the mood for tears, but 'tis too early in the morn, so I'll refrain!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, CM. Good to see ya!

      HH, You're right, of course. It just has so much "heart." Thanks for reading!

    • suziecat7 profile image


      8 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Love this Hub - thanks.

    • breakfastpop profile image


      8 years ago

      Wonderful hub. I love the music and I can't thank you enough for starting my day off on just the right note.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Habee I love Celtic music. Great hub, thanks for posting those links. I'm going to go and dig out some of my CD's and listen to them full blast.

      Happy New Year to you and yours.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I just read AEvans' hub, congrats girl on a well deserved honor! Way to go! Happy New year!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Well Habee, it is in our blood lassie of Scottish blood. It's where our all American music sprang from. I love it. Thanks for sharing. Do you know the Skye Boat Song?

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Any music which comes from the people themselves is beautiful and has so much meaning and soul. Thank for your hab; a great read

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 

      8 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Great post, Habee!


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