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And Winter Came - Eyna
by Bridget Haggerty

There are more than 500 reviews of this album on amazon and just about all of them are either four or five stars. It's no surprise to this reviewer as this is an absolutely beautiful CD which has become one of my all-time favorite Christmas recordings. From the opening title tune to the last carol sung in Irish, i can play it over and over without tiring of listening to each and every single track. That said, one song in particular never fails to put me in the Christmas spirit: White is in the Winter Night. Masterfully arranged, it's easy to imagine being in a horse-drawn sled, the sound of the horses' hooves beating in time to the chorus:

"Green is in the mistletoe
And red is in the holly
Silver in the stars above
That shine on everybody
Gold is in the candlelight
And crimson in the embers
White is in the winter night
That everyone remembers."

Most of the cuts are original pieces with just two tracks devoted to traditional Christmas material - O Come, O Come Emanuel and Oiche Chuin (Silent Night in Irish). Both are exceptional and capture perfectly the spiritual beauty of the season. All in all, if you're an Enya fan, I would encourage you to add this CD to your collection - you won't be disappointed. I bought it when it was first released 2008 and as one amazon reviewer pouted out, "there is a reason why it reached #1 on Amazon's best seller list! Every track is outstanding in its own way, there isn't a bad song on it." I couldn't agree more.

Photo Credit: Star Singers


Fri, Nov 3, 2017

The Round Towers

The Round Towers of Ireland are remarkable among the world's ancient monuments; one author has called them 'Elegant, free-standing pencils of stone.' Today, 65 survive in part or whole. Hand-crafted in native stone and cemented with a sand, lime, horsehair and oxblood mortar - a technique imported from Roman Britain - it's said by many historians that they were built by monastic communities to thwart Viking invaders. And yet, there's reason to believe that the towers were built long before Christianity came to Ireland. Whatever their origins, monasteries did indeed flourish where the round towers existed. And why not. These imposing edifices provided a watch tower, a keep and a refuge.
Image: By kind permission of Stephen Cassidy, The Cassidy Clan.

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