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Review: James Galway & The Chieftains In Ireland
by Bridget Haggerty

Two of Ireland's most popular music ambassadors team up to produce an outstanding collection of ancient airs, lively jigs and reels, and lush, romantic melodies.This CD has been in our collection for more than ten years and we never tire of listening to it.

Sir James Galway - yes, he's a knight of the realm now - plays with total sincerity and warmth. He and Paddy Moloney created all of the arrangements except for Tristan & Isolde and the result is a magical blending of Galway's classical purity and Moloney's traditionally-inspired brilliance.

Right from the very beginning, with the opening tune - "Roches Favourite" - all the way to the end when hard-shoe dancers join the ensemble for "Up and About", the listener is treated to the very best of Irish music. There are tunes composed by the famous harpist O'Carolan, perennial favorites such as "Danny Boy" and "Carrickfergus", and there's also a superb flute solo by Galway of "She Moved Through The Fair."

When our daughter was planning her wedding, we played this collection many times and used two of the selections. A local Celtic group, Silver Arm, performed "Give Me Your Hand" during the wedding ceremony and we used the actual recording of "Up And About"to signal the end of the reception. All of our guests joined in a jig conga line to exit out of the hall - it was a perfect way to end a memorable day.

Here is the play-list; we checked on amazon and you can hear a sample of every cut except one, which is very unusual: 

1. Roches Favourite (Set Dance)
2. Fanny Power/Mabel Kelly/O'Carolan's Concerto
3. Carrickfergus (Air)
4. Down By The Sally Gardens (Air)
5. Give Me Your Hand (Composed in 1603 by the blind Derry harpist Rory Dall O'Cathan
6. She Moved Through The Fair (Flute Solo)
7. The Red Admiral Butterfly (Slip Jig)
8. Danny Boy (Air)
9. Crowley's Reel
10. Tristan And Isolde (Love Theme and March from the film, composed by Paddy Moloney)
11. Alleluia
12. When You And I Were Young, Maggie
13. The Humor Of Kilfenora/The Independent (Hornpipes)
14. Avondale (Air)
15. Up And About (Kerry Slides)

We don't use the word fantastic very often, but in this case, it's most appropriate to describe this entire recording. We just wish that Sir James and Paddy would give us a sequel! That said, don't take our word for it - click here to listen to samples and see if you don't agree: James Galway & The Chieftains in Ireland


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.

Click for More Culture Corner.

Gardens of Ireland
Visit 30 of Ireland's most beautiful gardens. Includes a stunning collection of 200 full-color photos.


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