Coming on to Christmas

Amid all the doom and gloom in the air in recent months, I took great joy in witnessing the historic election of Barack Obama. and in seeing him introduce his cabinet on TV today. As someone who had chosen American citizenship, rather than being born into it, I had many misgivings about that decision during the past eight years. Now those doubts are put to rest.

I do not expect him to perform miracles but, at the very least, intelligence and dignity have been restored to the office and the man knows how to pronounce “nuclear.” I decided to make a list of the top ten qualities that I admire in Obama. That’s when the trouble started. I accidentally hit the return key after the fourth line and I almost died of shock. Here’s what I saw:



You may think this is a coincidence but I am convinced that Cheney is ensconced in his evil lair with some dastardly machine that he uses to manipulate Obama’s mind. I was already suspicious when I heard that he had kept the Republican, Robert Gates, on as Secretary of Defense but this is the last straw. Does anybody know what time the next bus leaves for Canada?

However, I have some good news too. The new Green Fields of America CD is now available at Celtica Music Shop.

Compass Records will not officially release it until February but you can get an advance copy now and give it to yourself or someone else as a Christmas present. I recently did an interview with Brian O’Donovan for his Celtic Sojourn radio show on WGBH. We talked about the Green Fields group and played some tracks from the new CD. You can listen to some of that interview here. It’s a fairly large file so it may take a few moments to download.

Thanks to all of you that have emailed me to say how much you have enjoyed reading “Clean Cabbage in the Bucket.” I just got in a new supply for Celtica Music Shop. It makes a perfect present for any Irish music aficionado who would enjoy a behind the scenes look at the life of the traveling Irish musician or as we are known in scientific circles, Homo Hibernicus Musicus. I think I may have been watching too much PBS recently.

Speaking of PBS, you can see A Christmas Celtic Sojourn on TV in the Greater Boston area on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 7:30pm on WGBH 2, Sunday, Nov. 30, 4:30pm and Friday, Dec. 5, 3:30pm on WGBH 44. It may be on other PBS stations as well so keep an eye out for it.

It is a recording of the show at the Cutler Majestic Theatre that I was part of in 2006 with, our congenial host, the aforementioned Brian O’Donovan. The huge cast consisted of Karan Casey, The Mulcahy Family, George Keith, Shannon Heaton, Navan, Tony McManus, Billy Novick, Kieran Jordan and many more. The Boston Globe called it, ” A musically resplendent stroll through Celtic Midwinter.” There is also a CD and a DVD of the show available from Celtica Music Shop.

Of course the best present of all, for yourself or someone you love, would be a Celtica Tours trip to Ireland, with me, next May. This time we are exploring the Northern Sights of Ireland. I shied away from touring in this area for many years because of the “troubles.” However, the peace process has really worked and it is now possible to safely visit so many of Northern Ireland’s magnificent places like The Glens of Antrim, The Giant’s Causeway and the Grianan of Aileach. It’s the best of all possible worlds, wandering around scenic rural Ireland in the beautiful month of May and listening to great Irish music every night. Please call me at 800-299-CELT if you have any questions.

“Yes, I’m the Great Procrastinator, Woe Oh, Woe Oh….”

Sometimes, procrastination pays off. This time last year, I put some free MP3 downloads of Christmas songs on my website and, you guessed it, they are still there for the taking. I almost did the same with the Christmas lights but I finally got them down in July, which was early for me. And what good did that do me? Now I have to put them all back up again. Why can’t everyday be Christmas? It would make life so much easier.

I hope you all enjoy the upcoming holidays and New Year. My New Year’s resolution is to write my blog more often but don’t hold your breath.


  1. David McD says:

    I urge anyone who is considering it to go on Robbie’s Celtica Tour. I had the pleasure of going on the 2008 trip and had a wonderful time. In fact, Robbie was considering leaving me on Great Blasket island with a donkey who had befriended me, but I was too quick for him and got to the boat first. They wouldn’t let me bring the donkey, though…

    Go to Ireland with Robbie. You’ll enjoy it.

    David McD

  2. Sara of Pennsylvania says:

    David McD, is that you? What a delight to hear another rhapsodizing over Robbie’s magnificent tours. Besides, I fear if no one writes responses to his blogs, he will stop writing them…
    But back to the Blaskets, I could happily have stayed out there for days and, oh, I don’t know, just camped out. What a life-changing experience that Great Blasket Island is.

    Sara Mc

  3. SallyB says:

    Geez, Robbie, you surely give new meaning to the word “procrastinator”! And I thought that I was bad about doing things! At least I regularly write and update my blog entries ( in case you are curious).

    So… you wrote a new song, did you? I just a week ago heard Cherish the Ladies perform a Christmas song that they said that you wrote that was just lovely! They were in our area so naturally I hightailed it to the concert. So when did you write this lovely melody? Has it been recorded anywhere?

    Looking forward to seeing you again in July at Augusta, provided, of course, that I can afford it this next year. The only reason I made it down this past year was because my family gave me the money to go because I was so totally broke from medical bills that soaked my finances. Let’s hope that the newly elected Obama administration addresses this crucial issue of health care!

    Have a great holiday season and see you this summer, “the good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise”, as they say!

    ~Sally Burnell