Tag: scotland

The Creatures of Samhain | HubPages

The meaning of the word Samhain comes from Old Irish meaning “summer’s end,” from summer, samh and end, fuin. The modern Irish word for summer is samhradh, and Samhain is still the name for the month of November in Ireland. Celts considered sundown as the start of the day, which is why, though Samhain actually falls on November 1st, it would have been celebrated starting at sundown the night before, on October 31st. It is one of the four main festivals in Celtic tradition, making up the “quarter days,” the days between the equinoxes and solstices.

With Samhain comes a wide variety of supernatural creatures.

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Source: The Creatures of Samhain | HubPages

Time Tourist Outfitters, Ltd.

Wilda had retired from the Temporal Agents for an excellent reason.

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Audio formats: Audible / Scribd / GooglePlay / Kobo / Nook / Chirp / Audiobooks.com / hibooks / hoopla / Storytel

Watch me read the first scenes on my YouTube channel!

Retired First Nations Temporal Agent Wilda just wants to run her Toronto shop, garb Time Tourists, and send them on their merry way into the past. She finds contentment in her cat, her sarcasm, and her whiskey. All that changes when a deathly ill Traveller literally fell onto her doorstep, setting off a chain of events which forces her to return to the job she’d retired from decades before.

The Agency sends her and her assistant, Mattea, back into three dangerous eras of history to find the disease vector threatening the life of every modern Traveller. She searches through a teeming desert bazaar amongst the luxury of the court of Mansa Musa. She explores the dark forests of pre-Columbian America, fighting against the heartbreak of true love. She gets entangled in the convoluted politics of twelfth century Norse-ruled Orkney, sifting through the horrific carnage of a murdered village.

If Wilda can’t return in time with the right pathogen, the modern scientists can’t synthesize a cure for the disease before all the Travellers fall ill. She has to navigate politics, bandits, camels, and midnight coup d’etats, complete her mission, and return to the present, or lose herself in the depths of her own purposely-forgotten past.

    

La na Cailleach – Spring Equinox – Fools, Cuckoos, the Lady and the Devil – Cailleach’s Herbarium

When the light of the sun of this day shines into the inner chamber of Sliabh na Calli (The Cailleach’s mound). By solar reckoning, the year is exactly half. Half day, half night. At one exact moment, the world balanced on a pin head. Everything in equal measure, fifty-fifty, resting in perfect balance, a pause. A breath. Exhale. The cry of the cuckoo calls out. Release. We move on to the lighter times. The spring equinox La na Cailleach is here.

 

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Source: La na Cailleach – Spring Equinox – Fools, Cuckoos, the Lady and the Devil – Cailleach’s Herbarium

Professor Andrew McNeillie – ‘Theatres in the Round – Islands, Islanders, and Audiences: or backstage, stalls and gods: in the Unnameable Archipelago’. | Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies

On the 12th of February, the Centre had the pleasure of welcoming Professor Andrew McNeillie to give the annual Tannahill lecture. Professor Gerard Carruthers introduced the event, outlining that i…

Source: Professor Andrew McNeillie – ‘Theatres in the Round – Islands, Islanders, and Audiences: or backstage, stalls and gods: in the Unnameable Archipelago’. | Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies

Celtic Music

I’ve been enjoying what is loosely termed ‘Celtic Music’ since I was a child. It all began with The Unicorn album by the Irish Rovers. My mom had a copy… I think I was 4? 5? Regardless, I’ve always loved Irish and Scottish music. I’ve since branched off from ‘traditional’ Celtic music to embrace more aspects of this genre. Below are some bands I’ve enjoyed. Feel free to let me know of any I’ve missed!

 

 

  • Afro Celt Sound System – I have several of their albums, including Seed and Sound Magic, and love them all.  This is Celtic and Senegalese music mixed.  Very funky and upbeat.
  • Aine Minogue – lovely Irish Harpist with a bit of New Age
  • Albannach – drums and pipes and LOTS of energy
  • Altan – the lead singer, Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh, has a wonderful voice!
  • Anuna – New Age music with a Celtic feel, uses nonsense words to convey dreamy music
  • Bear McCreary – American composer who has done music for Outlander, The Walking Dead, and Battlestar Galactica
  • Black ‘47 – sometimes silly, always passionate, fun and energetic
  • Blackmore’s Night – Ritchie Blackmore used to play guitar for Deep Purple, and then went mystical with his girlfriend singing – neat stuff
  • Bohola – a Chicago-based duo, really, consisting of Jimmy Keane on piano
  • Bothy Band – traditional Irish trad group from the 1970sBoys of the Lough – they combine Irish and Scottish influences, but include in their number Cathal McConnell, one of the great Irish song-collectors
  • Brobdingnanian Bards – Traditional ren band, very good, very nice!  I also see them at Dragoncon every year.
  • Caladh – a local pub group we saw in Kilkenny – they were great!  (and the lead singer is cute!)
  • Capercaillie – This band features wonderful vocals by Karen Matheson, and a haunting feel.
  • Cara Dillon – Irish folk singer with clear, sweet vocals
  • Celtic Thunder – Irish American group done with polish and talent, a bit like a male version of Celtic Woman.
  • Celtic Woman – all-female Irish vocal ensemble which has high production value, and has launched many careers. Chloe Agnew, Orla Fallon, Lisa Kelly, Hayley Westenra, Mairead Nesbitt and many others.
  • Cernunnos Rising – New Age, Druidic and Celtic music
  • Cherish the Ladies – New York based group with lovely vocals, traditional/ceili
  • Chieftains – Another 40 year old band, well respected and making music.
  • Christy Moore – the Granddad of Irish Folk music
  • Claire Roche – Irish harpist who loves Yeats’ Poetry
  • Clanadonia – drums and pipes and tribal energy
  • Clann An Drumma – tribal band from Scotland, drums and pipes
  • Clannad – Enya’s family, very talented.   They do a lot of trad, but also do many ethereal original pieces.
  • Coda – male a capella traditional band in Ireland, great harmonies. I got to see them live in Westport a couple of years ago.
  • Crannog – Traditional Ren Faire musicians
  • Culann’s Hounds – great traditional Irish folk band from San Francisco
  • Damh the Bard – Wonderful pagan music, traditional sounds
  • Danú – a fantastic trad-based band hailing mostly from Co Waterford.
  • Davy Spillane – hands down, the best Uillean pipe player
  • De Dannan – Top Irish trad group from the 1970s
  • Déanta – Lovely young vocal Irish groupDervish – teetering a little close to more modern style songs
  • Dolores Keane – Classic singer with a fantastic voice
  • Donovan – Scottish singer with an eclectic blended style, mainstream in the 60s and 70s.
  • Dougie MacLean – Scottish folk singer, best known for his song Caledonia, which still makes me tear up every time I hear it.
  • Dropkick Murphys – Celtic Punk Rock band
  • Dubliners – legendary band from Dublin
  • Emerald Rose – This is a wonderful live band, not as magical on their CDs though.  I see them at Dragoncon every year – they combine Irish traditional with rocking pagan music.
  • Empty Hats – the prior incarnation was Double Indemnity, and are now Empty Hats.  They are one of the BEST ren bands I have ever heard, full of energy, humor, and talent.
  • Enter the Haggis – Celtic Rock band from America, lots of fun and energy
  • Enya – Who hasn’t heard of Enya?  Her haunting singing and mythical music got her the gig to do the Elves music in Lord of the Rings.  Who better?  Was part of Clannad (her family) at one point.
  • Erin’s Guild – Trad Rock band out of New England
  • Flogging Molly – Celtic Punk band
  • Gaelic Storm – This is the band that played below decks in the Titanic movie – lots of energy, lots of fun!
  • Grainne Hambly – traditional Irish harp music
  • Great Big Sea – they sing a lot of traditional songs, as do most Plastic Paddy bands, but with modern energy and beat (from Newfoundland)
  • Heather Alexander – Californian singer and fiddler
  • Hollie Smith – A beautiful haunting, smooth voice, sometimes in duet with Steve McDonald
  • Horslips – Irish Celtic rock band inspired by traditional musicIrish Rovers – I grew up listening to ‘The Unicorn’ and other fun songs by this very folk group
  • Iona – progressive Celtic rock band from the UK
  • Jethro Tull –  Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull released (2000) a wonderful flute album called The Secret Language of the Birds that is enchanting.
  • Julie Fowlis – fantastic Scottish Gaelic singer, on the soundtrack from Brave
  • Kate Rusby – throaty singer of traditional songsKelliana – Pagan singer extraordinaire
  • Liadan – lovely group of female vocalists out of Ireland
  • Loreena McKennitt – She has an incredible range for her voice, and tends to do original songs based on legends and myths in Celtic culture, such as Arthurian legends.
  • Lothlorien – this New Zealand band takes traditional music and enchants it with mystical music.  Theirs is one of my favorite Celtic CDs of all time.
  • Luke Kelly – Irish singer and folk musician from Dublin, founding member of the DublinersLúnasa – Irish folk band with great energy
  • Maire Brennan (Moya Brennan) – lead singer of Clannad, she has fantastic music as solo as well
  • Mary Black – Irish singer of both folk and modern material
  • Makem Brothers – Sons of Tommy Makem reviving the trad
  • Mary Black – Beautiful Irish vocalist
  • Mediaeval Baebes – wonderful a capella harmonies
  • Mike Freeman/Tania Opland – I first discovered this duo because they produced a wonderful CD based on Anne McCaffrey Dragonriders of Pern books, and I was hooked.  They are a wonderful studio band, and my special favorite is Cut to Rhythms.  I have all of their albums.
  • Morrigu – Celtic Trad and Irish punk, mix thoroughly
  • Narada – This is actually a collection of music, and each CD has a theme. One, Celtic Mysteries, is a mix of Celtic and Indian (Asian) music.  There is Celtic Odyssey, Celtic Dance, etc.  You get the idea.
  • Natalie MacMaster – fantastic fiddling
  • Noel McLoughlin – traditional singer with throaty, powerful vocals
  • Off Kilter – We saw them first at EPCOT in the Canada exhibition – rock music to bagpipes, what a combo!
  • Old Blind Dogs – Great harmonies and rhythm (Scottish)
  • Omnia – Neoceltic pagan folk band based in the Netherlands
  • Paddy Reilly – best known for Fields of Athenry, a traditional Irish folk singer and balladeer
  • Pandora Celtica – Delightful a capella band with a great deal of sea shanties and beautiful harmonies
  • Peatbog Fairies – Scottish rock and house music fusion
  • Planxty – Irish folk music band from the 1970s, included Christy Moore, Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny and Liam O’Flynn. Helped popularize Irish music.
  • Prodigals – Another group of great energy, combined with wicked humor. Their CD ‘Dreaming in Hell’s Kitchen’ is just very happy and fun.
  • Runrig – Great Scottish folk/rock band
  • Sarah McLachlan – Canadian singer best known for songs that make you cry
  • Seven Nations – American Celtic rock group with lots of power
  • Sharon Shannon – Accordion player extraordinaire
  • Shooglenifty – Celtic/rock Scotland group that does a bit of house style music
  • Sileas – traditional Scottish harp musicSilly Wizard – One of the forerunners of modern traditional music – no, that’s not a contradiction.  They started out in the 1970s playing traditional music to huge crowds, and were one of the reasons for the current resurgence in Celtic interests.  The lead singer, Andy M. Stewart, wrote many well known modern songs such as Queen of Argyle and Ramblin’ Rover.
  • Sinead O’Connor – Irish pop and trad singer. Her vocals in Foggy Dew, for instance, are incredibly powerful
  • Sliabh Notes – fantastic Sliabh Luachra-style music.
  • Smoky Finish – They are probably the least Celtic of these, but still have some traditional music in their CDs.  Again, modern take and energy on old songs.
  • Solas – American Irish trad music group
  • Stan Rogers – Canadian folk and traditional singer known for his sea songs
  • Steeleye Span – English folk-rock band from the 1970s, still active today
  • Steve McDonald – Ethereal bagpipes with a story – what else could you want?  His CDs Sons of Somerled and Stone of Destiny are among the best I’ve heard.
  • Teada – another really, really great trad band, whose leader Oisin Mac Diarmada is one of my favorite fiddlers, and who along with flute-player Damien Stinson is from Sligo.
  • The Clancy Brothers – This group practically defines Irish folk music – they’ve been around over 40 years, singing the folk music to us beautifully.
  • The Corries – Scottish folk duo, traditional
  • The Corrs – Pop Irish Trad family, Irish. Andrea Corr had an incredible voice.
  • The Cranberries – Powerful vocals and lyricsThe Gothard Sisters – Lovely true sisters with beautiful vocals. I just saw them live in November
  • The High Kings – sort of a male version of Celtic Women, great voices and high production value in concertThe Irish Rovers – Traditional Irish Band that was actually my first exposure to Irish music. My mom had The Unicorn album.
  • The Irish Rovers – Traditional, high energy, classic.
  • The Pogues – short for ‘Pogue mo Thoin’, or Kiss my Ass, this punk Irish band exploded on the scene
  • The Proclaimers – best known for their song ‘500 miles’, this Scottish rock band has many other hits
  • The Rankin Family – Cape Breton traditional Celtic/American Country band
  • The Saw Doctors – Irish folk/rock group with lots of powerThe Young Dubliners – American Celtic Rock band
  • The Waterboys – Traditional band, mainly musicians from Scotland, England and Ireland
  • Tommy Makem – A founder of the irish folk/traditional revival, father of the Makem brothers
  • Tommy Sands – Singer and Songwriter from northern Ireland, best known for his sacrifice during the hunger strikes
  • Turlogh O’Carolan – not a modern composer, but one from the 18th century. The last true Bard, credited with many of the classic tunes.
  • U2 – The most famous Irish band, enough said.
  • Van Morrison – Van the Man. Northern Irish singer, mainstream in the 60s.
  • William Jackson – traditional Scottish harp music
  • Wolfe Tones – Known for their strong political songs, this is another folk group

The Druid’s Brooch Series

The Druid’s Brooch is a family legacy, handed down through countless generations, granting each holder a specific magical power, unique to them. Follow the stories of these generations.

Watch me read the first scenes on my YouTube channel!

Historical fantasy set in Ireland, 1846 – Book #1

(The rest of the Druid’s Brooch Series is at my publisher’s page HERE)

Amazon. com / Amazon.UKNook / Smashwords / Applebooks / Kobo

Audiobook:  Google Play / Apple

A transatlantic journey, a quest for lost family, and a magical brooch.

Wealthy Valentia has the perfect life—except for the nightmares that plague her, foretelling disaster if she doesn’t find the brooch her grandmother mysteriously lost decades ago in Ireland. The night her family’s hotel burns to the ground, Valentia knows she can no longer wait. Risking a perilous Atlantic voyage, Valentia and her brother set sail to Ireland to find their grandmother’s family—and the brooch.

But the journey exacts a terrible toll, and her health deteriorates. Struggling to navigate a new country, cope with the desperate poverty, and untangle a complicated web of family secrets, Valentia fears she’ll never find the brooch in time to save her sanity—until she discovers a clue which sends her on a desperate trek across the Irish countryside, despite the dangers.

As the clock ticks down, her grasp on sanity slips through her fingers, forcing her to fight for a centuries-old legacy or lose everything.

Legacy of Hunger is the first book in The Druid’s Brooch Series. If you like strong female characters, heartwarming relationships, and a touch of fairy magic, you’ll love Christy Nicholas’ historical adventure. Buy Legacy of Hunger now to delve into the magic of Ireland’s past.


 

Historical fantasy set in Ireland, 1800 – Book #2

Tirgearr Publishing link

Listen to the first chapter audio

Set in late 18th century Ireland, Esme must grow up quickly in small, isolated northwestern town. Her parents are leaving for America, abandoning her and her sister to fend for themselves. As she struggles to find her place, she finds it difficult to keep hold of what’s left that’s precious to her.

Once married and in a new town, Esme’s only friend, Aisling, helps her through difficult times, as her Traveler husband stays away longer and longer plying his trade.

While Esme has had some comfort in her small family, she must now find comfort on her own, as her treacherous sister tries stealing the family heirloom to sell, a brooch reputed to have mystical powers, which had been left to her by her grandfather. Esme must learn to cope with her dwindling family and growing despair in order to keep the brooch safe.

Drunken Druid Awards Shortlist 2016


 

Historical fantasy set in Ireland and Scotland, 1745 – Book #3

Tirgearr Publishing link

Listen to the first chapter audio

Irish Traveler Éamonn loves gambling, women, and drinking, not necessarily in that order. But he’s entangled in a true mess when he falls for fiery redhead, Katie. When she’s married to a Scottish Traveler, Éamonn travels to Scotland to find her, with the help of Katie’s sister and cousin, and the magical brooch gifted by his father. Their quest takes them across the Irish Sea to the Isle of Skye, encountering war, betrayal, death. In the end, Éamonn must make his own luck.


 

Historical fantasy set in Ireland, 1177.  First in the new trilogy! – Book #4

Tirgearr Publishing Link

Listen to the first chapter audio

Prophecy can be dangerous

In 12th century Ireland, Orlagh has been Seer to her king for forty years. He doesn’t want to hear her prophecies of war and destruction, and dismisses her efforts to warn him. Therefore, she is determined to fulfill her own quest: to find a worthy heir for her magical brooch.

In the course of events, she must pass judgment on a thief, escape a Norman war camp, and battle wits with a Fae lord. She receives some prophecy of her own and enlists the help of a grizzled old warrior, who happens to be a long–time friend.

 


 

Historical fantasy set in Ireland, 1114 – Book #5

Tirgearr Publishing Link

Listen to the first chapter audio

Even a soldier cannot fight love

In 12th century Ireland, all Maelan wants is to do his duty to his Chief and maintain his family’s good name. However, his granddaughter Orlagh, is hell bent on wreaking havoc, with no care for the consequences.

When Orlagh falls in love with an itinerant bard, Maelan must rule with an iron fist to keep her from running away. However, her rebellion against his strictures results in disaster and he almost loses her in the same way he lost his beloved wife.

Maelan must make some difficult decisions and bargains with the Fae to save his granddaughter’s life and future. Can he save her happiness as well?

 


 

Historical fantasy set in Ireland, 1055 – Book #6

Tirgearr Publishing Link

Listen to the first chapter audio
— Time Heals No Wounds —
 

In 11th century Ireland, Étaín must hide her pagan magic from her pious Christian priest husband, Airtre. She wants to escape his physical abuse, but she must stay to protect their grandson, Maelan. Over many lifetimes, she has learned how to endure her own pain, but Maelan is young and vulnerable.

When Airtre’s paranoia and jealousy spiral out of control, Étaín has no choice but to escape in the night with little more than the clothing on her back, leaving a trusted friend to protect Maelan.

This is not the first lifetime Étaín has fled, and she knows how to survive. But when her past comes back to haunt her, she must make decisions that may result in disaster for her, her grandson, and everyone she loves.

 


 

Historical fantasy set in Ireland, 520 – Book #7

Tirgearr Publishing Link

Listen to the first chapter audio

A daring escape, a brother’s duty, and a tragic mistake.

When Conall’s father died, he made his son promise always to take care of his little sister, Lainn.

Lainn could sing the bees from their hives, and make the morning sun sparkle in the winter with her laughter. Conall loved his sister with all his heart, and would do anything to protect her, even without a promise to his father.

He failed.

Between an abusive step-father, a powerful Faerie Queen, and a maddened Fae Lord, every decision Conall made seemed to be the wrong one. Starvation, imprisonment, madness, and disfigurement plagued them. Even when he tried to follow his heart, it turned to disaster.

Can Conall correct his mistakes and save Lainn’s life and soul? Would it cost him his own?


 

Historical fantasy set in Ireland, 460 – Book #8

Tirgearr Publishing Link

Fingin had no drive in his life until he finds a half-drowned dog who becomes his best friend. That friend leads him to a cottage where a powerful woman sends him on a quest to find his grandmother. With his dog, Bran, and a donkey, Sean, they embark upon their journey. The problem is, his grandmother no longer seems to exist in this world.

Between falling in with a band of Fianna, nearly drowning in a river, and climbing to the rocky top of Skellig Michael, Fingin had just about had enough of this quest when some magical creatures sent him in the correct direction.

Once he finds his grandmother, he realizes nothing works out as it should have. She is far from what he remembers and even further from what he’d expected. And she entangled in a power struggle of her own and has little time to attend her wayward grandson.

Soon, a battle ensues, and Fingin is caught in the middle. He decisions will have long-term consequences for himself and those he loves.


 

Historical fantasy set in Ireland, 420.  Final book in the series – Book #9

Tirgearr Publishing Link

Clíodhna has three children and a missing husband, and now finds herself in the middle of growing quarrels with the new church.

When she encounters a strange man in the woods near her house, she discovers a kindred soul, someone to teach her to harness her own innate talents and powers.

At the new church, she develops a friendship with one of the monks, and shares many conversations with him about life, philosophy, and theology. For once, it seems her life is becoming a thing to be savored rather than a thing to simply survive.

Her new teacher, however, clashes with the ideals of the church. Her relationship with the monk is another source of conflict when a new church leader arrives.

A few rash decisions means she must now change her own fate. That means choosing between her happiness—perhaps even her life—and her family. It might be better for all involved if she leaves her children with a trusted friend and disappears into another world.

Can she flee a bad situation, leaving her children to the mercies of fate? Or does she have the power and ability to face the danger herself?

A Druid’s Brooch Short Story

Tirgearr Publishing Link

After his wife dies in childbirth, Turlough decides his children will be better off with their aunt. He leaves in the middle of the night, with only his son, Ruari. Turlough and Ruari travel west to find music, the other true love in Turlough’s life. Unwittingly sleeping under an ancient Faerie stone, they wake up in Faerie. Amidst enchanting music, they almost lose their souls before they escape with their lives. When they return, Turlough finds two years have passed, though he’s only been gone two weeks. His mother is waiting for him with the gift of a magical brooch.

Hidden Gems Series – Travel Guides to Ireland and Scotland

 

Ireland: Mystical, Magical, Mythical

#1 Bestseller on Amazon!

Come travel to the land of magic and mystery. My guide will show you how to plan your own trip, and not be a slave to the tour guide!

Scotland: Stunning, Strange and Secret

#1 Bestseller on Amazon!

Come travel to the land of rugged mountains and men. My guide will show you how to plan your own trip, and not be a slave to the tour guide!