Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

All Things Celtic

I’m a big fan of Celtic music. When the film Titanic came out in 1997, I was in my element. My wife’s background is Nova Scotian. So imagine if you will what it must have been like for me when the Irish influence hit North America back in the mid to late 90’s. I realized I couldn’t turn a channel without a Celtic-themed program playing on one station or another. The media knew how to take a good thing and make it better.

Lord of the Rings
Lord of the Rings

Today, I’d like to dedicate my Freedom Friday post to all that is Celtic.

As I was saying, since my wife is from Nova Scotia, whenever we visit there, we’d always have an invitation extended to us to attend a cèilidh–a social gathering featuring song and dance. Sometimes we’d host it as well. Our typical cèilidh consists of lots of snacks and music performed by family members. Back in the day, my wife’s parents were a famous singing duo, touring and appearing on the CBC. They eventually ended up inducted into Nova Scotia’s Country Music Hall of Fame. That would account for the musical talent running through her side of the family. From my side, I had a relative in South America who was a classical conductor and maestro. And I studied baroque composition for a while at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music.

Music runs through our blood.

There was a time my wife and I were also performing for the crowds. I played the guitar and my wife sang. We’d perform such tunes as Song for the Mira and other Celtic favorites. Members of the audience who knew my in-laws would come up to us after the show and tell us how we reminded them of the Hall of Famers. I took it as one of the biggest compliments anyone could have received.

Anyway, how did we get on to that? Right, I was talking about our family cèilidh. Yes, we still have them whenever we visit Nova Scotia.


Going back to the mid to late 90’s, that era was a highpoint for all that was Celtic. Riverdance was one of our favorite shows to go see. Although we didn’t get the opportunity to watch Jean Butler or Michael Flatley perform, their understudies’ interpretation was more than what we had hoped for in a show. I’m a wild fanatic of the spectacle, having purchased all the soundtracks and videos. It really was the thing to watch live in those days.

Then there was Titanic. Gosh, when that hit the screen, no one could get enough of the film. It was the first movie I can classify as an event. It came out December 19, 1997, and except for a few of my friends, everyone had gone to see it. We talked about Jack and Rose as if the characters were part of the family. At one point, I knew everything there was to know about the making of the film. I had become obsessed with the era, and I wanted to understand how such a tragedy could have happened to the unsinkable ship.

Finally, no talk about all things Celtic would be complete without a special mention regarding The Lord of the Rings.

I’ll have to admit this—when the trilogy came out, I wasn’t a fan. I thought the films were overly long, drawn-out vehicles for stoking the egos of the filmmakers.

I was terribly wrong.

It wasn’t until years later, when my kids got into the series, that I’d become fascinated with the features. I recognized how incredibly detailed the filming process must have been for director Peter Jackson. Not only that, but more importantly, the emotion behind the performances of Elijah Wood as Frodo and Sean Astin as Sam rattles me to this day. The films also represent a brilliant setting for life in simpler times.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could live in a time when we didn’t have to check our phones every two minutes to see who liked or commented on our content?

To me, The Lord or the Rings world, with all its Celtic flavor, is that time.

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What do you think of Celtic music? Have you seen Riverdance? What do you like about The Lord of the Rings trilogy?


Jack Flacco is an author and the founder of Looking to God Ministries, an organization dedicated to spreading the Word of God through outreach programs, literature and preaching.

10 thoughts on “All Things Celtic

  1. I am also a big Loreena McKennitt fan. One of my (other) favorite authors, Charles DeLint and his wife played (in a band I believe) and they played some Celtic music as well. Although I don’t believe I’ve ever actually heard any of their music.
    When I was much younger, I was quite into the whole Larp, Sca, Celtic, Norse …. thing.
    I still love the music, but turned from role playing to the martial arts.
    As to Sean Astin, here’s my experience with him.

  2. I saw Michael Flatley in his post-Riverdance Lord of the Dance show in Manchester. (I think we saw a Flatley-less Riverdance too.) My favourite Celtic musician is Loreena MacKennitt and if you haven’t already heard him try Dan Ar Braz, the Breton guitarist (look for Borders of Salt on Youtube). You could even have Celtic metal (Nightwish’s track Last of the Wilds).

    Is Lord of the Rings imagery Celtic? I always thought the language was Middle English and Runic (Norse), but I haven’t seen the films, so don’t know what imagery they’ve incorporated into them.

  3. Never saw Riverdance beyond a clip or two online. I’m always surprised by how often I stumble onto Celtic music. For some reason it shows up a lot on a Pandora channel I follow that is mostly video game music, but has a bunch of instrumental on there too. Then again, I never know if I have the definition of Celtic music right. I always think of Mummer’s Dance from way back when.

  4. Exactly! The Celtic music is just… magical! When I lived in Ireland, it was such a joy to go out and explore the music scene – especially with Celtic and Irish music.
    From one music lover to another: Lovely post!:)

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