A Celtic Christmas

For the ninth year, island favourites The Irish Descendants and The Navigators tour the island, dolling out holiday cheer with A Celtic Christmas Tour. 


Two of Newfoundland’s best are hitting the road this holiday season, spreading some good cheer and traditional favourites along the way.

The Irish Descendants and The Navigators are two of the island’s finest, no doubt about it. For the ninth time, the pair of trad legends are set to tour the island with A Celtic Christmas, which, in nearing the decade mark, has become the unofficial start to the Christmas season for many a music-lover.

‘Becoming a Tradition’

“They come out to this show every year. For a lot of people it’s the beginning of their Christmas. It’s becoming a tradition,” shared Irish Descendants frontman Con O’Brien, noting that the tour was never designed to be quite so long lasting. 

“It was initially something we didn’t see growing into the big theatre market like it is. It’s now getting into the situation where the show itself is very rewarding for us and the audience.”

The seasoned frontman O’Brien explains that A Celtic Christmas is not your typical holiday performance. Rather, it much resembles a gathering of old friends and new, who sing, laugh and share stories of the good old days. 

“It’s not very often I get to play with Arthur and Fred. We just do this at Christmastime, and you’ve got two very established bands with lots of talent coming together, so it makes for a remarkable bit of music and Christmas songs,” he explains. “We’re telling our stories of growing up in different places and people can relate to what we’re sining on the stage and the stories that we’re telling. They’re all going through the same thing, so people walk away from that show every year with big smiles on their faces.”

O’Brien and fellow bandmates Justin Hickey and Patrick Moran recently celebrated the landmark 15th album for The Irish Descendants, the first in a decade, as the iconic group nears its 30th year.

‘Good Musicianship’

“I’ve always said The Irish Descendants were a Hasbro age band. We’re nine to ninety,” O’Brien laughs. “It’s very rewarding. I’ve always sort of been pinching myself to be able to get up there and get to do something you really enjoy. I was sort of a shy, quiet guy before I stepped on a musical stage before I started to perform. It’s a rewarding thing. 28 years in the music business is a feat. 15 albums is a feat. We’ve been lucky, and being at the right place at the right time always helps. You combine that with hard work and good musicianship all the way through with different configurations of the band over the years, it’s been a good recipe. 

“You come away from an Irish Descendants show being affected,” he adds. “We can make people cry, make people laugh, make them dance, and depending on where it is and who’s there, there’s always a magical moment for somebody, no matter who it is.”

Combining that near three decades worth of musical mileage with the undeniable talents of the equally seasoned  Navigators, adding a dash of Christmas spirit, and A Celtic Christmas is a holiday showcase to bring the cheer to even the most cold hearted grinch. 

“The people go away from that show having that moment in their year they can look forward to, but also that they can relate to,” O’Brien says. “We talk about what drove us to become musicians, about the Christmas music and Christmastime playing for our families being a big part of that. We all have a story or two to tell and we just try to be ourselves. That’s the most important thing. You’re not out there flaunting a big commercial Christmas, you’re just telling stories about growing up in Bay Bulls or Pouch Cove. There’s some magical moments in the show, some tremendous material and people just eat it up.”

For tour dates and ticket information visit artsandculturecentre.com

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