Ceol agus Craic

the phrase “ceol agus craic” literally means singing and having fun, and doing a bit of trad dancing on the side. i envy the camaraderie of Irish trad musicians who can pick up a fiddle, tin whistle or accordion and join in playing old Irish songs and tunes. these musicians all play by ear and with wonderful joy-de-vivre.


  • some may sing in native tongue,
    fiddles and bodhrans may battle,
    button-accordians join the throng
    – spoons on knees may rattle.

    yelps syncopate that rhythm riot,
    laughs and smiles exchanged,
    feet tap in time, not so quiet –
    nothing needs to be explained.

    I envy those who play by ear
    no sheet music evident on hand,
    that kinship craic evidently clear
    in those Chomhaltas* ceili bands.

    Protestant culture cannot compare,
    garrulous gatherings, bred in bone,
    when someone sings a poignant air,
    or set steps sound on slate flagstone.


    Comhaltas = Irish music and dance centres

    photo credit:


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