Clannad’s Roots

Clannad hail from Dore, a townland around 3 miles from my home here in Donegal. The band’s original members included siblings Ciaran, Pol and Maire Brennan together with their uncles – twins Noel and Padraig Duggan.

Ciaran, Pol and Maire’s parents Maire (known as Baba), and Leo had passed their gift for music to their family –  Baba was a music teacher in a local school, and Leo led The Slieve Foy Showband.

The family opened a world famous pub in nearby Meenaleck back in 1968 called Leo’s Tavern. If you ever pay a visit, you will see many of Clannad and Enya’s musical awards adorning the walls.

Enya ( a sister to Maire, Pol and Ciaran) was a member of Clannad from 1980 -1982, before pursuing a successful solo career.

The Band’s Journey

Clannad’s debut album “Clannad” was released in 1973.

They had released five further albums by 1982, when they rose to international fame with the theme from a television drama called “Harry’s Game”. The song won them an Ivor Novello Award in 1982. It remains the only UK hit single sung in Irish.

You can listen to the theme music HERE

The Concert

On Friday 27th October, I was blessed to see Clannad live for the second time. They played to a sold out audience in our local theatre Amharclann Ghaoth Dobhair.

My excitement reached epic proportions as I watched the stage, bathed in ethereal light:


Finally, the band arrived onstage – the first time in the Amharclann for 41 years. Maire’s son Paul and daughter Aisling joined them onstage.

Sadly, one original band member was missing – Padraig Doogan passed away on 9th August 2016. Leo Brennan died on 22 June 2016, making it a very poignant performance.

The Music

The stage lights provided a rainbow of colours, as Clannad mesmerised us with Irish songs “Thios Chois na Tra Domh”  which you can watch HERE and “Dulaman” – which begins: “Dulaman na binne bui” (Seaweed of the yellow cliff…), plus “Down by the Salley Gardens,” with words from a poem by William Butler Yeats…

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My favourite Clannad songs include the theme tune from “Robin of Sherwood” screened 1984-86, which won them a BAFTA award for best original TV music.  You can listen HERE

“I Will Find You” – from the movie “The Last of The Mohicans,” in 1993. You can listen to it HERE

“Newgrange” found HERE

It was magical to hear ALL my favourites sung LIVE.

The band have recorded a total of 16 studio albums and 3 live albums. In addition to the BAFTA and Ivor Novello Award they won Billboard World Music Song of the Year 1992 with “Ri na Gruinne,” a Grammy award in 1999 for Best New Age Album “Landmarks,” plus two Lifetime Achievement Awards – in 2007 from Meteor music Awards, and in 2014 from BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

Many of their songs have an otherworldly quality, with beautiful harmonies akin to a choir of angels. I could have listened to them forever…

Sadly, this VERY special evening came to an end.


I bought a beautiful CD recorded on 29th January 2011 at Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin. It includes 19 songs and ALL my favourites. I feel incredibly blessed.


Brigid P. Gallagher is a retired natural medicines therapist, passionate organic gardener and author of “Watching the Daisies- Life lessons on the Importance of Slow,” a holistic memoir dedicated to the art of mindfulness and healing from debilitating illness.


  1. What a supremely talented group. How lucky you are to have seen a live concert. All the ones you’ve chosen are favourites of mine especially Newgrange and the very haunting Theme from Harry’s Game,
    Thank you
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a lovely post that brought back so many memories! I’m so glad you enjoyed their recent concert. Sometimes groups don’t always grow old gracefully do they, but Clannad certainly seemed to have mastered the trick. I agree with your description of their angelic harmonies Brigid.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Clannad are absolutely other-worldly …. their sound is so haunting and beautiful and takes you to a quite spiritual plain I think. I’m so happy that you shared this wonderful memory with us. It has made me warmly happy.

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  4. Brigid, what a great reminder of a superb band I have not thought about for a long time. I was a fan for a while after buying Magical Ring. Theme from Harry’s Game, Newgrange (before I even knew what it was) and Tower Hill (I worked in a place called Tower Hill in Kirkby Liverpool – not the same thing at all:named after the high rise flats) were magical tracks and I have followed Enya’s music (lets face it who hasn’t!). Knew she was related, didn’t know how. It must have been such a magical evening. Shame to hear about members passing away (it’s a rather unpleasant reminder that I am not in my late 20s anymore!) thanks for sharing the experience with us and featuring their beautiful music.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m a fan of Clannad’s and Enya’s otherworldly music as well, I didn’t realize they were related – thank you for sharing your magical evening with us, your lovely posts about your garden, peaceful walks and heavenly music paint a vivid picture of your beautiful corner of the world!

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  6. I love both Clannad and Enya, even though I don’t understand the lyrics a lot of the time. As you say, there’s an ethereal quality to their music which kind of creeps up on you and inveigles you in. It must have been a wonderful evening!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lovely! And so glad you got to be immersed in the sounds of live performance.

    Celtic Music is rich, full of emotion and many-layered. As a musician, the draw is always there – to glean ideas for further composition, to find others of like mindedness to play certain ancient gems, to enjoy the faces & body movements of those listening/dancing at Irish Festivals and such…
    No wonder everyone claims at least a thimble-full of Irish ancestry!
    I think you might find this post interesting:

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you, thank you for introducing this group to me. No, I didn’t know of them. ;-0 I’ve just added Clannad to my Pandora list and will wake up in the morning with them, and write with their beautiful music in the background.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for reminding me of the richness found in the music of Clannad. I’d forgotten the incredible, calming, melodic sounds of the voices which surely came from another world.

    My own personal favourite has always been the Theme from Harry’s Game for it’s hauntingly beautiful sounds and voices. Absolutely divine.

    Liked by 1 person

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