Friday Playlist: Celtic Winter

Songs for when your preferred mode is calm and cozy.

I’ve always had a fondness for traditional Celtic music, and the harps, flutes, and gorgeous accents that tend to accompany it. Though the music is traditionally associated with Ireland and Scotland, its roots can be traced back to Spain, Portugal, and other parts of Europe. It’s perfect for winter, because the songs are as light and airy as snow.

Illustration by Minna


  • SoPoe December 21st, 2012 11:18 PM

    So nice:) I like celtic music, especially Molly Malone – I used to sing that when I was scared as a kid ( I still do:))

  • Lola Witch December 21st, 2012 11:26 PM

    Gorgeous!!! I love Celtic/Irish music!!!

  • Maggie December 21st, 2012 11:28 PM

    I love Orla Fallon! I choreographed this imaginary music video to the song Ni Na La ( that I play in my mind before I go to sleep at night. Also, Secret Garden rules, Enya rules, this playlist rules.

  • broccoli December 21st, 2012 11:38 PM

    this is beautiful. it reminds me of when i was little and used to stay up watching the Celtic Women specials on PBS and just being awestruck by their voices and the harp. It’s audible sadness.

  • Tangerine December 21st, 2012 11:51 PM

    Omg omg omg
    I just spent hours not long ago combing the internet trying to find the name of that first song, Snow by Loreena Mckennit. I found it on a generic celtic winter songs compilation as a young teen and played the cd on repeat all december long, with my window open, savoring the feeling. (It was the desert, so I didn’t freeze to death, it was in the fifties and delicious!) If I close my eyes, that song brings me back.
    Great mix <3

  • Cerise December 21st, 2012 11:52 PM

    Enya, Secret Garden, Celtic Woman, Loreena McKennitt, all in one playlist? You have no idea how happy this makes me… <3 <3 <3

  • carabear December 22nd, 2012 12:32 AM

    Aahh I love Celtic music!! Especially Enya. Her album Paint the Sky with Stars is fantastic!! Ugh and Trains and Winter Rains…

  • Abby December 22nd, 2012 12:56 AM


  • Isy December 22nd, 2012 1:31 AM

    And the Pogues! They aren’t women, but they are wintry and celtic.

  • Meara.L.Lovegood December 22nd, 2012 1:37 AM

    I did Irish dance for ten years, and what I’ve taken most from it is my love of Irish Music. Play me some King of the Faeries at speed 113 and I’ll be yours forever. <3

    • Kate December 22nd, 2012 8:02 AM

      KING OF THE FAIRIES! I play Irish music and we did that for the fleadh. Love it!
      Ps this playlist needs The Snowy Path

      • barrett December 23rd, 2012 12:37 AM

        THE SNOWY PATH <3 <3 <3

  • DreamBoat December 22nd, 2012 1:53 AM



  • cloudinthesky December 22nd, 2012 5:50 AM

    Christmas can come now <3

  • Elizabete December 22nd, 2012 6:54 AM

    This list is incredibly beautiful.
    Also not traditional Celtic, but Stings album “If on a winters night” is really beautiful and has an ensemble of different Scottish/ Northern English musicians with fiddles, melodeons etc. Quite magical :)

  • WitchesRave December 22nd, 2012 7:11 AM

    Nollag shona duit! (merry chrismas in my native irish gaeilge!)

    I love when rookie embraces cultures other thatn american!

  • streaked lights December 22nd, 2012 10:34 AM

    Gorgeous!! I adore celtic music, but I don’t really know any artists or bands who make this kind of music. Thanks for giving me a great start!

  • Erika Wilder December 22nd, 2012 10:38 AM

    Dream playlist! Thank you!!

  • Fen December 22nd, 2012 11:14 AM

    :D Thanks!

  • lxmldrt December 22nd, 2012 11:27 AM

    My mother used to love celtic music, and when she passed away and i was little, i could do nothing but cry while listening to it. Maybe now it’s time for a reawakening, because i find this beautiful. Thank you!

  • catpower44 December 22nd, 2012 12:32 PM

    I love May it Be so much! It’s so beautiful! I practically grew up on Celtic music, my parents love it so much, I’m so glad you guys did a playlist on this!

  • starsinyourheart December 22nd, 2012 2:07 PM

    I love this! My mama is Irish so I especially adore Celtic music :)

  • Stephanie December 22nd, 2012 2:18 PM

    I listened to this while familiarizing myself with the new tarot deck I got for Solstice. Perfect vibes!!!

  • ewesjustfluffy December 22nd, 2012 3:18 PM

    Ya’ll should listen to The Bells of Dublin by The Chieftains. The whole album is amazing, but The Wren in the Furze may be the best song ever. You can’t not jig to it.

  • tangratoe December 22nd, 2012 7:20 PM

    I totally thought I was the only one who loved Celtic music- this just made my week! :)

    May I suggest checking out the Cheiftains Celtic Christmas album, “The Bells of Dublin?” Its amazing!

  • barrett December 22nd, 2012 8:48 PM

    This type of music resonates so deeply with me and rocks me back to my Irish roots. LOVE.

    Would also like to point out that KARAN CASEY is amazing, particularly her album The Winds Begin to Sing, inspired by a lyric in “The Snows They Melt the Soonest.” She has a song called Eppie Morrie that’s based off a Scottish legend about a woman who is forced into a rogue arranged marriage and then wrestles and defeats her husband when he attempts to rape her. Yeah. Basically, it makes me feel like a badass, Boudica-esque, feminist muthafucka and I love it.

    Eppie Morrie by Karan Casey:

  • chlowaaay December 23rd, 2012 5:11 PM

    Thank you, Rookie, for introducing me to celtic music! I’ve been listening to this playlist over and over for the past few hours while I’ve been reading and drinking my way through a few glasses of Cinzano – perfect way to spend a Christmassy, cold night by myself!

  • QueenOfLizards December 24th, 2012 2:57 AM


  • BorgleRantipole December 24th, 2012 10:50 AM

    There’s a different version of Snow by Loreena McKennitt on an album called Celtic Voices. It’s heavier on the harp which suits the song better, I think. I used to listen to this album on repeat when I read the Wheel of Time.

  • Pao_Lu23♥ December 25th, 2012 11:47 AM

    I love celtic music!

  • Josefina December 26th, 2012 2:37 PM

    Oh Rookie you know me so well. I like Christmas carols, but I live for celtic music, even if I have no idea of what artists other than Clannad and Loreena McKennit there are out there. I pop out one of my compilation CDs from the store and that’s it. But now I’m going to use this playlist to look for more artists and I’m going to play it like mad! Thank you for doing this Rookie and for thinking of those of us that prefer being told Merry Yuletide ;)

  • Krista December 30th, 2012 11:17 PM

    I am crafting to this as we speak, love it!!