Celtic Thunder’s haunting Christmas 1915 – so moving

Celtic Thunder’s Christmas 1915 beautifully evokes about one of the most moving, surreal and human moments of the 20th century.

The song was written by Tommy Fleming and is based on the true story about the British, French and German soldiers during the First World War. More than quarter of a million Irish soldiers were serving in the British military at that time.

On Christmas day an unofficial truce was called among the soldiers, the guns stopped firing and they left the trenches on the Western Front and met in the middle in no man’s land.

The British, French and Germans exchanged food, cigarettes and souvenirs. They also swapped prisoners of war and even sang carols.

Most famously, amid the horrors that they had all being experiencing for the past several months, they played a game of football.

Lieutenant Kurt Zehmisch of the 134th Saxon Infantry Regiment said: “The English brought a soccer ball from their trenches, and pretty soon a lively game ensued. How marvellously wonderful, yet how strange it was.”

Celtic Thunder, whose line-up at the time of this performance consisted of Ireland’s Damian McGinty, Keith Harkin, Paul Byrom, Ryan Kelly and Scotland’s George Donaldson, did Fleming’s song proud.

The band dressed as British soldiers and sat holding prop guns on a set made to look like a trench.

The lyrics tell how they heard a German soldier singing a song of peace from no man’s land on Christmas day.

They left the trench, and for the day, soldiers from either side befriended each other.

The second half of the song returns to the tragedy of the war as the following day the guns started firing and the killing resumed.

Take a look at the video below.

More on Irish band Celtic Thunder

Categorized as Blog, Songs

By Michael Kehoe

Michael Kehoe is a writer for Irish Music Daily and Ireland Calling. His favourite Irish Music bands are Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys.