Magical Ring and a hit with Harry’s Game

By 1982, Clannad had already released five albums and had become one of Ireland’s top bands.

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Then, following the departure of singer and keyboard player Enya, the band released their sixth album, Magical Ring. Half of the album contained traditional songs and the other was original material.

The album contained a song called Theme From Harry’s Game, which they had recorded for British TV drama, Harry’s Game. The song gave the band their first top 10 UK hit, reaching number 5 in the charts.


Moya said: “When ‘Harry’s Game’ came out, I remember somebody asked us: ‘Where’d you get the sound?’ We were all a bit taken aback with that – ‘Wow, we do have a sound.’ It was a surprising thing for us to consider because our sound was something that gradually grew along with us through our collecting of Gaelic songs. It wasn’t a conscious process on our part.”

Following the success of Theme From Harry’s game, Clannad were commissioned to write music for Robin of Sherwood, a British TV Drama. They wrote several pieces of music to fit the storylines, and the soundtrack, Legend, became their seventh album.

Millions of people were now hearing their music every week and in 1984 they became the first Irish act to win a BAFTA for Best Original Television Music for their Robin of Sherwood soundtrack.

Macalla and Sirius

They wrote so much music for the show that it didn’t all fit on the Legend album and while some of it has been lost, some appeared on their follow up album, Macalla. Macalla was released in 1986 and featured singles, Closer to Your Heart, In a Lifetime – which was a duet with Bono – and Almost Seems (Too Late to Turn), which was the official Children in Need single in 1985.

Their ninth album, Sirius, was released in 1988. In the title track of the album the band expressed concern for the environment and their support of Greenpeace which had a ship of the same name. Critics were slightly disappointed by the album as it didn’t meet the bands usual high standards and Pól even apologised for it years later.

Two successful soundtracks

They returned to form with another album, Atlantic Realm, released the same year. It featured more music that they had written for TV, this time for a BBC documentary about the Atlantic Ocean.

Their eleventh album, The Angel and the Soldier Boy was released in 1989. It was a soundtrack to an animation. The music helped to tell the story as there were no vocals or voice-overs. Both this and the Atlantic Realm albums were minor successes.

Magical Ring and Harry’s Game
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