• Paraic's Favourite Traditional Irish Musical Gifts for Christmas

My Favourite Musical Gift Ideas for Christmas

One of the most precious and far-reaching gifts one can ever give or receive is the gift of music. You’ll never ever go wrong, be it an instrument, a handy musical accessory, a tutorial book for learners, music or singing lessons, an album by an inspirational musician or a child’s first whistle.

I’ve been privileged to sell bodhráns, flutes, concertinas, whistles, fiddles, and much more for nearly 40 years and I can still honestly say that I still love what I do, no two days are ever alike.

With this in mind I’ve compiled my list of top gifts for the coming festive season, from stocking fillers and Secret Santa ideas to beautifully crafted instruments and that something extra special for the person who already has it all!

I reckon there’s a gift here for everyone but if you don’t see what you want get in touch and I’ll do my best to help.

Paraic McNeela

Stocking Fillers

Flutes

Flute Maintenance Kit

– a best-seller, we sell at least one practically every day, being a flute player myself this is an invaluable kit designed to keep your flute in tip-top condition.

Conal Ó Grada An Fheadóg Mhór

– Conal’s guide to learning the flute also includes a CD and if you’ve ever had any doubts about learning an instrument from a book this fantastic tutorial package will put paid to them.

Duo-Head Low D Flute & Whistle (TB022) by Tony Dixon – An excellent low D whistle and flute combo by Tony, you get two great instruments for the price of one with its dual-head accessory. It’s great for learners.

Bodhráns

Drum Diddly Bodhrán Cream

– ah, now this is my best-selling premium bodhrán conditioning cream, so good you can use it on your own hands, because you’re worth it! It also resurrects the goatskin to a startling degree and really enhances the tone.

Quick Draw Capo

-My best-selling Capo, slide it on and never take it off. Perfect for nearly all stringed instruments.

Bodhrán Strap – Very handy for playing the bodhrán while standing, or freeing up your hands for switching to another instrument.

Violins/Fiddles

Bogaro & Clemente Rosin – I picked this up in Frankfurt at a music fair. It’s gorgeous rosin, helps your fiddle bow sing and it’s packaged in beautiful little leather pouches.

Helicore Violin Strings – These steel-core violin strings are perfect for fiddle and violin players looking for a bright and powerful sound, a great gift for the trad fiddle player in your life.

Eno Tuner

-I use tuners all the time and this one is a great bargain plus it’s handy, just attach it to the violin neck and tune up.

Practice Mute – For those players who want to practice but are too polite (or embarrassed!) to disturb the neighbours – every fiddle player should have one!

Whistles

Oak Tin whistle

– if someone is looking for a basic yet good traditional tin whistle I always steer them towards Oak, perfect for beginners it also produces a lovely tone.

The Buzzy Band in Fairyland

– this is a colourful introduction for any child to the world of music and features a top class Clarke flute (one of the earliest penny whistles produced).

Secret Santa Under €50

Books & CDs

Bodhrán Basics book with CD by Steafán Hannigan – this is my top-selling bodhrán tutorial book and has been in print since 1991, a perfect gift for a bodhrán beginner

The Irish Flute by Fintan Vallely – I still consult my Vallely flute book for everything from practice tips to flute maintenance, very comprehensive and full of interesting information.

The Loom

CD by Liam O’Connor – for fiddle lovers everywhere, this was voted Irish Times Trad Album of the Year in 2017, yes, it’s that sensational!

The High Seas CD by – another critically acclaimed CD featuring concertina, fiddle, bouzouki and vocals by some of the best young musicians in Ireland, it’s a great CD for the trad music lover.

Instruments

Susato Kildare Pennywhistles – this is a great priced whistle and much loved by customers who have bought it, perfect for the beginner and intermediate whistle player.

The McNeela DIY Bodhrán Kit – make your own bodhrán for under €50! This is another best seller here and I’ve had emails from customers over the years showing me their finished & customised versions. Such a great and original gift for the crafty percussionist.

Pub Prop it – Don’t drop it, pub prop it. I love this gadget, it’s perfect for pub sessions and keeping your instrument safe from floor damage and the rest!

Irish Flute Box – Another best-selling item and one of my top selling cases. It’s foam-lined, shock-proof and has a section for whistles. This is a must-have for the flute player in your life.

Gifts For Children

McNeela Easy-String Kids Pink Fiddle – you can’t miss this bubblegum pink violin! For the reluctant child beginner this not only looks great but has ‘easy-strings’ designed for delicate little fingers and produces a surprisingly nice sound.

McNeela 14 inch Bodhrán – this bodhrán is a perfect size for ages 9 and up, it has all the features of a professional bodhrán, including the rich & warm McNeela signature bass, but in a child-friendly size

The Wren Concertina – This beginner concertina has been a best-seller of mine for years with good reason; it’s a great child-friendly size, it features large white buttons for easy finger placement, a clean bright sound and it comes with free beginner lessons with Caitlín Nic Gabhann.

Tunable Polymer Practice Flute (TB021) by Tony Dixon – If you want them to try out the flute this is an excellent instrument by Tony, it’s easy to fill, produces a great tone and it should get them eager to go on to the next level.

Gifts for Under the Tree

Under €100 ($)

Bodhrán Gig Bag – we designed this bag to be sturdy yet lightweight and with plenty of cushioning for your bodhrán, I also added handy beater pockets at the front plus rubber floor protectors. They also look fantastic; at the Drogheda Fleadh a bodhrán player friend of mine had a never-ending stream of people asking him where he got his.

14” Non-Tunable bodhrán

– this is a classic really, with taped goatskin you’ll get my signature luscious bass sound, a joy to play and still a best-seller after all these years.

Under €250 ($$)

Cocuswood Flute – New and Improved as of autumn 2018, featuring an exceptional tone thanks to the density of the wood, a great low D; a perfect flute for traditional Irish music

Setanta Low Whistle in D – John O’Brien has come up with something extra special here and I’ve been privileged to partner up with him on his range of superb low whistles. The critical feedback has been phenomenal. This is a serious whistle, grab one before they sell out (again!)

Hidersine Vivente Violin – This won the MIA Award for ‘Best Stringed Instrument’ in 2015, and what a great instrument it is at such a low price. This is a fantastic student violin package.

Under €500 ($$$)

Wren Concertina

– this magical music machine is my best-selling concertina and just perfect for the beginner concertina player. The reviews are consistently excellent and it’s a lovely gift for any aspiring musician, plus you get superb online video beginner lessons absolutely free when you buy.

McNeela African Blackwood Flute – I’m very proud of this flute as it represents a culmination of many years of playing and research. It’s a powerful instrument thanks to the density of the blackwood, I’ve ensured that the low D is strong, and the sound has just the right amount of chiff for a great Irish trad sound.

Rosewood Performance Deep Rim 16” Tunable Bodhrán

– I think the addition of tuners to bodhráns was a major leap forward for this great Irish drum; hand tuners are very convenient for uninterrupted playing all night long. The deep Rosewood rim adds a beautiful aesthetic, this is one you’ll want to hang on your wall when you’re not obsessively playing it! Oh, and how can I forget you also receive a comprehensive online introduction and beginner lesson to the bodhrán by yours truly – free with all purchases of McNeela tunable bodhráns.

Under €1000 ($$$$)

Brand New Delrin Intermediate Keyed Flute

– Delrin is an amazing material, particularly in flutes, it sounds like wood with very similar tonal qualities but you get to avoid the upkeep and maintenance meaning this flute is already ready to play and handles all sorts of extreme climate conditions. It’s also a BRILLIANT price for a keyed flute

McNeela Maestro Fiddle – A rich, warm sounding violin that recently astounded Liam O’Connor when he heard the price. You also get Helicore strings fitted as standard along with hard case, carbon fibre bow and all the usual violin accessories. I’m very very proud of this violin.

Swan Premium Beginner Concertina

– this is a very good looking concertina and happily its looks showcase a superb instrument featuring terrific action, a great sound and sublime ease of play. Perfect for beginners and improvers who want something a little more premium from their concertina; it’s also a favourite with pros. Don’t forget the free lessons!

Under €2000 ($$$$$)

Phoenix Concertina

– my best selling intermediate concertina is a game changer for the market. Superb sound, fast riveted action, ease of play second to none and the finish is a study in subtle elegance, you may never need another concertina.

Sam Murray Keyed Blackwood Flute – Sam is a special flute maker and needs little introduction in the world of trad Irish flutes. His list of admirers is endless and includes myself so I’m deeply honoured to be an exclusive stockist of Sam’s work – his keyed African blackwood is a superstar among Irish flutes, there aren’t enough superlatives really.

Celeste Farroti Vintage Violin Copy from 1924 – When Liam O’Connor recently popped in he brought this stunner with him, a copy of famed luthier Celeste Farroti’s signature violin. When he played it, I melted! This would make a very, very special gift for a violin or fiddle player.

Money No Object

For the man, woman or child who already has everything, we have some very special vintage and antique violins and concertinas. Each one is unique, displaying the ultimate in craftsmanship and musicality and most importantly has been hand selected with superb playability in mind and that inimitable quality of vintage warmth and all the stories the instrument has to tell. We can’t think of a more special way to wish someone all the joys of the Christmas season. This is truly a gift for life.

Choose from antique Jeffries, Wheatstone & Lachenal concertinas and vintage violins from famed luthiers including Jean Baptiste Collin-Mézin and Leandro Bisiach and please get in touch with me* for any extra details you may require and for a specialist shopping experience.

*Contact: info@mcneelamusic.com or call +353 1 8322432

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