Emmet Cahill was a long way from winter in sunny Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Actually, Cahill said during a Nov. 18 phone interview, it was cloudy.

He was in the midst of a 10-day break after touring since August with his group Celtic Thunder. They had 40 shows down and about 20 to go, Cahill said. The next leg of the tour starts Nov. 25. The group stops Sunday at the Hershey Theatre.

During the break, some band members flew back to Ireland, but Cahill opted to stay with the crew in Florida to recharge his batteries.

When Cahill is back home in Mullingar in County Westmeath, Ireland, he likes to play football - European style - and catch up with friends. While on the road, he keeps in touch with everyone with his laptop. In each city, he seeks out gyms and running trails to stay in shape.

"Everyone has their own routine," he said. "It's good to have structure. Everyone has their own little ways to keep themselves in tip-top form. I drink a lot of honey."

The nectar coats his throat to keep his instrument - his voice - healthy. But Cahill said the most important thing for his body and voice is rest. Luckily, the band's schedule allows members to sleep at night as their tour bus is en route to another town.

Celtic Thunder will add Christmas tunes to its sets on the upcoming leg of its tour. The first act will be tunes from its latest CD "Heritage." During the second act, the sextet performs a few original seasonal songs, including "Going Home for Christmas" and "Our First Christmas Together" as well as holiday classics like "Let It Snow" and "Silent Night."

Cahill welcomes the audience to sing along.

"I've never met someone who doesn't like Christmas . . . or Christmas music," Cahill said with a laugh. He admitted it's hard for him to pick his favorite holiday song.

Cahill said that it's easy to perform a high-energy, two-hour show each night when the crowd starts to cheer.

"All of us guys have our solos and we also get to come together to do group (songs)," he said. Audience members can also get a peek at what happens on the tour bus - wisecracking and goofing around. Cahill, who is in his 20s, is one of the newer members of the group, so sometimes the other guys give him grief.

"We're all like brothers," Cahill said. "I've learned to stand up for myself. I wouldn't want it any other way. It could get pretty boring."

He said that having such a tight bond with the singers, band and crew makes it a little bit easier to be away from his family.

The 2011 portion of the tour wraps Dec. 20, just in time for Cahill to get back to Ireland.

"They are on a countdown for me to get home," Cahill said of his folks. "I've quite a large family on my dad's side. We all meet up the day after Christmas and have music . . . and a few drinks."

In the new year, the band will start up rehearsals. Then, they fly to Australia for a string of shows. After that, they'll be back to the states for their PBS tour, which runs through April.

In the spring, they will be promoting their live DVD and CD recorded in Kansas City, Mo. a few weeks ago. Cahill said it will include bonus tracks and some backstage footage.

But Nov. 18, Cahill couldn't wait to start the holiday tour. He just needed to soak up a few more rays before heading to colder climates.

- Erin McCracken, FlipSide staff

Meet Celtic Thunder

Neil Byrne - Vocals, guitar and percussion

Emmet Cahill - Vocals

George Donaldson - Vocals

Daniel Furlong - Vocals

Keith Harkin - Vocalist

Ryan Kelly - Vocals

If you go

Celtic Thunder will perform traditional tunes and Christmas favorites 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Hershey Theatre, 15 E. Caracas Ave., Hershey. Tickets cost $65. For details and tickets, call 534-3405 or visit www.hersheytheatre.com. For details about the band, visit celticthunder.ie.

Another Celtic Christmas show

See Cherish the Ladies Christmas 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center, 50 N. George St., York. Tickets cost $22, $33 and $38. For details, call 846-1111 or visit www.strandcapitol.org. For more holiday events, visit www.yorkblog.com/flipside/happy-holidays.