Traditional Irish Christmas Carols

Mary on her donkey

An Ciarrí Carúl Nollag - The Kerry Christmas Carol


Brush the floor and clean the hearth,
And set the fire to keep,
For they might visit us tonight
When all the world's asleep!

Don't blow the tall white candle out
But leave it burning bright,
So that they'll know they're welcome here
This holy Christmas night!

Leave out the bread and meat for them,
And sweet milk for the Child,
And they will bless the fire, that baked
And, too, the hands that toiled.

For Joseph will be travel-tired,
And Mary pale and wan,
And they can sleep a little while
Before they journey on.

They will be weary of the roads,
And rest will comfort them,
For it must be many a lonely mile
From here to Bethlehem.

O long the road they have to go,
The bad mile with the good,
Till the journey ends on Calvary
Beneath a cross of wood.

Leave the door upon the latch,
And set the fire to keep,
And pray they'll rest with us tonight
When all the world's asleep.

Madonna and child

The Wexford Carol


Good people all, this Christmas-time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending his beloved Son.
With Mary holy we should pray
To God with love this Christmas day;
In Bethlehem upon that morn
There was a blessed Messiah born.

The night before that happy tide
The noble Virgin and her guide
Were long time seeking up and down
To find a lodging in the town.
But mark how all things came to pass;
From every door repelled alas!
As long foretold, their refuge all
Was but an humble ox's stall.

There were three wise men from afar
Directed by a glorious star,
And on they wandered night and day
Until they came where Jesus lay,
And when they came unto that place
Where our beloved Messiah was,
They humbly cast them at his feet,
With gifts of gold and incense sweet.

Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep;
To whom God's angels did appear,
Which put the shepherds in great fear.
"Prepare and go", the angles said.
'To Bethlehem, be not afraid,
For there you'll find this happy morn,
A princely babe, sweet Jesus born.

With thankful heart and joyful mind,
The shepherds went the babe to find,
And as God's angel had foretold,
They did our savior Christ behold.
Within a manger he was laid,
And by his side the virgin maid,
Attending on the Lord of life,
Who came on earth to end all strife.

Green SantaGreen SantaGreen SantaGreen SantaGreen SantaGreen Santa

Christmas in Killarney


The holly green, the ivy green
The prettiest picture you've ever seen
Is Christmas in Killarney
With all of the folks at home

It's nice, you know, to kiss your beau
While cuddling under the mistletoe
And Santa Claus you know, of course
Is one of the boys from home

The door is always open
The neighbors pay a call
And Father John before he's gone
Will bless the house and all

How grand it feels to click your heels
And join in the fun of the jigs and reels
I'm handing you no blarney
The likes you've never known
Is Christmas in Killarney
With all of the folks at home

Mary in a nest of dovesMary in a nest of dovesMary in a nest of dovesMary in a nest of dovesMary in a nest of dovesMary in a nest of doves

Curoo, Curoo


Full many a bird did wake and fly
Curoo, curoo, curoo
Full many a bird did wake and fly
To the manger bed with a wandering cry
On Christmas day in the morning
Curoo, curoo, curoo
Curoo, curoo, curoo

The lark, the dove, the red bird came
Curoo, curoo, curoo
The lark, the dove, the red bird came
And they did sing in sweet Jesus' name
On Christmas day in the morning
Curoo, curoo, curoo
Curoo, curoo, curoo

The owl was there with eyes so wide
Curoo, curoo, curoo
The owl was there with eyes so wide
And he did sit at sweet Mary's side
On Christmas day in the morning
Curoo, curoo, curoo
Curoo, curoo, curoo

The shepherds knelt upon the hay
Curoo, curoo, curoo
The shepherds knelt upon the hay
And angels sang the night away
On Christmas day in the morning
Curoo, curoo, curoo
Curoo, curoo, curoo

Joseph, Mary and Jesus

The Darkest Midnight in December

The darkest midnight in December,
No snow, no hail, nor winter storm,
Shall hinder us for to remember,
The Babe that on this night was born.
With shepherds we are come to see,
This lovely Infants glorious charms,
Born of a maid as prophets said,
The God of love in Mary's arms.

No earthly gifts can we present Him,
No gold nor myrrh nor odours sweet.
But if with hearts we can content Him
We humbly lay them at his feet.
‘Twas but pure love that from above
Brought Him to save us from all harms
So let us sing and welcome Him,
The God of Love in Mary's arms.

Four thousand years from the creation
The world lay groaning under sin
No one could e’er expect salvation
No one could enter Heaven.
‘Twas Adam’s fall had damned us all
To Hell, to endless pains forlorn:
‘Twas so decreed we’d have ne'er been freed,
Had not this heavenly Babe been born.

But here the best of heads will grumble,
The faithless Jews will not adore
A God so poor, so mean, so humble,
A child they scorn to kneel before.
But, oh, give ear, and you shall hear
How all those wonders came to pass;
Why Christ was born to suffer scorn,
And lodged between an ox and ass.

Have you not heard the sacred story,
How man was made those seats to fill,
Which the fallen angels lost in glory
By their presumption, pride and will?
They thought us mean for to obtain
Such glorious seats and crowns in heaven,
So through a cheat they got Eve to eat
The fruit, to be avenged on man.

Thus we were lost, our God offended,
The devils triumphing in our shame.
What recompense could be pretended?
No man could ever wipe off the stain.
Till God alone from His high throne
Becoming Man did us restore
Let us rejoice in tuneful voice,
Let Satan tremble and adore,

If by a woman we were wounded.
Another woman brings the cure;
If by a fruit we were confounded.
A tree our safety would procure.
They laughed at man, but if they can
Let Satan with his hellish swarms
Refuse to kneel and honour yield
To the lovely Babe in Mary’s arms.

We like beasts lay in a stable,
Our senses blind and dead by sin
To help ourselves we not able,
But He brings grace and life again.
Thus conquered hell, confined the devil,
To free our souls from endless harms
His life He gave and now you have
The God of Love in Mary's arms.

Ye faithful hearts be not offended
To own your God though seeming mean
By this from Hell you were defended,
Your joys were purchased by His pain.
The Lord of all comes to a stall,
And to attend Him sends for Kings
Who by a star are called from far,
To see and hear those joyful things.

Oh, God! although man did offend Thee,
Here is a Man that must Thee please;
Though to compassion none could bend Thee,
Thy anger now must surely cease.
And when our crimes in aftertimes
May Thee to anger justly move,
Pray grant us peace, seeing the face
Of this Thy Son and God of Love.

Ye blessed angels join our voices
Let your gilded wings beat fluttering over,
Whilst every soul set free rejoices,
And every devil must adore.
We'll sing and pray that He always may
Our Church and clergyman defend,
God grant us grace in all our days,
A merry Christmas and a happy end.

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