Saturday Chorale: Cailleach An Airgid (The Hag With The Money)

screenshot0027_the_moneyed_hag.jpgSometimes the titles to these postings just write themselves. :-) I’ve picked three versions of the traditional Irish song "Cailleach An Airgid" for you to enjoy. "Cailleach An Airgid" translates from Gaelic into English as either "The Hag With The Money" or the "The Moneyed Hag" depending on the translator’s preferences. You’ll often hear Irish speakers call it "Sí do Mhaimeo Í" which means "She’s your granny!".  Whichever name you use for it the song is a warning to wealthy grannys on the folly of being taken in by handsome young men, who’re only interested in their money. The lyrics are witty if somewhat cruel and given their full weight in each of the performances I’ve picked.

The first video is of a performance by the the Irish choir Anúna, they’re a crossover choir who’re equally at home singing classical, traditional, or modern Irish music. The soloist in Anúna’s, performance is Alice Gildea. I like this version, it’s sung the way I think it should be sung light-hearted and quick with solos by someone who is clearly enjoying what they’re singing. The second performance is by Niamh Ní Charra whose performance is a bit closer to a "traditional" take on the song. Despite the fact that she takes the piece at a fair clip this is a lovely performance. I like Niamh Ní Charra’s voice, I like her playing, and the video is witty — what more could you ask for? The final performance dates from 1999 and is by Méav Ní Mhaolchatha, it feature nice singing that is very well accompanied, of the three performances this one is my favourite.

I’ve put the lyrics and translation below the video playlist they explain all, including the somewhat tasteless heading. Enjoy :-)


Notes and Credits

How to use the playlist: Clicking any one of the thumbnails will load that performance in the large player on top which you use exactly the same as you use YouTube’s player.

The screenshot at the top of the posting is from Cartoon Saloon’s wonderful video Cailleach an Airgead on Vimeo.


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Cailleach An Airgid Lyrics



‘Sí do mhaimeo í, ‘sí do mhaimeo í

‘Sí do mhaimeo í cailleach an airgid

‘Sí do mhaimeo í ó Bhail’ Iorrais Mhóir í

‘S chuir-feadh sí cóistí ‘r bhóithre Chois Fharraige


She’s your granny, she’s your granny

She’s your granny, the hag with the money

She’s your granny from the town of Iorrais Mór

And she would put coaches on the roads of Cois Farraige

‘bhFeicfeása ‘n "steam" ‘ga’l siar Tóin Uí Loing’

‘S na rothaí gh’l timpeall siar óna ceathrúnaí

Caithfeadh sí’nstiúir naoi n-uair’ar a cúl

‘S ní choinneodh sí siúl le cailleach an airgid


If you’d see the steam boat going past Tóin Uí Loing’

And the wheels turning speedily at her flanks

She’d scatter the store nine times to the rear

But she never keeps pace with the hag with the money


‘Measann tú ‘bpósfa, ‘measann tú ‘bpósfa

‘Measann tú ‘bpósfa cailleach an airgid?

Tá ‘s a’m nach ‘bpósfa, tá ‘s a’m nach ‘bpósfa

Mar tá sé ró-óg ‘gus dólfadh sé’n t-airgead



Do you reckon he’d marry, do you reckon he’d marry

Do you reckon he’d marry the hag with the money?

I know he’ll not marry, I know he’ll not marry

Because he’s too young and he’ll drink the money


‘S gairid go ‘bpósfa, ‘s gairid go ‘bpósfa

‘S gairid go ‘bpósfa beirt ar an mbaile seo

‘S gairid go ‘bpósfa, ‘s gairid go ‘bpósfa

Séan Shéamais Mhóir agus Máire Ní Chathasaigh



[Chorus twice]

We’ll soon have a wedding, we’ll soon have a wedding

We’ll soon have a wedding by two in the village

We’ll soon have a wedding, we’ll soon have a wedding

Between Séan Séamais Mór and Máire Ní Chathasaigh


[Chorus twice]

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