For Grania: Palestrina Choir Dublin: Wexford Carol – Louis Mahon Soloist

Louis_Mahon The Wexford Carol which is sometimes called the "Enniscorthy Carol" in English and in Irish you’ll hear being called both "Carúl Loch Garman" (Wexford Carol) and "Carúl  Inis Córthaidh" (Enniscorthy Carol) is one of the earliest carols to have come down to us almost completely unchanged. It dates from the early thirteenth century, probably from around 1220 A.D. and got the name "Ennsicorthy Carol" by virtue of being transcribed by the folklorist named Grattan Flood from a performance given by a folk singer in Enniscorthy . It was subsequently popularised (and found its way into the Oxford book of carols) by William Grattan Ford (1859 – 1928), who at that time was organist and director of music at St. Aidan’s Cathedral in Enniscorthy.

In Ireland you’ll sometimes hear claims that it was originally written in Irish (Gaeilge) but this is erroneous, and what Irish translations do exist are in fact translations from the English original. In the music video below it’s sung by the Palestrina Choir, Dublin under the direction of Blánaid Murphy with the solos being sung by Louis Mahon. In this version the last verse ("There were three wise men from afar …")  is ommitted in favour of repeating the first lines. Lyrics are below the fold. Enjoy :-).


Video source: Wexford Carol – Palestrina Choir Dublin – Louis Mahon Soloist – YouTube Uploaded by markfromireland on Dec 3, 2011

The Wexford Carol – Lyrics

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 right well what came to pass
From every door repelled, alas
As was foretold, their refuge all
Was but a humble ox’s stall

Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep
To whom God’s angel did appear
Which put the shepherds in great fear
Arise and go, the angels 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 Saviour Christ behold
Within a manger he was laid
And by his side a virgin maid
Attending on the Lord of Life
Who came on earth to end all strife

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 lay
They humbly cast them at his feet
With gifts of gold and incense sweet.

7 thoughts on “For Grania: Palestrina Choir Dublin: Wexford Carol – Louis Mahon Soloist

  1. I dropped by to wish you joy of the season, to see you’ve posted my favorite ever carol. Thank you Gor. Here’s to peace in our time, some time. Much love to you and all you love.


  2. Christmas carols and a box of chocolate biscuits – what more could a body want. Go raibh mile amach agat Gor – safe travels and Happy Christmas to all – also hoping that all at GG are safe considering recent developments – g

    • Glad you liked it Grania – thought you might, and I hope it brought back happy memories. Yup all at “Guides” are safe and sound.


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