Still More Irish Christmas Traditions

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The Croí na Céilí Band performs this Tuesday at 6:30pm at Brogues Downunder in Lake Worth, Florida.  Along with the reels, jigs, hornpipes, and polkas, you’ll hear a familiar Christmas tune or two.

The Wexford Carol

In Irish Christmas tradition commemorating the travels of Mary and Joseph are also evident in the Wexford Carol, a medieval hymn with roots in twelfth century Ireland.  The Wexford Carol is one of the oldest extant Christmas carols in the European tradition.  It reached mass popularity when it was published in the Oxford Book of Carols by William Grattan Ford (1859-1928), organist and musical director of St. Aidan’s Cathedral in Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Ireland.  For this reason, the name “Enniscorthy” is found in most carol books around the world.  The carol is also sometimes referred to by its first verse, “Good people all, this Christmas time.”

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

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