Traditional Irish Christmas carols are
often only heard as instrumentals

But so you can sing along, we have the lyrics
to 6 of the most popular Irish Christmas carols.

One of the oldest Irish Christmas Carols is over 900 years old, originating in County Wexford, Ireland...hence its name.

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.

"The Wexford Carol" has been recorded by many Irish folk singers and can be heard on one of my favorite Celtic Christmas music CDs, "Irish Christmas" by Craig Duncan. But my favorite CD featuring "The Wexford Carol" is "Celtic Season, Vol. 2" produced by Windham Hill.

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Another favorite Irish Christmas Carol is "Christmas in Killarney".

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

Although an older hymn, Bing Crosby included it on his "Merry Christmas" album, released in 1949. It is now available on CD. The Irish Rovers' "An Irish Christmas" features this lively Irish Christmas carol as well as many other favorites.

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Written in 1848 by Cecil Frances Humphreys Alexander is another Irish Christmas carol called "Once in Royal David's City".

Once In Royal David's City

Once in royal David's city
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her baby
In a manger for His bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ her little child.

He came down to earth from heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,
And His cradle was a stall;
With the poor, and mean, and lowly,
Lived on earth our Savior Holy.

And through all His wondrous childhood
He would honor and obey,
Love and watch the lowly Maiden,
In whose gentle arms He lay:
Christian children all must be
Mild, obedient, good as He.

Jesus is our childhood's pattern;
Day by day, like us He grew;
He was little, weak and helpless,
Tears and smiles like us He knew;
And He feeleth for our sadness,
And He shareth in our gladness.

And our eyes at last shall see Him,
Through His own redeeming love;
For that Child so dear and gentle
Is our Lord in heaven above,
And He leads His children on
To the place where He is gone.

Not in that poor lowly stable,
With the oxen standing by,
We shall see Him; but in heaven,
Set at God's right hand on high;
Where like stars His children crowned
All in white shall wait around.

This Irish Christmas Carol is widely available on many Irish/Celtic Christmas CDs, including 2 of my favorites: "Traditional Celtic Christmas", featuring Eric Rigler and "The Carols Of Christmas II", another Windham Hill Collection

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Another old Irish Christmas Carol is entitled "Curoo, Curoo", also known as "The Carol of the Birds".

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

Several modern Irish folk artists have recorded this Irish Christmas Carol, including The Clancy Brothers on their album, "The Clancy Brothers Christmas" and Danny O'Flaherty on his album, "An Irish Christmas Carol".

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Love Came Down At Christmas

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,
Love Incarnate, Love Divine;
Worship we our Jesus:
But where-with for sacred sign?
Love be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.

This is an old traditional Irish Christmas Carol with beautiful lyrics that I found in Joy to the World: Sacred Christmas Songs Through the Ages by Albert J. Menendez and Shirley Menendez. But I haven't had any luck finding this Irish Christmas carol on CD. (If you know of a CD with this Irish Christmas carol, please, drop me a line and let me know! Thanks!)

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Finally, this is one of my favorite Irish Christmas carols.

I Saw Three Ships

I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day in the morning.

And what was in those ships all three,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day?
And what was in those ships all three,
On Christmas Day in the morning?

The Virgin Mary and Christ were there,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
The Virgin Mary and Christ were there,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

Pray, wither sailed those ships all three,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
Pray, wither sailed those ships all three,
On Christmas Day in the morning?

O they sailed into Bethlehem,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
O they sailed into Bethlehem,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

And all the bells on earth shall ring,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
And all the bells on earth shall ring,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

And all the Angels in Heaven shall sing,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
And all the Angels in Heaven shall sing,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

And all the souls on earth shall sing,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
And all the souls on earth shall sing,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

Then let us all rejoice again,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
Then let us all rejoice again,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

Fortunately, this one is widely available on a number of Irish Christmas CDs, including "Irish Christmas" by Craig Duncan and "Narada Presents: The Best of Celtic Christmas"

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So, there your have it. The lyrics to six of the most beloved Irish Christmas carols. Nothing fills a home with Irish Christmas cheer faster than the sounds of Irish Christmas Carols.

Now, allow me the honor of sharing my favorite Celtic Christmas music with you. Perhaps you could choose one to give your loved one and start a new tradition of your own.

Nollaig Shona Duit!

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