Irish traditional wedding songs and airs

Irish wedding songs and tunes

Here is the selection at Ramblinghouse. Corn is what we feed to the chickens!

1. Eileen Aroon

A song from the old Gaelic order. Most apt sentiment. It was written by the Clare poet Cearbhall O Dálaigh (c.1590–1630) to woo his beloved, Eibhlin Caomhánach, daughter of a chieftain. It worked – they eloped. Lyrics and Midi (should be played slower than given here).

2. She Moved Through the Fair

Written by the poet Padraic Colum at the start of the last century. Based on one or more folk songs, it has the memorable finishing lines
“It will not be long, love,
Till our wedding day”

Sinead O’Connor’s version
Has its own Wiki page.

3. The Spinning Wheel

Written by the Limerick-born poet John Waller (1809 – 1894) and made popular by Delia Murphy. Harpist and singer Mary O’Hara recorded a beautiful version in the late 1950s.

4. Peigin Leitir Mor

Lively Connemara love song in Irish. Also danced to as a polka.
O goirim goirim í, Agus goirim í go deo
Míle ghrá le m’anam í, Sí Peigí Leitir Móir.

Oh I call her, call her my sweetheart;
1000 loves to her my Peggy of Lettermore.

Dubliners version on Youtube

5. Believe Me if All Those Endearing Young Charms

Thomas Moore wrote the lyrics that are popular today in 1808. Atmospheric John McCormack recording on Youtube

6. Irish Wedding Song

Not strictly an Irish song, as it was written by Australian Ian Betteridge but hugely popular nonetheless:
Here they stand, hand in hand, they’ve exchanged wedding bands
Today is the day of all their dreams and their plans


7. Nora/Maggie

Rewritten by Sean O’Casey from the song When You and I Were Young Maggie published in Canada in 1864. He changed the name to Nora for a character in The Plough and the Stars. Recorded by Maura O’Connell (Youtube)  and De Danann under original “Maggie” title.

8. The Voyage

Johnny Duhan’s modern song about hanging in there through thick and thin was made famous by Christy Moore.

9. My Lagan Love

Written to a traditional air by the Belfast poet Joseph Campbell in 1904. Recorded by Van Morrison, Sinead O’Connor and Dusty Springfield among many others.
Nor life I owe nor liberty
For love is lord of all

10. Carrickfergus/The Rose of Tralee

Reliable, diplomatic, last minute standbys … At Ramblinghouse we fancy Alison Moorer’s Carrickfergus. Youtube

Top airs

Suitable for church ceremony

1. Give Me Your Hand/Tabhair Dom Do Lamh

Composed by the blind harper Ruairi Dall O Cathain in the early 17th century.

2. Aisling Gheal

A hopeful vision. Recorded by Sean O Riada and Noel Hill among others.

3. March of the King of Laois

Melody long associated with the O’Moore family.
On Chieftains 3 album. Youtube

4. Lark in the Clear Air/Caislean Ui Neill

Old Gaelic love song. English lyrics by Sir Samuel Ferguson around 1850. Geraldine O’Grady’s violin version Youtube introduced Ciaran Mac Mathuna’s Sunday radio programme for years.

5. Snowy Breasted Pearl

Collected and translated from the Irish by George Petrie and published in 1855. Midi file at Barry Taylor’s website.

6. Cailin Deas Cruite na mBo/Pretty Girl Milking the Cow.

Beautiful old gaelic song recorded by Danu and Cathey Ryan. Air in Bunting, 1796.

7. I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen

American written, expressive emigrant song. Midi fil

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