The Wexford Carol (Irish: Carúl Loch Garman) The Enniscorthy Carol (Carúl Inis Córthaidh)

The Wexford Carol (Irish: Carúl Loch Garman, Carúl Inis Córthaidh) is a traditional religious Irish Christmas carol originating from County Wexford, and specifically, Enniscorthy (whence its name), and dating to the 12th century. The subject of the song is that of the nativity of Jesus Christ. “The Wexford Carol” is one of the oldest extant Christmas carols in the European tradition. Traditions abound concerning the song. For many years, it was felt that only men should sing it. It was only at the current revival of all things Irish that this attitude changed. Many popular female artists, such as Loreena McKennitt, recorded the “Wexford Carol” during the 1990s. The song achieved a new popularity because of the work of William Grattan Ford (1859 – 1928), who was organist and musical director at St. Aidan’s Cathedral in Enniscorthy. He transcribed the carol from a local singer, and had it published in the Oxford Book of Carols, putting Enniscorthy into most carol books around the world. The song is sometimes known by its first verse, “Good people all this Christmas time.

RÓISÍN DEMPSEY (see: 4th to right of chorus line of women) was choir-mistress at St. Aidan’s Cathedral, of which I was a member for years. She was also a singer with Anúna and Celtic Woman.

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