Don Oiche Ud I Mbeithil


Lyrics (Gaelic)

Don oíche úd i mBeithil
Beidh tagairt faoi ghrian go brach,
Don oíche úd i mBeithil
Go dtáinig an Briathar slán.
Tá gríosghrua ar spéartha,
‘S an talamh na chlúdach bán.
Féach Íosagán sa chléibhín,
‘S an Mhaighdean á dhiúl le grá.

Ar leacain lom an tsléibhe
Go nglacann na haoiri scáth,
Nuair in oscailt gheal na spéire
Tá teachtaire Dé ar fáil.
“Céad glóir anois don Athair,
I bhFlaitheasa thuas go hard!
Is feasta fós ar talamh,
d’fheara, dea-mhéin, síocháin.”

Translation – That night in Bethlehem

(Of) That night in (yonder) Bethlehem
Will be mentioned under the sun forever,
(Of) That night in (yonder) Bethlehem
[That] the Word safely came.
[A] glowing light is in [the] sky,
And the earth [under] a white covering.
See baby Jesus in the cradle,
And the virgin suckling* with love.

On the bare mountain side
The shepherds take shelter (lit. ‘take shade’ or ‘take protection’),
When in a bright opening [in] the sky
A messenger of God is there (lit. ‘available’).
“A hundred glories (now) to the Father,
in His kingdom high above!
And henceforth (yet) on earth,
To men, goodwill [and] peace.”

*See comments.


See also


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  • Song with chords (PDF)
  • MIDI file
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3 thoughts on “Don Oiche Ud I Mbeithil”

  1. Fiona Ní Ógáin

    Dear Beth,

    Thank you for the notes. My comment is to do with the verb used in the line “‘S an Mhaighdean a dhúil le grá.” A dhúil would be pronounced “ah goo-il” and the nominative “dúil” can mean “desire, fondness, craving.”

    As sung by Altan and Celtic Women and by Kevin Conneff on”The Bells of Dublin” CD by the Chieftains etc, the line is “‘S an Mhaighdean á dhiúl le grá” with the pronunciation”aw yoo-il.” This makes more sense and means that she is suckling him. The English version/translation by Seán MacRéamoinn, which is spoken on “The Bells of Dublin,” gives this meaning.

    In my search for notes an arrangement by David Monks came up. The words given under the notes include the phrase “á dhiúl le grá” but later when the verses are given on their own “á dhúil le grá” is written, although the pronunciation is still given as “aw yool.”

    Maybe someone has also seen this (mis)spelling and gone to translate is as “longing”?

    Yours sincerely, Fiona Ní Ógáin

      1. Fiona Ní Ógáin

        Oh, that was quick.

        I’m no expert and the translation above is so well done but that one word, spelling and meaning versus pronunciation and sense, confused me. But I think the recorded Irish songs and English version are done by experts. One thing though, hope it’s not too pedantic, but if “longing” is changed then “a dhúil” (ah goo-il, “ú” before “i”) ought to be changed to “á dhiúl” (aw yool, “a” with a long stroke and “I” before “ú”). Thank you very much again and Happy New Year, Fiona

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