Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Wexford Carol

The Wexford Carol
("Good People All, This Christmastime")
(Enniscorthy Carol)

carol. French carole. Originally a song to accompany dancing,
but later, by common usage, it came to refer to old,
Christmas-season religious songs.

To Blog Carol this year I have selected probably the best known of Irish Christmas songs, "The Wexford Carol." The Wexford Carol has roots reaching back to twelfth century Ireland, traceable to the proximity of the County and town of Wexford. The Wexford Carol was included in The Oxford Book of Carols and tells the story of the birth of Christ.

It is interesting to note that Christmas carols were rare in Ireland, but County Wexford has a 300 year tradition of handing down carols from generation to generation. Families in the area were each entrusted with a carol and with sharing that particular carol with the generations. During Christmas the carols were sung in the homes of these families and in the church by the choir. The choir consisted of six men who sang the carols unaccompanied.

Caroling, also known as wassailing, actually began in medieval times as a pagan ritual. The wassail, a hot beverage usually made with hot ale or mulled cider, was a ritual honoring the apple and fruit orchards in the dead of winter. Farmers went from farm to farm pouring wassail on the roots of trees while making a lot of noise to scare off the bad spirits responsible for making the days shorter and colder. Eventually the custom of going door to door singing and drinking became a Christmas tradition. (This is one of the many versions of the story of caroling, but all agree it is rooted in pagan ritual.)

Please sing along to YoYo Ma and Allison Krauss performing 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 belovèd Son.
With Mary holy we should pray
To God with love this Christmas Day;
In Bethlehem upon the morn
There was a blest 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 a humble oxen stall.

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 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 has foretold,
They did our Savior Christ behold.
Within a manger He was laid,
And by His side the virgin maid
Attending to the Lord of Life,
Who came on earth to end all strife.

Merry Christmas

Thank you! If you are blog caroling please
leave a link to your post in the comments!


Blogger Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

Very pretty, I've never heard this one before.

I chose Alan Jackson's, Let It Be Christmas

December 16, 2009 at 2:59 AM  
Blogger Greta Koehl said...

My chosen carol, Heaven and Earth, is at

December 16, 2009 at 4:11 AM  
Blogger Midge Frazel said...

Blog Caroling at Granite in My Blood

December 16, 2009 at 4:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sing, sing, sing. Here's my wassailing

December 16, 2009 at 4:58 AM  
Blogger Cyndi Beane Henry said...

Dear Footnote Maven, Here is a link to my favorite Christmas Carol shown now on my blog. Stille Nacht holds many a fond memory for me. My Grandfather used to sit me on his knee, and in his deep baritone voice, which was classically trained, used to sing this traditional song for me, in German. Enjoy!

December 16, 2009 at 5:48 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Beautiful song. I will take some of that wassail!

I am caroling with you at:

December 16, 2009 at 5:55 AM  
Blogger Linda Hughes Hiser said...

Blog Caroling this year at Flipside

December 16, 2009 at 6:20 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

Happy Christmas to all! I am warbling along at:

December 16, 2009 at 6:44 AM  
Blogger kinfolknews said...

fM - Here are my entries.
Happy caroling everyone.

December 16, 2009 at 7:22 AM  
Blogger Tracy said...

The neighborhood dogs are howling as I sing my favorite Christmas carol. Good thing no one else can hear me!

December 16, 2009 at 7:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Out my favorite up at
Happy Holidays Everyone!

December 16, 2009 at 11:07 AM  
Blogger Paula Hinkel said...

This was beautiful. Alison Krause has such a haunting voice.

My tribute to my dad's favorite Christmas song is online.

December 16, 2009 at 11:50 AM  
Blogger Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

I entered with "Christmas in Boston" at my blog I hope you know the tune!

December 16, 2009 at 1:56 PM  
Blogger Jasia said...

I'm joining in too! Here's my carol of choice this year...

December 16, 2009 at 4:09 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth O'Neal said...

Add me to the altos! :-)

Christmas Time is Here

December 16, 2009 at 4:38 PM  
Anonymous Donner said...


My evening got canceled last minute so you get to hear my sing after all. Unlucky you. My post is here.


December 16, 2009 at 4:54 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Finally made up my mind on a carol:


December 16, 2009 at 6:34 PM  
Blogger BeNotForgot said...

I have traveled back to my Jr. High years (1965) and our annual Christmas pageant and we are singing "Star of the East" while holding glowing candles. And I left cookies and hot chocolate out for you! V.

December 16, 2009 at 8:22 PM  
Blogger Mavis said...

I chose Carol of the Bells.

December 16, 2009 at 8:34 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

My contribution:
(I don't sing)

December 16, 2009 at 8:55 PM  
Blogger Sheri Fenley said...

I know, I am late but here is once again "Santa Baby" this time sung by Eartha Kitt.

December 16, 2009 at 9:09 PM  
Anonymous Missy/Bayside Research said...

Here's the link to my carol ("Good King Wenceslas"):

December 17, 2009 at 6:34 PM  
Blogger Janet Iles said...

My carol is "The Virgin Mary had a baby boy" at

December 17, 2009 at 7:20 PM  
Blogger DearMYRTLE said...

My carol is "I'll be home for Christmas" by Rascal Flatts.

Wish you ALL a Merry Christmas.

December 17, 2009 at 8:23 PM  
Blogger my Heritage Happens said...

Oh Darn, I missed where to post! I was caroling with you all too, and what great fun!

Merry Christmas to everyone!

December 18, 2009 at 11:23 PM  
Blogger myletterstoemily said...

i love that lovely carol and frequently sing it at my church at CHristmas.

thanks for sharing.

love your blog

December 19, 2009 at 1:11 PM  

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