Irish Childrens Songs

Looking for Irish children’s songs? Want to know about all the different types of children’s songs available? Read our guide for more information on choosing the right song for you…

Irish children’s songs were very often nursery rhymes that were put to music. ‘Cockles and Mussels’ is a famous children’s songs sung by Irish children from a very young age. The song lyrics tell the story of a fishmonger called Molly Malone who wheeled her wheel barrow down the streets of Dublin, Ireland crying out ‘Cockles and Mussels’ to the pedestrians walking there. In the song, Molly dies of a fever and her ghost still plies her trade on Dublin streets. A statue of Molly Malone was erected on Grafton Street in Dublin and it’s loosely called ‘The Tart with the Cart’ by Dubliners. The song is the de facto anthem of Dublin.

One of the Irish children’s songs that can be heard on school playgrounds is ‘How Many Miles to Dub-l-in’. It uses the familiar exclamation ‘hupp’ to urge the horse to gallop to Dublin before dark. This song is also sung by mothers as they bounce their little children up and down on their knees. The word ‘hupp’ found its way into Irish vocabulary from the Latin word ‘ei!’ which means ‘Quick! Come on!’ and the corresponding Irish word became ‘hupp’.

Amusing Irish children’s songs have hilarious rhymes in the lyrics. One such song is ‘Michael Finnigan’. This song is a nursery rhyme about an old man who fails in everything he does and has to do it all over again. The rhyming words are not exactly grammatically correct but aid children in remembering and singing the song.

Historical Origins of Children’s Songs

The origins of some children’s songs are steeped in history. ‘Three Blind Mice’ is a song that has nothing to do with blind rodents. The mice refer to three noblemen in 16th century England who were Protestant and were put to death by Queen Mary 1. She is referred to as the ‘farmer’s wife’ in the song as she owned large tracts of land in the country. Queen Mary was a Catholic who persecuted Protestants. This children’s song is a reminder of the plot by the three nobles against the life of the Queen, a crime for which they were burnt at the stake.

Irish children’s songs can be both funny and simple. Children sing them all over Ireland. The rhyming words help them to learn the language.

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