Óró, Sé do Bheatha Abhaile

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  • Teideal (Title): Óró, Sé do Bheatha Abhaile.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 860205.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): none.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): Joe Heaney Collection, University of Washington, Seattle.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): Irish.
  • Catagóir (Category): Song.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Joe Heaney.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): Mary E. Johnson.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 10/10/1980.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): San Francisco, California, United States of America.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): Larry Lynch’s Céilí.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): Unavailable.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

The last song, in Irish of course — my own language — and there’s a nice chorus to it; and I’m sure there must be one, two or maybe three here who knows the chorus. And the song is ‘Óró, sé do bheatha abhaile’ — that means, Óró, you’re welcome home. And it was attributed to Grace O’Malley in the 1798 thing — she had a castle in the west… Gráinne Ní Mháille1; and this is how it goes. Join me in the chorus now, if you know it:

Óró, sé do bheatha abhaile
Óró sé do bheatha abhaile
Óró sé do bheatha abhaile
Anois ar theacht don tsamhradh.

‘Sé do bheatha, a bhean ba léanmhar
B’ é ár gcreach tú bheith i ngéibheann
Ár ndúiche bhreá i seilbh méirligh
Díolta leis na Gallaibh.

A bhuí le Rí na bhFeart go bhfeice muid,
Cé nach beo sinn ina dhiaidh ach seachtain
Gráinne Mhaol1 agus míle gaiscíoch
‘ Fógairt fáin ar Ghallaibh.

Tá Gráinne Mhaol ag tigheacht thar sáile
Óglaigh armtha léi mar gharda
Gaeil iad féin is ní Gaill ná Spáinnigh
Cuirfidh siad ruaig ar Ghallaibh.

Well, go raibh míle maith agaibh, agus ‘sé bhur mbeatha sibhse abhaile – thank you very much and ‘sé do bheatha abhaile means, ‘may God take you home’ – and may God take you safely wherever you want to go. Good luck!


Óró, you’re welcome home
Óró, you’re welcome home
Óró, you’re welcome home
Now at the start of summer.

You are welcome, woman who was full of woe
Our ruin that you were in slavery
Our fine land in a robber’s possession
Sold to foreigners.

Thanks be to the King of Miracles that we may see
Even if we should live no more than a week
Gráinne Mhaol and a thousand heroes
Scattering the foreigners.

Gráinne Mhaol is coming over the sea,
Armed warriors with her for a guard
They’re Irish, not foreigners or Spanish
And they’ll send the foreigners packing.



1. Gráinne Ní Mháille / Gráinne Mhaol / Grace O’Malley – is both an historical figure and an important element in the folklore of the west of Ireland. The daughter of a Mayo chieftain, she is famous for having taken to the seafaring life of her family, which included the exacting of tariffs upon those who frequented the shipping lanes of Connacht. To later generations, Gráinne Mhaol personified the swashbuckling, independent native Irish nobility that was brought to its knees by the Elizabethan settlement, and came to represent both the Irish people and their fervent desire to escape English domination. Notwithstanding Joe’s reference to 1798, Gráinne Mhaol was a figure of the sixteenth century, not the eighteenth.

The text sung by Joe here – and indeed by the many singers and groups who have taken it up in recent years – is a reworking by Irish nationalist writer Pádraig Pearse of a Jacobite song; the verses have been popular since they first became widely known during the Irish War of Independence. The song has been recorded by The Dubliners, the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, the Wolfe Tones, and a number of other groups, as a visit to YouTube will demonstrate. The most influential traditional performance of the song has doubtless been that of Darach Ó Catháin (Traditional Unaccompanied Singing in Irish, Shanachie 34005).