"Carul Loch Garman", "Carúl Inis Córthaidh"
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done,
This beautiful Irish carol originates from Enniscorthy, County Wexford, and is one of the most ancient in the European tradition. The tune is somewhat unusual, as it seems far too "jolly" and lilting to reflect Medieval music, and yet neither does it exactly fit the Irish folk music of the time. Presumably, this carol was originally written not only to tell the tale of Christ's birth, but also to express the joy of Christmastime... such is the beauty of the carol tradition: a departure from the solemnity of religious rites, and an expression of human celebration. The words may well have changed through the years of oral tradition, and then through translation into different languages, but the lovely sentiment remains.
Dating from the twelfth century, "The Wexford Carol" is one of the best known of the Kilmore Carols Cycle. In total, there are thirteen carols in the cycle, eight of which are sung during the Christmas period. The first is sung at Mass on Christmas Day, and the last on the Sunday that is nearest to the Twelfth Day. The annual singing of this ancient carol cycle has occurred at the tiny village church in Kilmore for over two hundred years. They were first introduced to the parish by the Very Rev. Peter Devereux, who was Parish Priest circa 1751. The beautiful carols are handwritten in a leather-bound book- the work of Mr. Richard O'Neill, a famous old schoolmaster.
It has long been a tradition at this church that these carols be sung by men only. The singers consist of six local gentleman, and the group has always included a member of the Devereux family, a tradition that is being continued to the present day. The singers divide into two groups of three, and each group sings alternate stanzas.