Gartan Mother's Lullaby

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"Gartan Mother's Lullaby"
Published 1904
Songwriter(s) Seosamh MacCathmhaoil (Lyrics)

"Gartan Mother's Lullaby" is an old Irish song and poem written by Herbert Hughes and Seosamh Mac Cathmhaoil, first published in Songs of Uladh [Ulster] in 1904. Hughes collected the traditional melody in Donegal the previous year and Campbell wrote the lyrics. The song is a lullaby by a mother, from the parish of Gartan in County Donegal. The song refers to a number of figures in Irish mythology, places in Ireland and words in the Irish language.


  • Aoibheall, (pronounced "ee-val") commonly known as Aoibhinn the Beautiful, is the queen of the Northern Fairies.
  • The Green Man, (or Fear Glas in Irish) it is said if you see him in the morning, "no ill follows"; but if at night, death or some other terrible misfortune will surely overtake you. He is sometimes called Fear Liath, or the Grey Man.
  • Siabhra, is a generic term for an Irish fairy of any kind. In ancient writings the Tuatha de Danann, or little magicians of the Pagan Irish, were called "siabhra" without distinction.
  • Tearmann, Irish for Termon, a village near Gartan in Donegal.
  • Leanbhan, is an old Irish word for little child. (leanbh is Irish for child +án leanbhán is its diminutive.)