Best viewed in
Internet Explorer

Music (PDF)

Music (BMW)

Back to

Updated 04/25/2013


Cailleach an Airgid
(The Hag with the Money)

In Irish and Scottish mythology, the Cailleach is generally seen as a divine hag, a creator, and possibly an ancestral deity or deified ancestor. The word simply means 'old woman' in modern Scottish Gaelic, and has been applied to numerous mythological figures in both Scotland and Ireland.

In Scotland, where she is also known as Beira, Queen of Winter, she is credited with making numerous mountains and large hills, which are said to have been formed when she was striding across the land and accidentally dropped rocks from her apron. In other cases she is said to have built the mountains intentionally, to serve as her stepping stones. She carries a hammer for shaping the hills and valleys.

In Scotland, The Cailleachan (lit. 'old women') are also known as The Storm Hags, and seen as personifications of the elemental powers of nature, especially in a destructive aspect. They are said to be particularly active in raising the windstorms of spring, during the period known as A' Chailleach. One legend describes The Cailleach as turning to stone on Beltane and reverting back to humanoid form on Samhain in time to rule over the winter months. In Scotland, she ushers in winter by washing her plaid in the Whirlpool of Coire Bhreacain. This process is said to take three days, during which the roar of the coming tempest is heard as far away as twenty miles inland. When she is finished, her plaid is white and snow covers the land.

This is a popular Irish folk song from Connemara where the song is also known as 'Sí Do Mhaimeó Í' / 'Si Do Mhamo I' (She's your granny).




'Sí do mhaimeo í, 'sí do mhaimeo í
'Sí do mhaimeo í, 'sí cailleach an airgid
'Sí do mhaimeo í, ó Bhaile Iorrais Mhóir í
'S chuirfeadh sí cóistí ar bhóithre Cois Fharraige

Dá bhfeicfeá' an "steam" 'ghabhail siar Tóin Uí Loin'
'S na rothaí 'ghabhail timpeall siar ó na ceathrúnaí
Chaithfeadh sí 'n stiúir naoi n-uair' ar a cúl
'S ní choinneodh sí siúl le cailleach an airgid


Measann tú, 'bpósfa', measann tú 'bpósfa'
Measann tú, 'bpósfa', cailleach an airgid?
Tá's a'm nach 'bpósfa', tá's a'm nach 'bpósfa'
Mar tá sé ró-óg 'gus d'ólfadh sé'n t-airgead


'S gairid go 'bpósfaidh, 's gairid go 'bpósfaidh
'S gairid go 'bpósfaidh, beirt ar a' mbaile seo
'S gairid go 'bpósfaidh, 's gairid go 'bpósfaidh
Séan Shéamais Mhóir is Máire Ní Chathasaigh



She is your granny, she is your granny
She's your granny, the hag with the money
She's your granny, from Iorras Mhór
And she would put coaches on the roads of Cois Farraige

If you'd see the steam going past Toin Ui Loin'
And the wheels turning speedily out from her flanks
She'd scatter the stoor nine times to the rear
But she'd never keep pace with the hag with the money


Do you reckon he'd marry, do you reckon he'd marry
Do you reckon he'd marry the hag with the money?
I know he'll not marry, I know he'll not marry
'Cause he's too young and he'll squander the money


We'll soon have a wedding, we'll soon have a wedding
We'll soon have a wedding, by two in the village
We'll soon have a wedding, we'll soon have a wedding
Between Sean Seamais Mhoir and Maire Ni Chathasaigh