Tonaí shared the longer version of "Oíche Shamhna" with the note, "I see that you have a rann [verse] for Oíche Shamhna on this page. There's a longer version sung on the doorsteps here and since last year there's a video on YouTube sung by the sean-nós singer Róise Nic Corraidh available as well. [See below].…"

Oíche Shamhna - (Long Version) - Irish Children's Songs - Ireland - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image


*"Speckled loaf" is a literal translation of Báirín Breac (Barmbrack). It's a traditional Irish yeast bread that's served for the holiday. The speckled part refers to the raisins and sultanas that are in the bread. It's often cooked with a toy ring in it and the person who gets the ring is supposed to be the one who will get married within the year. Nowadays the person could just be considered lucky.
**The witch's laugh

Tonaí Ó Roduibh wrote, "Did you know that the anglicisation of 'báirín breac' is an annual source of argument between 'barn brack' and 'barm brack'; the latter making most sense phonetically but I'm guessing some people must have been trying to avoid the word 'barn'.

In the video the 'bairín breac' is shown with the traditional five items that go in it, although the shop versions only have the ring for marriage. Here's the list of wrapped items and what they promised for the future, or year ahead:

fáinne (ring) - marriage
bonn (coin) - wealth
cipín (small twig or match stick etc.) - strife (in marriage)
pis (pea) / pónaire (bean) - remaining single
éadach (cloth) - poverty / bad luck

The pea, or bean, would be dried of course... no frozen/flown-in veg around at Samhain back in the day. Considering Oíche Shamhna isn't a celebration of joy and sweetness it should be no surprise that most of the t(h)reats hidden in the bairín breac would not be sought after.

As for the tradition of going door to door in disguise collecting treats/money this is a very Irish tradition as is still witnessed by the traditional going-ons for Lá An Dreoilín (Wren Boys), Lá Bríde (Biddy Boys) and the wedding crashing Straw Boys.

Samhain scáfar, scanrúil, scéiniúil agus shona daoibh go léir!
[An appalling, scary, fun and happy Samhain to you all!]


Tonaí also sent this alternate verse to replace the 3rd verse above which replaces skeletons with pumpkins:

Oíche Shamhna, Oíche Shamhna;
Puimcíní, puimcíní;
Cailleach ghránna, cailleach ghránna;
Chí-hí-hí, Chí-hí-hí.


Halloween, Halloween;
Pumpkins, pumpkins;
Nasty witch, nasty witch;
Cackle, cackle, cackle!

Oíche Shamhna - (Long Version) - Irish Children's Songs - Ireland - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World 1


These 2 versions are also both available with other Irish Gaelic song lyrics here.

Please let us know if you think this video has been taken down by YouTube.

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Thanks to Tonaí Ó Roduibh for sharing these versions of Oíche Shamhna with us and for commenting on the holiday! Image by Lisa with AI.

Go raibh maith agat!