Scottish Gaelic Nursery Rhymes or Songs

Monique, of Mama Lisa’s World en français, was nice enough to send me this lovely photo of the Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland, which she visited this past summer.

Eilean Donan Castle

Monique asked me to post the photo with a request for Scottish Gallic nursery rhymes or songs. If anyone knows of any, please send them to us. We’d be happy to post them!


This article was posted on Friday, September 22nd, 2006 at 10:36 am and is filed under Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, Folk Songs, Gaelic, Languages, Mama Lisa, Nursery Rhymes, Scotland, Scotland, Scottish, Scottish Children's Songs, Scottish Gaelic, Scottish Lullabies, Scottish Nursery Rhymes, Traveling. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

22 Responses to “Scottish Gaelic Nursery Rhymes or Songs”

  1. alley balley Says:

    i am also looking for the words to this lullaby, it goes like this ally balyally baly be sitting on your gramas knee waiting for a wee bobby to buy some couter candy

  2. Lisa Says:

    We have Ali Bali on our Mama Lisa’s World Scotland pages at

    Click the links for the two pages of different versions of Ali Bali and an mp3 recording of somene singing it…

    Ali Bali with mp3 recording

    More versions of Ali Bali with sheet music and midi

  3. Duchess Nukem Says:

    If anybody knows where one may get the originals of Scottish Nursery Rhymes (except Wee Willie Wincky) please mail me a link

  4. Lisa Says:

    There are some Scottish Nursery Rhymes at this clickable link. -Mama Lisa

  5. Joanna Drysdale Says:

    Good afternoon

    My niece learned a nursery rhyme in Gaelic to the tune of “Frere Jacques”, however I’m not sure that the words correspond to that song. Phonetically she sings “Shaw mo lavin” instead of Frere Jacques. Can you tell me about this song?


  6. Michael Bäumer Says:

    Popular Rhymes of Scotland (1870) (Text mentioned)

    Hush-a-ba birdie

    Melody -> look at the end – very nice and simple!

    Hush-a-ba, birdie, croon, croon,
    Hush-a-ba, birdie, croon.
    The sheep are gane to the silver wood,
    And the cows are gane to the broom, broom.
    And it’s braw milking the kye, kye,
    It’s braw milking the kye.
    The birds are singing, the bells are ringing,
    And the wild deer come galloping by, by.
    And hush-a-ba, birdie, croon, croon,
    Hush-a-ba, birdie, croon.
    The gaits are gane to the mountain hie,
    And they’ll no be hame till noon, noon.

    You can find it on a CD of Putumayo Records
    A Lullaby Teresa Doyle Traditional Putumayo Presents: Dreamland – World Lullabies 2003

  7. Ronnie Robertson Says:

    Is there a scottish word for Grandma

  8. abby Says:

    hi im abby i live in a gaelic place but i im entering britians got talent next year me and ma team im the singer and they are the dancers but i sing in gaelic bcoz they do highland danceing so i need 2 find a song its called fir ‘ a far ‘ a for ‘a it means morag wheres your kids but i dont know how to spell and i need the words if you find it plz contact on bye

  9. abby Says:

    yes ronnie its bodigich (bot-oc)

  10. Ùisdean Says:

    Seo mo làimhean [shaw mo lavin] Here are my hands
    I don’t know what the rest of the words are but if i find them i’ll let you know.

    Scottish word for Grandma is actually seannmhathair [shen-va-har] and granda/granpa is seannathair [shen-a-har]

    bodach [bodick (ch as in loch)]- is more old man ie santa claus = bodach mòr na Nollaig [the old man of christmas]

    boireannach = woman

  11. Ùisdean Says:

    The ally bally bee song is known in Scotland as ‘Coulter’s Candy’

    Listen on you tube.

  12. Ùisdean Says:

    Three Craws

    Three Craws were sittin’ on a wa’
    sittin’ on a wa’
    sittin’ on a wa’
    Three Craws were sittin’ on a wa’
    on a cold an’ frosty mornin’

    The first craw was greetin’ fir his maw
    Greetin’ fir his maw
    greetin’ fir his maw
    The first craw was greetin’ fir his maw
    on a cold an’ frosty mornin’

    The secon’ craw fell ‘n broke his jaw
    fell ‘n broke his jaw
    fell ‘n broke his jaw
    The secon’ craw fell ‘n broke his jaw
    on a cold an’ frosty mornin’

    The third craw couldnae flee at a’
    couldnae flee at a’
    couldnae flee at a’
    the third craw couldnae flee at a’
    on a cold an frosty mornin’

    The secon’ craw he wisnae there at a’
    wisnae there at a’
    wisnae there at a’
    the secon’ craw wisnae there at a’
    on a cold an’ frosty mornin’

  13. Sheona Says:

    Hello, I’m looking to find the words to what I think is a song, but could be a ryhme. All I can remember of the words is:
    “I’m a wee Malotee Man (spelling??)” somthing something something “live in a caravan” then more words that I can’t remember to save my life. My auntie used to sing it to my son, we live in Canada so NO one around us has a clue. Any help would be great!!

  14. Franc Bell Says:

    I much prefer ‘Hush a bawdie croon’ as sung by Janet Russell and Sandra Kerr on the CD Sleepytime Playsongs available from
    I also think you should know about the ongoing project of teaching Scots families about singing lullabies organised by Christina Stewart.
    CD Kist o’ Dreams and CD Bairn’s Kist
    available from
    Slàn Franc Bell

  15. Franc Bell Says:

    I would also like to add this page of Scots Gaelic (Gàidhig) nursery rhymes:

  16. Franc Bell Says:

    Here’s another source of children’s songs in Scots Gaelic (Gàidhlig):
    Franc Bell

  17. Marcia Says:

    Learned ali-bali-bee song from a Scotish girl that came to USA for a short time. She sang it to my son as a baby, taught it to me, I sang it to all my kids, nieces, nephews, and now my beautiful grand-daughter. Her dad sings it to her. Very calming to any baby that hears it. But…what does it mean??? Always wondered! Thank you Anne Grante for teaching me this beautiful lullaby.

  18. Paul Wimsett Says:

    This isn’t Gaelic, but does use a lot of the Scots language:

    The Hurdy Dirdy cam’ hame frae the hill, hungry, hungry
    “Faar’s my gruel?” said the Hirdy Dirdy.
    “It’s sittin’ i’ the bowl.
    The black chicken and and the grey
    Hae been peckin’ at it a’ the day.”
    He up wi’ his club an’ gied ’em it o’ the lug.
    “Peak, peak,” cried the chicken. “Will-a-wins!” cried the hen.
    “Little matter,” said the cock, “Ye should hae gaen to yer bed fan I bade you.”

    This is an Aberdeenshire poem. A Hirdy Dirdy is a shepherd, he asks his wife for succour, and finds the chickens over his watered down porridge. He hits them over the head. The first chicken chirps, the second says “lackaday”. The cockerel says that she should have gone to bed when I told you…

  19. elisabeth batchelor Says:

    Hiya, i was wondering if anybody can help me, i am looking for a gaelic (scotish) song and it’s called “the star of the sea”. All I know is that the title is also the name of a scotish church. Does anybody have an idea where to look for the song ? Thx, grtz Elisa

  20. Željka Says:

    Hello. My name is Željka and I could use some help in the field of Nursery Rhymes. I’m in need of a book that contains Gaelic Nursery Rhymes with their translation to Scots and a book containing Irish Nursery Rhymes with their translation onto Irish English. I would be ever grateful if anyone could help me in my quest.
    All the best,

  21. Emma Says:

    Book of some Scots rhymes on amazon:

  22. Yvonne Says:


    I am trying to find out the name of a song that I learned in Primary School, I can spell it phonetically – it goes

    hina ma tob bana him shivita shim gum yahad
    hini ma tob shivita shim gum yahad

    Sorry, that’s all I have

    hopefully you can help


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