A Mhuire Mháthair

This Irish-language hymn about Mary appears to be a based on a traditional text which was set to POKAREKARE ANA, a tune from New Zealand, sometime during the 1970s.

Some people have speculated that the New Zealand tune could have been borrowed from an earlier Irish or Scottish tune, but the research documented here suggests this is unlikely.   This is supported by the way that the hymn is widely known in Ireland, despite not being included an any of these Irish hymn books:

More recently the text has been set to other tunes - but I haven't yet found any details about these.



Solo singer with guitar accompaniment (good for learning pronunciation)

Children's choir with piano:

Folk choir with guitars:

Instrumental - whistle and backing band:


A Mhuire Mháthair,
'Sé seo mo ghuí
Go maire Íosa
Go deo im’ chroí

Ave Maria, mo ghrá Ave,
Is tusa mo mháthair ‘s máthair Dé.

A Mhuire Mháthair,
I rith mo shaoil
Bí liom mar dhídean
ar gach aon bhaol.

A Mhuire Mháthair
‘tá lán de ghrást’
Go raibh tú taobh liom
Ar uair mo bháis.

Rough translation

1: O Mother Mary, this is my wish
That Jesus lives forever in my heart.

Hail Mary , My love, hail
You are my Mother and the Mother of God.

2: Hail Mary, hail dearest one
You're my mother and God's mother

3: Mary Mother, full of grace
Be at my side at death's hour.

ABC Notation

T:A Mhuire Mhathair
O:Tune - New Zealand. Words - Ireland
Z:abc-transcription www.GodSongs.net
z D "G" B A | G2 (B2| B) D G>F| "C"(E4 |
w:1~~~A Mhu-ire Mhá-thair_ 'Sé seo mo ghuí_
"D"E) E A G| F2 (A2| A) D "C"E F | "G"G4 |
w:1~~~Go mai-re Ío_sa go deo im chroí._
G GA"C"B|c2 ("Am" c2|c) E G c| ("Em"B4 |
w:1~~~Ave_ Ma-ria,__ mo ghrá A-ve__
"C"B) DG/2A/2 "G"B| "C" A2 (A2|A)"D" FED|"G"G4|]
w:1~~~ Is tu_ sa mo mháthair_ s máthair_ Dé

Ref:  What is ABC notation

See more ....


  1. The hymn A Mhuire Mhathair, was composed by Brother Kevin Ambrose O'NEILL, 1919-2007. Ambrose died in Wexford on 30 October 2007, and is buried in the Blessed Edmund Rice Cemetery Baldoyle, Dublin 13.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Frank.

      Do you have any information about published sources for this? Either links, or names / publishers of books where it was included?

      There's a claim in Mudcat cafe (http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=69609) that someone called Tomás Breathnach set the text to tune POKAREKARE ANA.

      There's another claim later in the thread that Br. Frank Keegan (d approx 1992) from Drimnagh Castle School Dublin, composed the Irish version.

      I know that I've seen a reference to the text existing long before it was set to the tune - but I didn't write down the reference at the time and cannot find it again.

  2. This is my translation of A Mhuire Mháthair

    O Mother Mary, this is my plea
    May Jesus always in my heart be

    Ave Maria, all hail to you.
    You are my mother -
    God's Mother too

    O Mother Mary, all thru my life
    Be my safe shelter in every strife

    Ave Maria....

    O Mother Mary,hail full of grace
    In death's dark hour may I see your face

    Ave Maria....

    (Brother Maurice Finn (cfc)

  3. A precious hymn to our Mother Mary!
    A precious memory shared with Br. Finn, a very dear family friend.

  4. Had this sung in irish at my mums funeral. It was beautiful