Cuairt San Nioclás

Clement Clarke Moore

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Cuairt San Nioclás (A Visit from Saint Nicholas) was composed 200 years ago. The poem, also known as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’, has been called “arguably the best-known verses ever written by an American” and, like Duan na Nollag (A Christmas Carol) by Charles Dickens, ‘Cuairt San Nioclás’ created an image of Christmas which was eagerly espoused by readers.

Santa Claus and Christmas Gift-Giving

Before the poem gained wide popularity, American ideas had varied considerably about Saint Nicholas and other Christmastide visitors. The poem was largely responsible for some of the conceptions of Santa Claus from the mid-nineteenth century to today. It has had a massive effect on the history of Christmas gift-giving.

A Visit from St. Nicholas eventually was set to music and has been recorded by many artists. This is the first translation in the Irish language.

The Mystery of the Author

Clement Clarke Moore is credited and is most widely known as the author of the Christmas poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, first published anonymously in 1823. It later became widely known as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” and has been published in numerous illustrated versions in various languages. Scholars debate the identity of the author, calling on textual and handwriting analysis as well as other historical sources.

Go deireanach, Oíche Nollag,
ó cheann ceann an tí,

Ní raibh cor as aon duine,
ná luchóg ’na suí;

Bhí na stocaí ar crochadh
faoin matal go beacht

Faoi réir do Shan Nioclás,
agus súil lena theacht.