One of my favourite Gáidhlig folksongs was written in Nova Scotia and tells the tale of a rough sea crossing at Christmastime. Julie Fowlis' version is slightly different from the one below, which I've heard and sung along with at milling frolics in the province, but it's beautiful nonetheless. Here are the lyrics to the version I know, and I've linked to Julie Fowlis' version of the song below.
Cindy Campbell-Stone, board member of the Helen Creighton Folklore Society, adds that "Versions were collected by Helen Creighton in Cape Breton. In Gaelic Songs of Nova Scotia (pictured), Helen’s notes say that she was told, Roderick Morrison, Drummondville, CB was the author of this song. A lovely tune."
Ged a Sheòl
Sèist: Ged a sheòl mi air m' aineol Cha laigh smalan air mi' inntinn Ged a sheòl mi air m' aineol
Chorus: Although I sailed to foreign countries Sadness did not linger in my mind Although I sailed to foreign countries
'S ann à Boston a sheòl sinn Dol air bhoidse chun na h-Innsean
We sailed from Boston on a voyage to the Indies
Rinn sinn cordadh ri caiptean Air a' bhàrc a bha rìomhach
We came to an agreement with the captain of a handsome bark
Trì là roimh n' Nollaig Thàinig oirnn an droch-shìde
Three days before Christmas Bad weather descended on us
Shèid e cruaidh oirnn le frasan 'S clach-mheallain a bha millteach
The wind blew strongly with rain showers and stinging hailstones
Trì là is trì oidhche 'S mi ri cuibhl' ri droch-shìde
Three days and three nights I was at the wheel with bad weather
Chaill sinn craiceann ar làmhan 'S bha ar gàirdeanan sgìth dheth
We lost the skin from our hands And our arms were tired (of struggle)
Cha robh ròpa 's cha robh òirleach Nuair reòth' e nach robh trì ann
When the inch-thick ropes froze They became three inches in girth
Bha còignear 'na seasamh 'S bha seachdnar 'na sìneadh
Five of the crewmembers were standing and seven were prone
Sin nuair labhair an caiptean "Illean tapaidh, na dìobraibh
That is when the captain said "Do not yield, stout-hearted lads
Nuair a ruigeas sibh caladh Bidh ur drama dhuibh cinnteach"
When you reach port your dram will be certain"
Dh'fhalbh an 'rigging' o'n 'bhowsprit' Leis an tonn a bha dìreadh
We lost the rigging from the bowsprit with the ascending waves
Dh'fhalbh 'n seòl-mhullaich 'na shròicaean Chan e spòrs a bhi 'ga innse
The topsail was torn to shreds It is no fun to tell about it
Am a Nollaig, cha robh 'candy' Cha robh 'Santa' anns a tir seo
Christmas time, there was no candy There was no Santa in this land
Tha mo mhàthair fo lionn dubh Is dùil aic' nach till mi
My mother is dejected, as she does not expect my return