Away in a Manger: Irish Origins

Away in a manager is always the first carol that children are taught in Ireland and England.

The first two verses of "Away in a Manger" were originally published in a Lutheran Sunday school book in 1885. Two years later, James R. Murray published it as "Luther's Cradle Hymn," thus creating the misconception that Luther had written it. Although some attribute the words to Luther, they are considered anonymous. (The third verse was added in 1904 by Dr. John McFarland of New York City)

There are two versions of the melody, one favored in Ireland/England and the other in the United States. Murray's version is the one more commonly sung in the United States, and it is often referred to as "Cradle Song."

The other melody, known as “Mueller” more common here in the US. As it turns out, this version was composed by Irish American William J. Kirkpatrick in 1895, in Pennsylvania. Read more about William J. Kirkpatrick, schoolteacher, musician, and carpenter! Check it out:

Away in a Manger

Away in a manger,
No crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus
Lay down His sweet head.
The stars in the sky
Look down where He lay,
The little Lord Jesus,
Asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing,
The Baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus,
No crying He makes;
I love Thee, Lord Jesus,
Look down from the sky
And stay by my side until morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus,
I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever,
And love me, I pray;
Bless all the dear children
In Thy tender care,
And take us to Heaven
To live with Thee there.