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Examples of Gaelic Quatrain

Forgiveness --

It confirmed your saintliness

To people needing heroes.

The world owes you endlessness.

A Gaelic Quatrain for Steven McDonald

Here is an example of the quatrain:


For Morris

(Morris Brandon, a teacher, coach and dean
at Roosevelt High School who died too soon)


                                  Hearts are made

                  To beat for one.  Unafraid,

    Yours, friend, beat for all mankind.

               Our love, find your accolade.


These next two quatrains were written by a high school student.  Note that one stanza might remind you of Macbeth and that the other makes a reference to Ireland:




                                            Witches eyes

               Shining under the moon, rise

                     At night in feline splendor.

                    Predator – in dark disguise.




                                            The rampart

                   Of mist clokes a land apart.

                         Emerald field, azure sky,

                        Eire, thy land is my heart.

A Message from the Contest Manager
I hope these notes are of some help to you.  Your teacher will give you even more valuable assistance.  Every writer needs an editor, so use your friends and family as your preliminary audience.  Contact me if you think I can help:

John Walsh - Contest Manager

*Gaelic:  The ancient and present language of the people of Ireland.  Although English is the common language of the Irish people, Gaelic Irish is still the first language of the people in certain parts of Ireland and there is a growing interest in Ireland and in America and other countries in studying Gaelic Irish.  It is a terrible thing for a language to be allowed to die.


*Quatrain:  A four line stanza.


*The rannaigheacht (the Irish name for the Gaelic Quatrain) is a four line stanza with a set pattern.  The first stanza is three syllables long; the second, third and fourth lines are seven syllable long.  The rhyme scheme is aaba, meaning that lines one, two and four rhyme.  The tricky part of this form is that the line three rhyme cross rhymes with the third syllable of line four.    Here is what the stanza looks line:

                                            x x a

                                x x x x x x a

                                x x x x x x b

                                x x b x x x a


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