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The song "Tír na nÓg", like many of the Celtic Woman songs, is partly in English and partly in Irish Gaelic. Unlike many of those Celtic Woman songs, this one doesn't seem to be based on a traditional Irish ballad, as far as I can tell - it may have been written specifically for Celtic Woman. This makes it difficult to find out the meaning of the lines in Gaelic, the chorus of this song.

  • Genius.com has the following lyrics, which are certainly what the words sound like but (knowing what Gaelic is like) almost certainly nowhere near the correct spelling:

    Sha ta co ti oh scum ne rivna
    Sha ta co ti oh nugga Tír na nÓg
    Sha ta co ti oh scum ne rivna
    Nug a Tír na nÓg

  • KaraokeLyrics.net has the following lyrics, which look much more believable as the correct spelling for the Gaelic words that sound like the above:

    Saeta-Ceatia sciamh-ne riabhanach
    Saeta-Ceatia nuige Tír na nÓg
    Saeta-Ceatia sciamh-ne riabhanach
    Nuige, Tír na nÓg

  • LyricsTranslate.com has the following translated lyrics, but I'm unsure of the source for this translation:

    Yes, Who is it?
    Yes, who took tea from the land of the young?
    Yes, Who is it?
    Nave from Land

Putting the words from KaraokeLyrics.net (the most believable Gaelic spelling) into Google Translate, it recognises them as Irish but doesn't provide any English translation. Trying a single word gives the translation "zebra", which doesn't seem believable.

Tír na nÓg itself is of course the Irish name for the Celtic Otherworld, but that only gives us a few words of the chorus and potentially hints at the overall meaning.

How are the words of this Gaelic chorus really spelled, and what is their meaning? Looking for believable sources, such as the people who wrote/produced this song (assuming it isn't a traditional one) or a native/fluent speaker of Irish Gaelic.

2

The lyrics are not in Irish Gaelic. According to an interview held by the Irish web magazine Joe.ie, the lyrics of the chorus were invented by Oonagh, the guest artist for that song. When the hosts of the show ask what the chorus means, Mairead Carlin very bluntly says "Nothing!" Éabha McMahon says:

Oonagh made it up. We have people all the time saying, Éabha, you speak Irish, what does "shatta cutio scum de areevna" mean? I'm like, I don't know! Ask Oonagh!

(The relevant part of the interview starts at around the 13:30 mark of the video.)

Since the song has an "elvish" theme and Oonagh has recorded songs in the past with lyrics in Tolkien's Elvish languages, it's possible that the chorus is in Sindarin, or Quenya, or some variant. I'm inclined to think that if the lyrics had a meaning, Oonagh would have shared that meaning with the Celtic Woman leads. She evidently didn't, which suggests there may not have been anything to share.

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  • Wow, nice find! I wasn't expecting that at all. Will accept this answer unless anyone finds an actual meaning given by Oonagh. – Rand al'Thor Aug 18 at 7:03
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From this page at lyricstranslate.com:

the lyrics are spelled as in your second rendering, and translated into English they are

Seata-Ceatía, our beautiful, handsome, young man
Seata-Ceatía, come with me/us until Tír na nÓg
Seata-Ceatía, our beautiful, handsome, young man
Come with me/us as far as Tír na nÓg

Or, losing the "until" and translating the words left untranslated:

Seata-Ceatía, our beautiful handsome young man
Seata-Ceatía, come with me/us to the Land of the Young
Seata-Ceatía, our beautiful handsome young man
Come with me/us as far as the Land of the Young.

"Seata-Ceatía" is described as "a faerie name used in enchantment". I'm not sure what any specific denotations are.

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  • Ha, so we have two different pages at LyricsTranslate (I linked another one in the question) giving two completely different translations of the lyrics! I don't know what the source for this is, but searching the web for "Seata-Ceatía" gives only results related to this song. – Rand al'Thor Aug 18 at 6:58
  • We need an Irish speaker or someone who has better access than websearch firms do to decent dictionaries or to libraries with good sources on fairy lore. The written lyrics may not be canonical and the spellings may be unusual. "Sciamh" can be spelled "scéimh" ("beauty"), so at least one word wasn't made up for this song. "Seata" perhaps should be "seatha" ("sithe"). "Cáitheadh" means "whirling", applied to snow or spume. Evocative enough? :-) The librarian at the National Folklore Collection at UCD would help. – user101010101 Aug 18 at 10:20
  • Or, apparently it's not actually Irish Gaelic at all. (The other answer links an interview with two of the singers of that song, at least one of whom speaks Gaelic, and they say it doesn't mean anything.) – Rand al'Thor Aug 18 at 10:37
  • We need an Irish-speaking listener unconnected with the singers or lyricist to listen to it (without reading anybody's written down version, comments, or explanations) and say whether they detect any meaning in it. They're likely to pick up at least "sciamh". "An uige" means "the gauze" and can also mean "the woven fabric" or "the poem". Fay vibes are coming across even if I don't speak Irish :-) – user101010101 Aug 18 at 12:55

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