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Queen's University
 

Queen's Encyclopedia

Cha Gheill

This Gaelic war cry, correctly pronounced "kay yi-al" and usually translated as "no surrender," is the rousing conclusion of Queen's traditional cheer (see below). The cheer is now used almost exclusively in the chorus of "Queen's College Colours," popularly known as the Oil Thigh song, but actually predates the song.

The cheer was composed in 1891 by three Gaelic-speaking students: Donald Cameron, F.A. McRae, and another called MacLean, whose first name is not known. It was incorporated into "Queen's College Colours" when the song was written in 1897.

The term "Cha Gheill" is sometimes used separately, especially between older alumni at university occasions, as a jocular equivalent of "Cheers!" or as a salutation at the end of letters.

The original cheer was:

Dearg! Gor'mus! Buidthe!
Oil Thigh na Banrighinn gu Brath!
Cha Gheill! Cha Gheill! Cha Gheill!

This translates as:

Red! Blue! Yellow!
Queen's forever!
No surrender!

It is pronounced:

Jarg! Gormoos! Boo-ee-ee-ee!
Oil Thigh na Banree gu Braw!
Kay Yi-al!

The words "Dearg! Gor'mus! Buidthe!" were later replaced by "Queen's! Queen's! Queen's!"

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