Ned of the Hill

Here is an English version of Éamann na Chnoic, a reasonable well-known Irish song.  I love Seán Cannon‘s version, but many, many artsits have recorded this ballad in both the English and Irish versions.


The song concerns Éamonn Ó Riain, an Irish aristocrat who lived in County Tipperary at the turn of the 18th century, and led a bandit or rapparee gang.  The background to Ryan’s career was the confiscation of Irish Catholic land in the Act of Settlement 1652 after the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland when many dispossessed landowners became outlaws, known as “tories” or “rapparees”. Their ranks were swelled after the Williamite War of 1689-91, when many of the defeated Catholic Jacobites turned to banditry. It is likely that Ryan himself served in the Jacobite army.
It is said that Ryan became a rapparee or outlaw after shooting a tax collector dead during a quarrel over the confiscation of a poor woman’s cow. Various other stories are told in which Ó Riain plays the role of the rebel hero who battles authority in the mode of Robin Hood and countless others.

Ned of the Hill

Oh who is without
That with passionate shout
Keeps beating my bolted door?
I am Ned of the Hill
Forspent wet and chill
From long trudging marsh and moor
My love, fond and true
What else could I do
But shield you from wind and from weather?
When the shots fall like hail
They us both shall assail
And mayhap we shall die together

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The Banks of the Roses

“Banks-apalooza” continues with The Dubliners singing the rousing Banks of the Roses. I swear, I’m not just trying to post everything Sean Cannon has done. But would that really be a crime?

The Banks of the Roses

On the Banks of the Roses me love and I sat down
And I took out me fiddle for to play me love a tune
And in the middle of the tune-o she sighed and she said
Oro Johnny, lovely Johnny don’t ya leave me

When I was a young boy I heard me father say
That he’d rather see me dead and buried in the clay
Sooner than be married to any runaway
By the lovely sweet banks of the roses


And then I am no runaway and soon I’ll let them know
That I can take a bottle or can leave it alone
And if her daddy doesn’t like it he can keep his daughter at home
And young Johnny will go rovin’ with some other


And when I get married t’will be in the month of May
When the leaves they are green and the meadows they are gay
And me and me true love we’ll sit and sport and play
By the lovely sweet banks of the roses


The Banks of the Bann (Willie Archer)

After yesterday’s post, it got me looking around and listening to more music from the marvelous Sean Cannon. There are a couple of songs in the tradition that go by the title of The Banks of the Bann.  Here’s a version subtitled “Willie Archer.”

The Banks of the Bann (Willie Archer)

Oh, as I was a-walking all down by the town,
Those lovely green mountains they did me surround,
‘Twas there I spied a maiden and to me she looked grand.
She was plucking wild roses by the banks of the Bann.

I quickly approached her and to her I did say,
“Since Nature has ordain-ed, we should meet in this way,
Since Nature has ordained it, come give me your hand,
And we will walk together by the banks of the Bann.

It was into a corner where the changes took place.
I knew by the blood that beat on her face.
Her feet they fell from her on a neat bed of sand
And she fell into my arms by the banks of the Bann.

“Oh, young man, now that you’ve wronged me, come give me your name
So that when the child is born I might call him the same.”
“My name is Willie Archer as you may understand
And my home and habitation lie close to the Bann.”

“But I cannot marry you, I’m apprenticed and bound
To the spinning and the weaving in Rathfriland town,
But when my time is over I will give you my hand
And we will walk together by the banks of the Bann.”

Come all you fair maidens and take warning by me —
Well don’t go out a-courting by one, two, or three,
No don’t go out a-courting by three, two, or one
For you might meet Willie Archer by the banks of the Bann.