Éamonn an Chnoic


Version 1

Oh, dark is the evening and silent the hour
Oh, who is that minstrel by yon shady tower ?
Whose harp is so tenderly touching with skill
Oh, who could it be but young Ned of the Hill ?

And he sings, ‘Lady love, will you come with me now ?
Come and live merrily under the bough
I’ll pillow your head where the light fairies tread
If you will but wed with young Ned of the Hill’

Young Ned of the Hill has no castle or hall
No bowmen or spearmen to come at his call
But one little archer of exquisite skill
Has loosed a bright shaft for young Ned of the Hill

It is hard to escape to this young lady’s bower
For high is the castle and guarded the tower
But where there’s a will, there’s always a way
And young Eileen is gone with young Ned of the Hill

Version 2

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

Through forest and through snow, tired and hunted I go
In fear both from friend and from neighbour
My horses run wild, my acres untilled
And they all of them lost to my labour

But it grieves me far more than the loss of my store
That there’s none who would shield me from danger
So my fate it must be, to fare eastward o’er sea
And languish amid the stranger


Following Cromwell’s conquest of Ireland, the Act of Settlement of 1652 led to many Catholic landowners being dispossessed. One of those who lost his property was Éamonn Ó Riain (Edmund O’Ryan) who lived in County Tipperary from 1670–1724. He turned outlaw after shooting a tax collector, and was known as Éamonn an Chnoic (Ned of the Hill). Many stories were told of him being a Robin Hood type rebel hero.

Originally written in Irish, there is a diverse variety of translations and adaptations.

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