Redmond O'Hanlon


There was a man lived in the north, a hero brave and bold
Who robbed the wealthy landlords of their silver and their gold
He gave the money to the poor, to pay their rent and fee
For Count Redmond O’Hanlon was a gallant rapparee

Then hurrah for Count O’Hanlon
Redmond O’Hanlon
Hurrah for Count O’Hanlon
The gallant rapparee

He had a noble big black horse that was his joy and pride
A brace of loaded pistols, he carried by his side
He roamed the hills and valleys with a spirit wild and free
Count Redmond O’Hanlon, the gallant rapparee

‘Twas high upon Slieve Gullion that he used to ply his trade
And Squire Johnson of the Fews, this handsome offer made
He said “I’ll give four hundred pounds to hang him from a tree”
But, not a man in all the land would sell the rapparee

They sent the soldiers after him to try and bring him back
O’Hanlon only laughed at them upon the mountain track
And while the soldiers slept that night among the mountain gorse
He stole their guns and rode away upon his noble horse

‘Twas back in 1681 that Count O’Hanlon died
And still along Slieve Gullion’s slopes, they speak of him with pride
And anyone will tell you from Rathfriland to Forkhill
That in the silence of the night, you’ll hear him riding still


Count Redmond O’Hanlon (1640–1681) was a “rapparee” or guerrilla-outlaw. He is often referred to as Ireland’s answer to Robin Hood. Although born in impoverished circumstances, he was a descendant of the last O’Hanlon chieftain who was Lord of Airgíalla and Master of Tandragee Castle. O’Hanlon lands and property was confiscated when he was alledged to have been present at a fatal argument. He took to the hills around Slieve Gullion and became an outlaw, or rapparee. Many other Gaelic Irishmen flocked to his banner.

Like many dispossessed members of the Gaelic gentry, Count O’Hanlon forced the Anglo-Irish landowners and Ulster Scots merchants to pay for insurance against theft. Travellers under his protection were provided with a written pass, which was to be shown to anyone trying to rob them. Those who disregarded the Count O’Hanlon’s passes or rustled from livestock herds under his protection were forced to return the stolen merchandise, then fined, and finally murdered if they persisted.

On 25 April 1681, Count Redmond O’Hanlon was fatally shot near Hilltown, County Down. According to popular account, he was murdered while sleeping

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