Redmond O'Hanlon 2


A shepherd that lives on Slieve Gullion
Came down to the County Tyrone
And told us how Redmond O’Hanlon
Won’t let the rich Saxons alone
He rides over moorland and mountain
By night, till a stranger is found
Saying ‘Take your own choice to be lodging
Right over or under the ground’

If you whistle out ‘Whoo’ like a native
He leaves you the way to go clear
If you squeal out a ‘Hew’ like a Scotchman
You will pay him a guinea a year
But if you cry ‘Haw’ like a Saxon
Och then, ’tis your life or your gold
By stages Count Redmond O’Hanlon
Gets back what they plundered of old

Old Coote of Cootehill is heartbroken
And Johnston beyond in the Fews
Has wasted eight barrels of powder
Upon him, but all to no use
Although there’s four hundred pounds sterling
If Redmond you’d put out of sight
Mind, if the heart’s dark in your body
’tis Redmond will let in the light

The great Duke of Ormond is frantic
His soldiers got up with the lark
To catch the bold Redmond by daylight
But Redmond caught them in the dark
Says he, when he stripped them and bound them
Take back my best thanks to his Grace
For all the fine pistols and powder
He sent to this desolate place

Then here’s to you, Redmond O’Hanlon
Long may your Excellency reign
High-ranger of woods and of rivers
Surveyor of mountains and plain
Examiner-in-chief of all traitors
Protector of all that are true
Hence-forward King Charlie of England
May take what he gets after you



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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P J McColl