“Eamon An Chnuic (Ned of the Hill)”


Gaelic. Ned of the Hill sings at Eileen's bower asking that they marry though he has no wealth. Although her castle is guarded she escapes from the tower and goes with him. He spends his life wandering Ireland seeking shelter from his outlawry


Sleeve notes to IRClancyMakem03: "Edmond O'Ryan, the hero of this Gaelic song, was born in Kilnamanagh, County Tipperary, before the wars of 1690. After the defeat of James II, whom he supported, he was outlawed and had his estates confiscated.... The song, in describing the outlaw driven by pain and beating on the closed door of his beloved, symbolized the lonely cause of Ireland." - BS

There seems to be some confusion about (O')Ryan; the Digital Tradition notes to NEDHILL2 say he was displaced after the Boyne, but by *Cromwell*, who of course had been in his grave for more than thirty years at the time of the Boyne.

There is another O'Ryan item, in Kathleen Hoagland, _1000 Years of Irish Poetry_ (1947), p. 171, "Ah! What Woes Are Mine"; it's just possible that this is another translation of "Eamon An Chnuic," but if so, it's a very different one. Hoagland also dates O'Ryan to the period after the Boyne.

A search of six different books of Irish history covering this period revealed no references to (O')Ryan. And tales certainly grew about him -- one version has it that he was eventually betrayed for the reward money, only to have his murderer learn that his proscription had been lifted. The form of this song varies, too; in some texts, O'Ryan is seeking his love; in others, merely shelter from the English.

Clearly, whatever the historical truth, the tale has grown in the telling. - RBW


  • The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, "Eamon An Chnuic" (on IRClancyMakem03)


  1. OBoyle, p. 33, "Eamon an Chnoic" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
  3. BI, RcEaAnCh


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1959 (IRClancyMakem03)
Found in: Ireland