“The Greenwood Laddie”


Singer describes the beauty of her greenwood laddie. Her parents oppose the match because he has no riches, but she says "the more that they slight you, the more I'll invite you". She would still cherish him if she had the gold of the Indies or of Africa.


In 1909 Joyce collected "The Greenwood Lad," but only the tune, and without seeing it I won't cite it as Earliest Date. This is similar in tone to "Banks of the Bann," and even shares a verse, but it's otherwise different enough that I split them without question. - PJS

Kennedy speculates that this might be somehow connected with a Gaelic song, and that the youth's "green-ness" might have political significance. Which strikes me as a rather forced interpretation. - RBW

Cross references


  • Robert Cinnamond, "The Greenwood Laddie" (on IRRCinnamond02)
  • Paddy Tunney, "Greenwood Laddie" (on IRPTunney01)


  1. Kennedy 130, "The Greenwood Laddie" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Tunney-StoneFiddle, p. 137, "The Greenwood Laddie" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Roud #2123
  4. BI, K130


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1952 (recorded from Charles Boyle)
Found in: Ireland