THE POGUESTRA LATEST RELEASE ‘Young Ned Of The Hill’

The PoguestrA are back for the first time since Christmas with one of the highlights from The Pogues fourth album Peace And Love about the persecution of the Irish by the ‘protector of the faith’ Oliver Cromwell.
The PoguestrA are a group of musicians united by a love of The Pogues playing together remotely. Listen on as they continue their quest to cover all our favourite Pogues songs!
Young Ned Of The Hill’ is an adaptation of an old Irish folk song that The Pogues recorded in 1989 for Peace And Love. Adapted from the song ‘Éamonn Ó Chnoic’ (Ned Of The Hill) traditionally performed slower and without a chorus. ‘Éamonn Ó Chnoic’ is about a man who comes to a woman’s door seeking shelter. He has been travelling and has lost his team of horses and now has nowhere to go. The last stanza of the song says that he “must go eastward across the sea” which suggests that he is either going to England or perhaps to the prison colony of Australia. It stands in stark contrast to The Pogues’ version of the song.

The original Gaelic version of the song is well-represented by the legendary Wolfe Tones above. Translated directly from the Irish the lyrics are :

“Who’s that outside
whose voice is urgent,
pounding on my closed door?”
“I’m Éamonn of the hill,
drowned, cold and wet,
from endlessly traveling mountains and glens.”

“Dearest love and treasure,
what can I do for you
but cover you with the lap of my dress?”
And black gunpowder will be
fired endlessly at us,
and we will both perish!”

“I’ve long been outside
in snow and in frost,
not daring to approach anyone.
My fallow unplanted,
my team in need of unyoking,
and I no longer have them at all!

I have no friend—
how that grieves me—
who’d take me in, early or late.
And so I must go
eastward across the sea,
for it’s there I have no kindred.”

*

Ron Kavana and Terry Woods version of ‘Young Ned Of The Hill’ is a song about the 1640’s brutal conquest of Ireland by Oliver Cromwell and those who fought against him. It tells of the brave Irishmen with “wills of iron” marching to fight the English invaders with “gaelic honour held high.”  The last verse of song discusses how they were robbed and drove away from their land, but they”ll never understand the “love of old dear Ireland.”

Rapparee- ‘freebooter’ 1680’s, originally ‘pikeman’ from the Irish rapairidhe, plural of rapaire ‘half-pike’. Soldier prominent in the war of 1688-92.

Éamonn Ó Riain (Edmund O’Ryan) was one of many Irish Catholic landholders forcibly dispossessed by English and Scottish Protestant settlers in the seventeenth century. Rather than fleeing to the continent, many chose to remain in Ireland, hoping to frustrate the invaders. Living the lives of political bandits – harassing British troops, robbing Protestant planters and landlords and aiding the Irish poor. These guerillas were known variously as ceithearnaigh choille (‘wood kernes’), toraidhe (pursuer- the origin of the modern term ‘Tory’) or ropaire (‘pike-man’). After his death, ballads, books and legend immortalised him as a Robin Hood-like resistance fighter and nationalist folk hero. It’s an interesting song because it is so reminiscent of the old Irish rebel folk songs about defeat in war that promised Ireland will rise again stronger and better than before. ‘Young Ned Of The Hill’ is the kind of song that if written a few decades earlier, Padraig Pearse would have used to inspire people to join the rebellion.

‘Young Ned Of The Hill’ performed by The PoguestrA

Written by Ron Kavana and Terry Woods

Have you ever walked the lonesome hills and heard the curlews cry?
Or seen the raven black as night upon a windswept sky?
To walk the purple heather and hear the west wind cry
To know that’s where the rapparee must die
*
Since Cromwell pushed us westward to live our lowly lives
Some of us have deemed to fight from Tipperary mountains high
Noble men with wills of iron who are not afraid to die
And who’ll fight with Gaelic honour held on high
*
A curse upon you Oliver Cromwell, you who raped our Motherland
I hope you’re rotting down in hell for the horrors that you sent
To our misfortunate forefathers whom you robbed of their birthright
“To hell or Connaught” may you burn in hell tonight
*
Of one such man I’d like to speak a rapparee by name and deed
His family dispossessed and slaughtered they put a price upon his head
His name is known in song and story and his deeds are legends still
And murdered for blood money was young Ned of the hill
*
And you’ve robbed our homes and fortunes, even drove us from the land
You tried to break our spirit but you’ll never understand
The love of dear old Ireland that will forge an iron will
As long as there are gallant men like young Ned of the hill
*
A curse upon you Oliver Cromwell, you who raped our Motherland
I hope you’re rotting down in hell for the horrors that you sent
To our misfortunate forefathers whom you robbed of their birthright
“To hell or Connaught” may you burn in hell tonight
If you are interested in joining the PoguestrA for future songs then get in touch with the gang viaYouTube orFacebook

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