Brennan On The Moor lyrics

by The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem

It's of a brave young highwayman
This story we will tell
His name was Willie Brennan
And in Ireland he did dwell
Was on the Kilwood Mountain
He commenced his wild career
And many a wealthy nobleman
Before him shook with fear

And it's Brennan on the moor
Brennan on the moor
Bold, brave and undaunted
Was young Brennan on the moor

One day upon the highway
As Willie he went down
He met the mayor of Cashiell
A mile outside of town
The mayor he knew his features
And he said, Young man, says he
Your name is Willie Brennan
You must come along with me

And it's Brennan on the moor
Brennan on the moor
Bold, brave and undaunted
Was young Brennan on the moor

Now Brennan's wife had gone to town
Provisions for to buy
And when she saw her Willie
She commenced to weep and cry
Said, Hand to me that tenpenny
As soon as Willie spoke
She handed him a blunderbuss
From underneath her cloak

Ah young Brennan on the moor
Brennan on the moor
Bold, brave and undaunted
Was young Brennan on the moor

Now with this loaded blunderbuss
The truth I will unfold
He made the mayor to tremble
And he robbed him of his gold
One hundred pounds was offered
For his apprehension there
So he, with horse and saddle
To the mountains did repair

Did young Brennan on the moor
Brennan on the moor
Bold, brave and undaunted
Was young Brennan on the moor

Now Brennan being an outlaw
Upon the mountains high
With cavalry and infantry
To take him they did try
He laughed at them with scorn
Until at last 'twas said
By a false hearted woman
He was cruelly betrayed

Was young Brennan on the moor
Brennan on the moor
Bold, brave and undaunted
Was young Brennan on the moor

They took Brennan to the crossroads,
And there they hung and died
But still they say that in the night,
That some do see him ride
They see him with his blunderbuss,
All in the midnight chill
Along, along the King's highway
Rides Willie Brennan still!

And it's Brennan on the moor
Brennan on the moor
Bold, brave and undaunted
Was young Brennan on the moor

Song Details

Author: unknown

Historical Reference: In 1804 there was a highwayman called William Brennan who worked in County Cork and was hanged.

Date: The earliest date it appeared in a broadside was before 1862.

Brief: The story of an Irishman, Willie Brennan, who becomes a highwayman around the hills of County Cork. He was like the Robin Hood of Ireland - stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. One day he went into town for some provisions and was recognized and captured by the local mayor. His wife seeing this created a distraction, handing Willie a blunderbuss she had hidden under her cloak. With musket in hand, he held up the mayor stealing his gold and escaping to the mountains. Through many escapades, the cavalry and infantry tried to take him but eventually he was betrayed by a woman - he was captured and hanged.

Note: a blunderbuss is a short musket of wide bore and flaring muzzle, formerly used to scatter a shot at close range.

Category: Irish Folk Song

Recording Artists: Tommy Makem, Burl Ives, Phillip James, Danny Quinn, Neil Morris, The Marshmen, United Irishmen.

Logo Brennan On The Moor is featured on the album The Clancy Brothers And Tommy Makem (November 17, 2009).

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