Brennan On The Moor

The most popular Irish highwayman since the second half of the 19th century was William Brennan who is immortalized in the ballad "Brennan On The Moor". Not much is known about him except a lot of legends, but this song has survived.


Brennan On The Moor (WORD)
Brennan On The Moor (PDF)

The definitive and most influential version surely was the one by the Clancy Brothers who included it in  1961 on The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem (Tradition) and on their first Columbia LP A Spontaneous Performance Recording). Willie Brennan was a farm labourer who, having robbed a British army officer for a dare, had to flee to the Kilworth Mountains and the roads of North Cork and Southern Tipperary. Following his capture, he was tried at Clonmel, and hanged in the year 1804. Broadsheets were printed in Cork c.1850 and the song soon spread to England, Scotland and North America, where it became the basis for the song Charlie Quantrell (see Alan Lomax, The Folk Songs of North America. New York, 1960. p. 347). The ten-pence was a small musket popular with Irish patriots and which, as the name suggests, could once be purchased for ten-pence each.

****REVISED March 9, 2019 - SR****

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