sung by Stewart Hendrickson
Celtic Crossroads - Ned of the Hill

Oh dark is the evening and silent the hour
Oh who is that minstrel by yon shady tower
Whose harp is so tenderly touching with skill
Oh who could it be but young Ned of the Hill
And he sings, "Lady love, will you come with me now
Come and live merrily under the bough
I'll pillow your head where the light fairies tread
If you will but wed with young Ned of the Hill"

Young Ned of the Hill has no castle or hall
No bowmen or spearmen to come at his call
But one little archer of exquisite skill
Has loosed a bright shaft for young Ned of the Hill
It is hard to escape to this young lady's bower
For high is the castle and guarded the tower
But where there's a will there's always a way
And young Eileen is gone with young Ned of the Hill

Edmund Ryan of the Hill was an Irish earl displaced by Cromwell after the Battle of the Boyne who stayed in Ireland to fight the British. Here he sheltered with his old girlfriend. Later a neighbor killed him while giving him "shelter" for the reward money, only to find that the reward had just been withdrawn after Edmund had done an Englishman a service.
The original Ned was Eamonn O Riain (Edmund or Edward Ryan) from County Tipperary (1670-1724). He became an outlaw after shooting a tax collector dead during a quarrel over the confiscation of a poor woman's cow. He was murdered for "blood money", £200. He was a poet and wrote these lines: I am long outside in snow and frost, never daring to approach my home, my horse team still tied, my fallow field unsown, I no longer have them all, nor friends alas to harbour me, I have no kindred and must go over the sea.

Some notes on the ballad and "the earliest [version] yet discovered, taken from a manuscript of the year 1726, of which a variant was printed by Bartlett Cooke in 1794" (from