In seventeen hundred and forty-four,
The fifth of December, I think ’twas no more,
At five in the morning, by most of the clocks,
We rode from Kilruddery in search of a fox.
The Loughlinstown landlord, the brave Owen Bray,
And Johnny Adair, too, were with us that day;
Joe Debil, Hal Preston, those huntsmen so stout
Dick Holmes, some few others, and so we set out.
We cast off our hounds for an hour or more,
When Wanton set up a most tuneable roar;
‘Hark, Wanton,’ cried Joe, and the rest were not slack;
For Wanton’s no trifler esteemed by the pack;
Old Bounty and Collier came readily in,
And every hound joined in the musical din:
Had Diana been there, she’d been pleased to the life,
And one of the lads got a goddess to wife.
Ten minutes past nine was the time of the day
When Reynard broke cover, and this was his way –
As strong from Killegar, as if he could fear none,
Away he brush’d round by the house of Kilternan,
To Carrickmines thence, and to Cherrywood then,
Steep Shankhill he climbed, and to Ballyman glen,
Bray Common he crossed, leap’d Lord Anglesey’s wall,
And seemed to say, ‘Little I care for you all.’
He ran Bushes Grove up to Carbury Byrnes –
Joe Debil, Hal Preston, kept leading by turns;
The earth it was open, yet he was so stout,
Tho’ he might have got in, still he chose to keep out;
To Malpas high hills was the way that he knew,
At Dalkey’s stone common we had him in view;
He drove on to Bullock, he slunk Glenageary,
And so on to Monkstown, where Larry grew weary.
Thro’ Rochestown wood like an arrow he passed,
And came to the steep hills of Dalkey at last;
There gallantly plunged himself into the sea,
And said in his heart, ‘None can now follow me.’
But soon, to his cost, he perceived that no bounds
Could stop the pursuit of the staunch-mettled hounds.
His policy here did not serve him a rush,
Five couple of Tartars were hard at his brush.
To recover the shore then again was his chift;
But ere he could reach to the cop of the clift,
He found both of speed and of daring a lack,
Being waylaid and killed by the rest of the pack.
At his death there were present the lads I have sung,
Save Larry, who, riding a garron, was Flung:
Thus ended at length a most delicate chase,
That held us five hours and ten minutes’ space.
The Kilruddery Hunt was jointly written by actor Thomas Mozeen (1720 – 1768) and Owen Bray, of Loughlinstown, County Dublin, who set it to the old Irish tune of “Sighile ni Ghadharadh,” or Celia O’Gara. It was published in a volume called The Lyric Pacquet by Mozeen, in 1764, and soon became enormously popular. The ballad was a prime favourite with Theobald Wolfe Tone, who in a letter dated 25th April 1797, quoted a line of it: “Set out from Cologne ‘at five in the morning by most of the clocks,‘ on my way,” etc.