Reynard the Fox

On the first day of March in the year of ninety-three
The first recreation was in this country
The King’s County gentlemen o’er hills, dales and rocks
They rode so joyfuly in search of a fox

Tally-ho, hark away, tally-ho hark away
Tally-ho, hark away me boys away, hark away

When Reynard was started he faced Tullamore
And Arklow and Wicklow along the sea shore
We kept his brush in view every yard of the way
And it’s straight he made his course for the street of Rosstrade

For Reynard, sly Reynard lay hid there that night
And we swore we would watch him until the daylight
Next morning early the hills did resound
Of the sweet smell of horses and the sweet cry of hounds

When Reynard was started he faced to the hollow
Where none but the footmen and hounds they could follow
The gentlemen cried “Watch him, watch him, what will he do?
If the rocks do not stop him he will cross Killaloe”

When Reynard was captured his wishes to fulfill
He sent for pen and paper and ink to write his will
And what he made mention of, we found it no thank
For he gave us a cheque on the National Bank.

“Oh to you, Mr Casey, I leave my whole estate
And to you, Mr Johnson, my money and my plate
I give to you, Sir Monaghan, my whips, spurs and cap
For you jumped hedge and ditches and ne’er looked for a gap.”


Andy Irvine recorded the traditional Irish song “Reynard The Fox” with Sweeney’s Men on their 1968 debut album Sweeney’s Men.

“Reynard The Fox”, an Irish traditional song which commemorates a fox chase that took place in 1793.

Reynard the Fox is the name of a number of traditional folk songs (Roud 190, 358 and 1868). None of these seem to be the source for Andy’s version of the song.



  1. I know this song from “The Abbey Tavern Singers” record, that my father brought home in the late sixties after a visit to Ireland.
    In that version Reynard “hid in a tree that night”, which at the time seemed to me the smartest thing a fox can do!


    1. I heard it first on the Sweenees men record, from the 60, where Andy wasplaying the mandoline already. Recently i heard it again on the Irish radio but broacast live. i am still not sure how to play this tune, but I noticed that it t ‘s in the typical MR Irvine style: mixing strings soli and chords, counterpoints I believe. It seems to be in D, but I would not certify this.


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