Roger O’Hehir

At the Eight Mile Bridge in the county Down
I had honest parents of fame and renown
Oh had I been obedient and kept the command
I never would have broken the laws of the land

Right follow the Dee

My parents endeavoured to give me honest bread
They bound me apprentice unto the linen trade
All to an honest weaver thet lived hard by
My heart was for rambling I could not comply

One beautiful creature, Jane Sharkey by name
I gained her affections and I was to blame
I own I enticed her and we ran away
My troubles began from the very same day

That beautiful creature I soon left forlorne
For fear of her parents I stepped up the Mourne
But her cruel father pursued me with spite
He made me his prisoner that very same night

It’s off to Newry guardhouse straight way I was sent
To whip me next morning it was their intent
When I heard of this, it put me in a fright
I broke Newry guardhouse the very same night

And the guards they pursued me the very next day
The guards I beguiled and I soon got away
I went down to the shore where a vessel it did lay
I set my foot on shipboard to England sailed away

And then when that I landed in sweet Holyhead
I had no honest means for to earn me my bread
And I was loathe to beg but alas I did worse
To make myself money I stole a grey horse

And it’s then when I landed once more on Irish ground
I soon began my tricks again near a fair in Newry town
For I stole a hat from one Thomas Right
He made me his prisoner that very same night

And it’s off to Newry guardhouse once more I was sent
To hang me next morning it was their intent
When I heard of this well it put me in a fright
I knocked down the turnkey and escaped the same night

And the guards they pursued me again the next day
The guards I soon beguiled and once more I got away
Said one unto the other “He’ll travel no more”
The very same night Newry Lough I swam o’er

And I rested myself for a day or two in moor
I went to rob a Bleachcream fair I never was before
But they were strong with guards and the Bleachcream within
Surrounded was poor Roger and taken was again

Now Roger was taken but often did get free
It’s come now to his turn for to march to the tree
And all his foolish actions he there did declare
And that put an end to old Roger O’Hehir


Irvine says: “Roger seems to have been quite famous as a highwayman in the early nineteenth century. However his crimes, as listed here, are pretty petty and he certainly doesn’t seem to have been very good at it.”

“Again we have to thank Sam Henry for this tale. Roger never amounted to much, we fear. He seems to have been best at breaking out of jail. As a petty criminal he was definitely a failure and he even seems fairly
relieved himself when faced with the gallows in the last verse”- Andy Irvine

“Roger O’Hehir” is a song from Sam Henry’s collection, Songs of the People, where it is listed as entry H486 under the title of “Eight Mile Bridge”.

Recorded by Planxty on “The Woman I Loved So Well” (1980)


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