The Irish Folklore Centre

Providing a focus for the whole Irish folk tradition

Submitted by Tim Donohue

Rapparees or raparees (from the Irish ropairí, plural of ropaire, meaning half-pike or pike-wielding person) were Irish guerrilla fighters who operated on the Jacobite side during the 1690s Williamite war in Ireland. Subsequently, the name was also given to bandits and highwaymen in Ireland – many former guerrillas having turned to crime after the war ended.


There is an old folk song devoted to the subject of the Rapparee:

How green are the fields that washed the Finn

How grand are the houses the Peelers live in

How fresh are the crops in the valleys to see

But the heath is the home of the wild rapparee


Ah, way out on the moors where the wind shrieks and howls

Sure, he’ll find his lone home there amongst the wild foul

No one there to welcome, no comrade was he

Ah, God help the poor outlaw, the wild rapparee


He robbed many rich of their gold and their crown

He outrode the soldiers who hunted him down

Alas, he has boasted, They’ll never take me,

Not a swordsman will capture the wild rapparee


There’s a stone covered grave on the wild mountainside.

There’s a plain wooden cross on which this is inscribed:

Kneel down, dear stranger, say an Ave for me

I was sentenced to death being a wild rapparee


Sung by many

Author unknown


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