01 Jul 2022

This Kilkenny Life: Gerry Moran
The hill behind The Moon behind the Hill!
Of hills and home.

This Kilkenny Life: Gerry MoranThe hill behind The Moon behind the Hill!OrOf hills and home.

Gerry Moran

I put out a request recently in this column for information regarding Daly’s Hill and who was Daly after whom the hill is called; well, my sincere thanks to Seán Kerwick (formerly of this parish) for the following. ‘In 1775 a Dominican Friar by the name of Rev. John Meade came from Cork and became sub-tenant of the Black Abbey ruins (£4 per year). This was paid to a Laurence Daly who held on lease from the Tyntes of Wicklow. From this time the abbey was used for worship. On the Ballycallan/Kilmanagh Road on the outskirts of the city there is a place known as ‘Croker’s Hill’, on the right hand side as one leaves the city. This was the property of the Black Friars and alludes to a place of burial. Facing this land is ‘Daly’s Hill’ which was probably also in the possession of the Black Abbey at one time. So it can be assumed that the said ‘Laurence Daly’ gave his name to the said hill.’ Appreciate that, Seán, as it had many a person stumped, not least yours truly.

Well, one hill led to another so to speak and Seán and I swapped emails regarding the hill that features in Kilkenny’s REAL hurling anthem (my opinion only): The Moon behind the Hill. We both agreed that it wasn’t Daly’s Hill (a one-time colleague of Seán’s whom I won’t mention because I don’t know his name, and wouldn’t even if I did, thought it was Daly’s Hill) A friend of mine who loves to sing The Moon behind the Hill when the occasion arises believes it might be the hill leading up from the Lacken on to the Dublin Road. I myself thought it might be Brandon Hill down Graiguenamanagh way, however, seeing as how Seán Kerwick solved the Daly’s Hill mystery I’ll leave the last word to him in full confidence that he has also solved the mystery of the hill in The Moon behind the Hill.

"Gerry, It's not very often that I'm sure of anything but in this case I'm convinced the hill IS Slievenamon. William Keneally wrote the song while in Clonmel Jail and looking out the window of the prison, 'The Hill of the Women' or 'Slievenamon', would be the 'hill'; between where he was incarcerated and his adopted home Kilkenny!. 'Brandon Hill', the so-called 'Brown Mountain', 'Coppenagh' etc., or indeed 'Windgap Hill' which I think is the name of the hill on the Dublin Road, are all in the wrong direction because Keneally is looking out the prison bars in Clonmel towards Kilkenny. I do accept of course that 'The Moon behind the Hill' is the real Kilkenny Anthem -- although the lads down South of the county ie Mooncoin, Kilmacow, etc. would probably not agree for obvious reasons. May I say in jest that I'll gladly buy a pint for anyone who proves me wrong re 'Slievenamon'. Best regards -- Seán K."

‘Home sweet home’
Here are some home thoughts – damn good ones for sure – that I read on a greeting card recently: ‘Home is the nicest word there is. Home is where you can say anything you please because nobody pays any attention to you. Home is any four walls that enclose the right people. May your home always be too small to hold all of your friends.There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort. Home wasn’t built in a day. Home is people, not a place. If you go back there after the people are gone, then all you see is what is not there anymore. A house is made of bricks, a home is made of love and dreams. Home is the place we love best and grumble the most. Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to back to. Home is an invention on which no one has yet improved. A New Home is a place for memories to be made and dreams to come true. Home is where one starts from. It takes hands to build a house but only hearts can build a home. There’s nothing so pleasant as coming home again.’ Oh, and this, on another greeting card: ‘Don’t wait until you are on your deathbed to tell people how you feel. Tell them to F*** off NOW!’ And finally, some breaking news: Davy Fitzgerald expects to win the All Ireland, Wimbledon, the Rugby World Cup and Freedom for Catalonia after beating Kilkenny in the Leinster Final! And he just might, you know!

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