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KILL - Hunting Song of Bishopscourt

Leinster Leader: 09/04/1960


Hunting Song of Bishopscourt


Bishopscourt boasted a fine private hunting establishment in 1792, one of several which were forerunners of organised hunting on a major scale. An old hunting song confirms the tradition of the Bishopscourt pack. It was written out from memory by Mrs. Ellen Murray, Templemills, Celbridge, for a publication in 1913.


You Irish Gentlemen I pray draw near

And listen to what I do declare;

If you be fond to hunt the fox

To Bishopscourt I pray repair.


Last New Year’s Day I chanced to stray

Abroad to take the pleasant air

I heard a cry which raised my heart;

Straightaway to them I did repair.


There I espied a numerous train

Of educated gentlemen

If you’re not of extraction great

You won’t be let to hunt with them.


Mr. Ponsonby he was there

And well prepared he was to go,

He was mounted on a gallant horse

Which went by the name of brave Stingo.


To Elvestown they all trained down

Into the covert where he lay;

Such a hunt in your life you ne’er did see

Nor heard tell of this many a day.


Our staunch metal hounds, they fear no bounds.

They followed him through thick and thin,

And through trick, herey, haggart, corn

And they rolled him over on Blakestown Hill.


The fox being stout he wheeled about

Unto Lord Miltown’s waterfall.

The river Liffey there he crossed,

Says he to himself: "I’ll shun you all."


Mr. Ponsonby being the first man up,

It’s after him he did leap in;

He sunk to the bottom deep,

And for his life he was forced to swim.


Each man and horse was at a stand

To see him plunging in the deep,

But Stingo brave that ne’er gave up,

It’s o’er the hole with him did sweep.


The standers by aloud did cry

For fear he ne’er would chase no more,

But by lucky chance he reached the bank,

And his flesh and clothes by the rocks were tore.


Through Monniemuck his course he took

Through Ballintubber ground and o’er

He swam the lake and off did take

Off to the cross of Ballymore.


They spent that day in merry heart

And killed the fox which crowned the sport,

And returned that night by moon so bright

To the sporting place called Bishopscourt.


The Mr. Ponsonby mentioned in the song was the Right. Hon. W. B. Ponsonby, who kept the pack.

A hunting song of the Kildare Hunt from the Leinster Leader 9/4/1960.

[Compiled by Mario Corrigan; typed and edited by Niamh Mc Cabe; final edit Dee O' Brien ]

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