Moon Behind the Hill, The

Play recording: Moon Behind the Hill, The

view / hide recording details [+/-]

  • Teideal (Title): Moon Behind the Hill, The.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 853914.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): 31735.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): Joe Heaney Collection, University of Washington, Seattle.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): English.
  • Catagóir (Category): song.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Joe Heaney.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): Lucy Simpson.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 02/06/1980.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York, United States of America.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): private.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): unavailable.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

I watched last night the rising moon upon the foreign strand
Til memory came, like flowers in June, of home and fatherland
I dreamt I was a child once more beside the rippling rill
When first I saw in days of yore the moon behind the hill.


‘The Moon Behind the Hill’ was composed by T. Brigham Bishop (1835-1905), an American composer of the Civil War era and later; the song was published in 1858.

Joe sang this stanza for Lucy to demonstrate the air, which he thought would work well with the text of O’Reilly the Fisherman. It seems likely that he would have known the remainder of the text, as this appears to have been a popular song among the Irish. Interestingly, the air Joe associated with ‘The Moon Behind the Hill’ is not the same as the one used by some other singers (whose performances can be heard on YouTube). Without having sight of Bishop’s sheet-music, it is impossible to say if the air Joe sings is the one Bishop composed or not.