This wonderful folk classic is about the highwayman, Willie Brennan, said to be from Kilworth just outside Fermoy in County Cork. Brennan robbed the rich and sometimes gave to the poor at the end of the 18th and start of the 19th centuries.
There are numerous theories about Willie Brennan and his exploits, but it appears that he was, for the most part, a force for good in colonial Ireland where the most of the population were mightily oppressed.
He was apprehended in Tipperary, allegedly by the deception of a wanton woman (the hussy!) and hanged at Clonmel in South Tipperary/North Waterford in and around 1809. He joins the likes of Dick Turpin, Ned Kelly, Robin Hood and Jack Duggan in the pantheon of the historical anti-hero. Not bad for a simple country boy from the Rebel County.