An armed peasant who lives in the woods and is a predecessor to the North American "hillbilly." The "woodkernes" of Ireland were noted for being savage butchers given to ceaseless feuding and moonshining.
The conquering British referred to the Celtic rebels of Ireland as woodkernes. The word "woodkerne" was synonymous with "lightly armed peasant." So "woodkerne," means an armed peasant who lived in the woods of Ireland.
by O J Dilworth June 05, 2007