Album version 3:45 Instrumental 1991

Liner notes

Two tiny new moons had been discovered. Shepherd Moons orbiting a ring of Saturn. Numbered, not named. Working ceaselessly, it seemed, to keep the particles of the ring together, much as a shepherd would guide his flock. Protectors both, 1980S26 and 1980S27 – either side of the F rings. Voyager had performed like a dream and sent their pictures to Earth. I marvelled at their diligence, a new mystery, poignant and beautiful. An unspoken glory to the rings of Saturn. The world had not known but all the time they were there, working tirelessly. Everyone had appreciated the spectacular beauty of Saturn, but where would the planet be without those precious, mis-shapen, miniature moons?

notes by Roma Ryan
Shepherd Moons music book, 1991

Quotes about the song

“Shepherd Moons” came from the small satellite moons that had then been discovered around Saturn, shepherding the rings, keeping the rings in place. At that time, they were only numbered, 1980S26 and 1980S27. Now, they have been named Epimetheus and Pandora. And more “shepherd moons” have since been discovered. notes by Roma Ryan
Roma’s book @, 2005

Enya: "Shepherd Moons is the name Roma gave to us for an instrumental. It’s the first song on the album and when she heard the piece of music, she said to me “Shepherd Moons!” and I said “That’s beautiful, what are the Shepherd Moons?” She said to me it’s Saturn, there are rings around Saturn and in the last two rings, there are two small moons that circle the rings and they are the Shepherd Moons. I was interested in this title because it says it’s circling something and then the romance of the moon, and when it came to entitling the album we knew that we would use Shepherd Moons."
Cursaí TV Interview, RTE, 1991