IMA Source Catalog

Gathering all the sources for historical Irish martial culture in one place.

Faction Fighting Documentary

Here are links to a three part Irish Language documentary on Faction Fighting. I had my doubts at first but was pleasantly surprised. Highly recommended.

Na Chéad Fight Clubs (P1)

Na Chéad Fight Clubs (P2)

Na Chéad Fight Clubs (P3)

December 29, 2010 Posted by | as crime, Faction fight descriptions, Historical descriptions, other weapon, prowess, Stickfighting schools | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Political Cartoon Faction Fight 1846

Found by Maxime Chouinard

John Doyle 1846
Listed Personalities (left to right)
Herbert of Lea, Sidney Herbert, Baron, 1810-1861 #5914
Graham, James, Sir 1792-1861 #5740
Aberdeen, George Hamilton Gordon Earl of 1784-1860 #4221
Wellington, Arthur Wellesley Duke of 1769-1852 #696
Peel, Robert Sir 1788-1850 #589
Sheil, Richard Lalor 1791-1851 #5823
O’Connell, Daniel 1775-1847 #574
Russell, John Russell, Earl, 1792-1878 #5597
Palmerston, Henry John Temple 3rd Viscount 1784-1865 #5598
Grey, Charles Grey, Earl, 1764-1845 #5606
Bentinck, George, Lord 1802-1848 #5732
Disraeli, Benjamin Earl of Beaconsfield 1804-1881 #204
Embedded text
I’m for the fellow with the whiskers. – I’ll break a head or two before it’s all over. – Die game, Bob. – We must give in. There’s no standing against such odds

December 15, 2009 Posted by | Faction fight descriptions, grip, Historical descriptions, Old Newspaper clippings, Period illustration, political cartoons | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Battle of Banagher

From: Internet archives copy of

Rivalry between the rural parish of Lusmagh and the town of Banagher goes back centuries to the medieval territorial disputes between the McCoughlans of Offaly and the O’Maddens of County Galway. This rivalry probably intensified during the British occupation of Ireland, when there was an English garrison in Banagher. The sport of faction fighting which took hold of Ireland in the early19th century provided an outlet  for physical expression of this historic rivalry.On 4th of January, 1814, the Lusmagh men served notice of their intention of beating Banagher, i.e., a notice to the following effect (according to Patrick O’Donnell in the parish magazine, The Lusmagh Herb: The Annals of a Country Parish, 1982) was posted prominently in the town:

“We, the parishioners of Lusmagh give notice to the town of Banagher that we will go in on Thursday next and give them battle. Every man jack from 12 to 60 will turn out. We defy the best yeomen of Captain Armstrong. We will disarm them and take the town. Let ye rue the hour that we go in.”

On the day, (6th January), at least 500 Lusmagh men, armed with sticks and stones, marched on the town in columns. At 9 o’clock in the morning they came face to face with the Banagher men, drawn up in lines on the main street, and the battle was quickly joined. Yeomen, out of uniform, participated on the Banagher side.

Eventually, British soldiers, in their bright red uniforms, intervened and placed themselves between the two factions. However, the Lusmagh men broke through the military line and resumed the fight.

Captain Armstrong marched a detachment of the 12th regiment to the scene and ordered them to fire on the Lusmagh men. Three Lusmagh men were shot dead and 5 were wounded. The fighting stopped immediately, and the Banagher people joined the Lusmaghs in doing what they could for the casualties.

Thus, a good day’s sport of stick fighting and stone throwing ended in tragedy.

The actions of Armstrong and the soldiers was illegal, since troops were not permitted by law to fire on civilians without the Riot Act first being read, which was not done. However, in the enquiries that followed the incident, the culprits were white-washed, as was customary in relation to acts of the occupying forces in Ireland.

January 24, 2009 Posted by | Faction fight descriptions | , , | Leave a comment

Extract from Derry Journal 18th of August 1775


Extract from Derry Journal 18th of August 1775
Cloghanbeg. A patent has been granted for several fairs and monthly markets to be held annually for ever, in or at the town of Cloghanbeg, the fairs to be held on the first of February, 19th of May, 28th August and the 19th of November, and the monthly market to be held on the first Monday of every month. This grant was issued to Sir Robert Style and Colonel William Style and was customs free for the first seven years.
Peter Mulrine’s Lorry in Brockagh Village, some 70 years ago. 
P.Mulrine & Sons, Ballybofey, is still going strong .

The fair was transferred to Cloghanbeg in 1874. As happened at Dungloe, where the fair brought the name Dungloe from the old site into An Clochan Liath.

Our fair, which was formerly held in the Coyle area of Brockagh townland, brought the name Brockagh with it to the new site, the village which is now in the townland of Cloghanbeg.

The fair was held in the cow market, which was always owned by the occupier of Glenmore Castle, also in the townland of Cloghanmore.

The monthly fair was held on the 19th, except the August fair, which was on the 25th. Some dealers used to come on August 19th by mistake. Many years ago the fair was policed by Big Boyce. Whenever he found two men fighting, he quelled the disturbance by catching one in each hand and throwing them over the hedge into the adjoining field.

A man in the Croaghs had a stick fighting school, where young men came and stayed in his home for a number of days, preparing themselves for faction fights in Brockagh fair and elsewhere.

Did You Know?
Brockagh is derived from the Gaelige, Brocach, meaning Badger-field, and Cloghan (Clochan) – meaning Stony place.

Drovers walked long distances to drive cattle from the fair. Such as Langan and Scott reached Brockagh shortly after nine o’clock, having walked from Letterkenny via Cark (where the windfarms are now situated). A man named Kelly from Killygordon played the fiddle at the fair and sang ballads and then sold the ballad sheets through the fair.

Peter Harte offered three shots a penny to knock down Dolly by kicking a tied football. There was a prize for the one who was able to do so. When the young lads annoyed him with unofficial kicks, he used to say “Oh now, give the oul man a chance.”

People with ‘standings’ (stalls) selling apples, dulse etc. included Mrs. Lynch and Roddy Mulholland. McCormacks, Devenneys and other houses provided meals.

Dealers in stock who came there to buy included Nee, Strain, Begley, King, McDonnell, Carson and Lafferty. Men who had been drinking at the fair used to come to Brockagh the day after – for a cure. That day was known as ‘The Oul Fair day’. There were stalls of second hand clothes – men such as Hanlon had patter to draw the crowd. Then there was McCallig from Mayo who dealt mainly in delph.

January 24, 2009 Posted by | Old Newspaper clippings, Stickfighting schools | , , , , | Leave a comment