Faction fights, history

Mapping the history of faction fights

By Maxime Chouinard

For a little while now, I have slowly been building a map of all the documented Irish faction fights in Ireland and abroad and I thought I would share the preliminary results. I am only including fights were sticks were used, or at least were very likely to be present, as well as documented. For that reason, you will see that I include the source in each mention.

It is still very early to be making many observations from that exercise, but a few things come up. Firstly, the often cited story of the last faction fight happening in 1887 in Cappawhite is clearly disproven. Many faction fights are reported after that date, even going into the 20th century. You can even find many articles in that list naively pretending to report on the last occurrence of a faction fight, even well into the 1830s.

There is definitely a concentration of faction fights around Tipperary and Limerick in the 19th century, which is a fairly well known fact. For the 18th century, it becomes a bit more laborious to find sources, namely because the term « faction fight » was not yet a popular one, and also because such events were so common all across Europe that they were probably considered too trivial to report on. For the later era, it becomes slightly difficult as the term « riot » starts to be used more and more, making it more difficult to know exactly what is being described, especially outside of Ireland where the practice was not necessarily as « standardized », so to speak.

There are still hundreds, if not thousands of events to be added to this list. If you find any worthy of mention, please let me know and if you can send me the source of the mention and if it fits I will make sure to include it and credit you as well.

To access the map, simply click here