The definition of 'donnybrook', from a local source:
"A 'donnybrook' is sometimes used to describe a general melee or row particularly in 'stage oirish' situations. The scenario seems to be that we all go around wearing funny hats and red beards shouting 'Shure' and 'Begorrah' while we beat one another with small blackthorn sticks." -The Clare Champion, 2010The term comes from the Donnybrook Fair, held in the Donnybrook (Domhnach Broc) section of Dublin from 1204 AD until the 1850s, when it was banned. Originally begun as a fair for merchants and artists, by the 1800s the fair became notorious for its drunken carousing and, above all, its fighting.
Medieval fairs (the source of our modern day Renaissance Fairs) were started by the Normans as a way of promoting trade, and were a good source of funds for the church. Merchants and musicians would gather to hawk their wares, and all would have to pay fees to the holder of the fair charter, which was originally granted by King John of England and passed from hand to hand for centuries after. By the 1700s, the focus of the fair was less on trade and much more on entertainment and drinking. Dublin had expanded, and its suburbs were also encroaching on the traditional fair grounds, which had originally been outside of the city walls. A campaign was got up by the locals, the charter bought out and the fair closed down.
Links and Sources
|if Monet painted drunken fistfights|
Family and Community in Ireland, Clare Local Studies Project
Donnybrook Fair, Wikipedia
Donnybrook, World Wide Words
Oh, Donnybrook..., Clare Champion
The Irish Family..., Fairfield University