“The Shambles Fight”


St Patrick's day 3000 Ribbonmen march in Downpatrick with muskets. Their flags are pulled down in the Shambles. They run from Protestant guns. "The Police done their best the poor rebels to save, As the Protestant strength roll'd on like a wave"


Zimmermann p. 19: "In some parts of Ulster, Protestant and Catholic tenants were mingled and contended for the land; the peasantry was thus divided into two camps, each having its oath-bound association. This led to a sort of religious war. At the end of the eighteenth century the Catholic "Defenders" were opposed to the Protestant "Peep o'Day Boys" or "Orangemen." The "Defenders were succeeded by the "Ribbonmen, (song [Zimmermann] 39). In parts of counties Tyrone and Monaghan, according to Carleton [p. 19 fn. 14: W. Carleton's _Autobiography_, p. 83], the whole Catholic population was affiliated to Ribbonism, and it would have been dangerous to avoid being involved in the system." Zimmermann 34, "Owen Rooney's Lamentation": "My prosecutor swore so stout I was the man he saw, That encouraged all the Ribbonmen that came from Lisbellaw."

OrangeLark: "As their outrages were recognisably sectarian, the name came to be used as a blanket term for those who attacked Protestants."

"Situated at the junction which leads to Downpatrick Head, the Shambles is one of Ballycastle's oldest landmarks... It was erected between 1830's-1840's as a Co-Op for the buying of local farm produce." (source: "The Shambles" at Ballycastle Co. Mayo site) - BS

Historical references

  • Mar 17, 1848 - "St Patrick's Day parades at Ballynahinch, Downpatrick and Hilltown ended in riots...." (source: Neil Jarman and Dominic Bryan, _From Riots to Rights; Nationalist Parades in the North of Ireland_ (1997), p. 11)

Cross references

  • cf. "Croppies Lie Down" (tune, according to OrangeLark)


  1. OrangeLark 12, "The Shambles Fight" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, OrLa012


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1987 (OrangeLark)