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Local Songs

The Famous Faha Sports

Fahanlunaghta Mór and Fahanlunaghta Beg lie to the east between Miltown Malbay and Lahinch and were the scene of a popular sports day which seems to have fizzled out during the Second World War. The song given below is the version of ‘The Famous Faha Sports’ which Tim Dennehy sings on his cassette ‘A Thimbleful of Song’. The authorship is attributed to the ubiquitous Miko Guthrie with extra verses added by Breandán Higgins of Lahinch.

There is a joyous vulgarity in the song which reminds one of the paintings of Breugel or Hogarth and some of the images captured by Miko show touches of deftness with his pen almost comparable to theirs with the brush. The air to which it is sung is a version of ‘An Staicín Eórnan’ or ‘Kerry Long Ago’.

fialtach = a wild-looking person

Oh, come all ye loyal heroes out of Moy or Cloneyogan,
Out of Lahinch or Liscannor or from any other port.
Give ear unto my ditty and I hope you’ll find it pretty,
Concerning the great day we had at the famous Faha Sports.

Oh, the weather it was glorious, the day dawned bright and beautiful,
And a mighty crowd assembled, they came from far and near.
There were bottle stalls and sweet stalls, men with fiddles and melodeons,
And they playing grand old music ’t would delight your heart to hear.

There were athletes in abundance, runners, jumpers and big weight throwers,
Oh, the finest set of athletes that you could wish to see.
For to see the bulging muscles of the mighty tug-o-war men,
As they dug their heels into the sward and strove for victory.

Mary Cunnane from Ennistymon had a stall piled high with candy,
And she wore a strapless tea-coat that left her breasts exposed.
Old Batt Sexton when buying oranges went feeling them for ripeness.
But she misjudged his accent and she fairly broke his nose.

There was a girl there from Kilshanny and they said she’d equal any,
For a-shouting, roaring, fighting, or a-tearing of all sorts,
Till some hoor came up from Cree and he caught her by the knee,
Just to roll her in a meadow at the famous Faha Sports.

Some big fialtach from Kilfenora with his belly full of porter,
He fell against the big marquee and he rattled the supports.
There were cries of consternation and great songs of jubilation,
And no heed of him was taken at the famous Faha Sports.

Another fialtach from Mount Callan brought poor Mary Carty dancing,
And they danced some might fancy steps when they both were ‘maith go leor’
Ah, but with all the double wheeling, sure poor Mary’s head went reeling,
And the floor was specially treated, before the set was o’er.

Oh, the pace was fast and furious with many a man delirious,
There were long jumps, high jumps, weight throwing and races of all sorts.
Then we drank our fill of porter and when the day was over,
We staggered home quite happy from the famous Faha Sports.

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Tadhg O hEaghráin