taken from 'NORTH COUNTRY SPORTS AND PASTIMES' published in 1893

Irish Wrestling


The "collar and elbow" is the national style of wrestling in Ireland that is, to take hold of an opponent's collar with one hand, and his elbow with the other. The fall is won if an opponent touches the ground with his hand, knee, back, or side, as in the Cumberland and Westmorland style.

A wrestling match was witnessed in Phoenix Park , Dublin , in the autumn of 1876, which may serve to illustrate to some extent the manner of proceeding. A ring was formed, around which seven or eight thousand people gathered, and two coats laid in the centre of the ring. Presently a wrestler enters, and dons one of the coats, which was a challenge for any man to take up the other coat. Another wrestler shortly after enters, and then, when due preliminaries are gone through, the tussle commenced in earnest. But how it proceeded, or how it ended whether the struggle was an arduous one, or the victory an easy one our informant could not tell.

At the termination of the Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling held at the British Lion, Redcross Street, London, on August 2ist, 1844, one Kelly, an Irishman, challenged any native bf either of the above counties, to wrestle for a sovereign, in the collar and elbow style, the gainer of the first three falls, out of five, to be the winner. This offer was accepted by Edward Stainton, a native of Westmorland. And after three-quarters of an hour's good play, Stainton had floored his man three times in succession. Kelly was second in the leaping match at the same sports.

[NOTE. We regret exceedingly the great paucity of our information on the subject of Irish Wrestling. Enquiries were made in many and various ways, without success. Any information respecting two or three of the representative wrestlers of the Green Isle, addressed to the local publishers, will be very acceptable.]