A Battle Cry

Artefact
Detail of the Regiment's Battle Cry on the Regimental Colour

Faugh a Ballagh, a corruption of the Irish (Gaeilge), 'Fág an Bealach' meaning 'Clear the Road', is first recorded as being shouted by the men of the 2nd Battalion of the 87th Regiment, later The Royal Irish Fusiliers, as they charged the French at the Battle of Barrosa on 5 March 1811. After this great victory, the Regiment became known as 'the Aigle*-Catchers' and the 'Faugh–a-Ballaghs'. The latter soon became the official battle cry or motto of the Regiment and is today emblazoned on the Regimental Colours of The Royal Irish Regiment. The military historian Napier wrote in his history of this period:

nothing so startled the French soldiery as the wild yell with which the Irish regiments sparang to the charge

Charles Gavan Duffy (1816-1903), the Irish-Australian part-poet, also in a footnote to his poem 'Fág an Bealach' states that the clans of Connacht and Munster used it:

in faction fights to come through a fair with high hearts and smashing shillelahs.

For further reading on the origins of the Green Hackle and the Motto please click on Faugh a Ballagh.

*
The French word, 'l'aigle' translates into English as 'the eagle'.