During the 19th century the village of Cappawhite, county Tipperary was infamous for faction fighting - a public form of settling grudges among the poorer classes.

Cappawhite also has the distinction of being the village where the last recorded faction fight took place in Ireland in 1887. This piece of Tipperary history has now been turned into a theatrical show which is being performed throughout Ireland and in the USA.

Cathy Halloran travels to the Tipperary town to find out more about the historic re-enactments.

Lurking within its streets is the rumblings of what can only be described as an historical version of gang warfare.

From past conflicts has emerged a modern day theatre group and festival with re-enactment performed on the streets of the small time. According to Liam Armshaw, Chairman of the Cappawhite Faction Fighters, 

They took particular pride in the way they were able to fight - it would be something akin to the swordsmanship of today or the fencing of today

Paul Grisewood of the Tipperary Heritage Centre, describes the prevalence of faction fighting in Munster saying, 

They just fought for the shear love of it

The violence was almost ignored by the police allowing those involved to fight amongst themselves. However, the clergy described this kind of fighting as "the devil's work" encouraging those involved to put an end to the brawls.

The judgement following the last recorded faction fight in 1887 was that

The fair of Cappawhite was no place for a man with a thin skull

The Cappawhite Street Theatre Group has taken the story of faction fighting all over Ireland and the US. The success of the performance has been a money spinner for the village and has united the people of Cappawhite like never before. 

Two of the leading men in the re-enactment, local GP Philip Dunne and village butcher Liam Tracey, tell Cathy Halloran about the art of trying not to kill each other. 

This report by Cathy Halloran for 'Nationwide' was introduced by Michael Ryan and was broadcast on 29 April 1996.