Okay, I have probably never used that phrase in my life. However, I have read it enough for it to seem familiar. Familiar--not necessarily precise. I have a feeling I've thought of a donnybrook as more of a rout or a disaster, when I'm getting the impression it means more of a free for all, or in American imagery, a brawl in a Wild West saloon.
I also think I've thought that Donnybrook must be the sight of some battle, kind of like Waterloo, which has also become metaphoric. For some reason, my mind always had it as from the times of chivalry, and if pressed, I'd say that the image is more along the lines of knights on their chargers battling by a not impossibly large stream. Maybe on a tapestry.
So I was somewhat surprised to learn, once again on a recently resumed discussion over at Peter Rozovsky's place ,that Donnybrook is actually one of the posher areas of Dublin. Is this just a coincidence? Or has there been a significant transformation from rowdier days of yore?
I've been to Dublin, by the way. Suffice to say I was not staying in one of more exclusive districts...
We will end with not one but two musical references. First a jig:
And of course, we cannot fail to include a drinking song: