Haka Lámh, Lámh Eile

by Kieran Healy on September 12, 2011

The Rugby World Cup got under way last weekend, with no big surprises so far—although Wales were very unlucky against South Africa. Ireland sputtered along against the U.S., clearly in need of something to get them focused. So with that in mind—and in the hope that they can do it the next time they face New Zealand—I suggest they adopt this excellent haka. Some rudimentary knowledge of Irish is required for the full effect.



P O'Neill 09.12.11 at 12:22 pm

Interesting choice of NBC yesterday to put the tape-delayed Ireland-USA match up against the NFL — a chance to compare and contrast the two oval-balled games. Hopefully they picked up a few viewers from the Baltimore-Pittsburgh blowout.


Chris Bertram 09.12.11 at 12:29 pm

_the two oval-balled games_

Well there is another one as well.


Chris Bertram 09.12.11 at 12:32 pm

I was sure that Hook penalty had swung back in and had to replay the moment several times.

I think there’s a case for saying that Argentina were pretty unlucky against England too, and Romania proved tougher than Scotland were expecting.

My money at the bookies is on either Wales or Ireland not getting past the group stages. Not looking so good now, but the value was there.


John M. 09.12.11 at 12:55 pm

Still not convinced that the Hook penalty was wide. England were awful but the Irish game was just embarrassing. It was like they were deliberately trying not to score. I shall have to work up the required psychic strength to watch us against Australia.

Is your bet Ireland or Wales? The Welsh were very good but the Irish…based on the four warm up games and whatever yesterday was, I would not count on Italy losing, in which case you’re safe.


Chris Bertram 09.12.11 at 1:03 pm

I had 2 bets – 1 on Ireland the other on Wales – not to get out of the groups. The Welsh were very good, but can they sustain that against Samoa and Fiji?


alph 09.12.11 at 1:24 pm

I was disappointed to see that you misspelled “World”, because I hoped, before clicking the link, that there really was a “Rugby Word [sic] Cup”.

Surely if there is one, the land of Synge, Keats, and Joyce will triumph.


Kieran Healy 09.12.11 at 1:46 pm



ajay 09.12.11 at 3:26 pm

the two oval-balled games
Well there is another one as well.

Two others: Rugby League and Australian football.


P O'Neill 09.12.11 at 4:48 pm

As for the video itself, it promises a bright future of a small but noticeable number of Irish sports fans abroad — much like the past — thinking their behaviour is hilarious while nervous and bewildered locals look on at the antics.


Enda H 09.12.11 at 5:15 pm

Speaking of rudimentary knowledge of Irish, last week I watched the All-Ireland Hurling Final with my American housemate. I recounted how we were all taught in school how to make an All-Ireland acceptance speech, just in case the honour would fall upon a Kildare man. About a minute into Brian Hogan’s acceptance speech, my housemate asked if he was speaking Irish.

Unfortunately I had to reply “No, that’s English…”


eilis 09.12.11 at 7:16 pm

hehe “tá an áthas orm an corn seo a ghlacadh” – fab …


Vasi 09.12.11 at 7:58 pm

Ajay, don’t forget Canadian football!


spyder 09.12.11 at 8:25 pm

Haka without tattoos? Nay, i say. Nay!


roac 09.12.11 at 9:11 pm

Sauntering through the corridors of wikipedia, I learned that Joyce put a haka in Finnegan’s Wake

Let us propel us for the frey of the fray! Us, us, beraddy!
Ko Niutirenis hauru leish! A lala!
Ko Niutirenis haururu laleish! Ala lala!
The Wullingthund sturm is breaking.
The sound of maormaoring
The Wellingthund sturm waxes fuercilier

I did not know this, nor would I ever have found out but for this post.


Conrad 09.13.11 at 1:13 am

Just to complete the circle back to rugby, it seems likely that Joyce heard the haka being performed by the All Blacks in Paris against France in 1925. The team was not using the now familiar Ka Mate haka but one specially commissioned for their tour. You can read Richard Corballis’ interesting note on the provenance of Joyce’s haka (which includes the original words and a translation) here: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/james_joyce_quarterly/v044/44.1corballis.html


Joshua Holmes 09.13.11 at 1:44 am

Ajay, don’t forget Canadian football!

Or Arena football! On second thought, go ahead and forget that one.


William Timberman 09.13.11 at 3:45 am

The NFL plays with an oval ball? Well, sort of, I guess, but it’s a very pointy oval. American footballs haven’t looked liked Rugby or Aussie-rules footballs since the introduction of the forward pass gradually revealed the the aerodynamic advantage of the pointed shape.

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