This article takes the fair of Kilgobnet, Dungarvan, County Waterford as a starting point for a discussion of some aspects of vernacular religion and popular culture in Ireland in general. It discusses the figure of Saint Gobnait and the cults associated with her in a few locations from Kerry to Cork. The patron or 'pattern' is viewed as a stage for a complex range of expressions and behaviour from the intimate and personal to the national and nationalist. The article looks at the socalled 'faction' fights as part of the ritual and rivalry of nineteenth-century culture, the Caravats and Shanvests are discussed in this context. Finally it discusses the role of the hegemonic clergy in controlling the dissent and violence using the evidence of the popular song 'An Carabhat'.