Green’s Dictionary of Slang

Bannagher n.

In phrases

beat Bannagher (v.) (also beat Banaghan, ...Banagher, ...Banaher, ...Bannigan, bang Banagher, ...Bannager, ...Bannaghar, ...Bannagher, ...wattle gum) [? name of a real story-teller who is surpassed by the current talker; f. the town of Banagher, a notorious ‘rotten borough’. To ‘beat it’ would be to surpass any extreme]

(orig. Irish) to surpass, to tell fabulous, fantastic tales; often with addition and Banagher beat the Devil.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Banaghan, he beats Banaghan, an Irish saying of one who tells wonderful stories, perhaps Banaghan was a minister famous for dealing in the marvellous.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[Ire]W. Carleton ‘The Three Tasks’ Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry I 50: ‘O, by this and by that,’ says he, ‘but that bates Banagher!’.
[Ire]S. Lover Legends and Stories 159: By gor, that bangs Banagher, and all the world knows Banagher bangs the divil.
[Ire]Tralee Mercury 6 Jan. 2/2: Mock-modesty’s not your fault, I see; / For this bangs Bannagher; that bangs me.
[US]N.Y. Daily Express 10 Jan. 2/4: [He] refused [to be quiet] and threatened to ‘bang Bannager’ out of him if he didn’t take himself off.
[Ire] ‘A Letter [...] From Peter Strongbow etc.’ Dublin Comic Songster 309: There is no use in talkin,’ Paddy – the waves bet Banaher, aye, an’ bet our unfortunate ship to baby rags.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 14 Nov. 3/2: The neighbourhoods of Ultimo, Waverly, and Pyrmont, bang Banagher far being inhabited by a number of persons, male and female, about the most quarrelsome in the world.
[UK]R.F. Walond Paddiana I 251: That bangs Banagher!
[Aus]Northern Star 5 Aug. 12/6: Experienced as he is in ‘the ways of the world,’ it must even, in his eyes, ‘beat Bannagher’.
[Ire]D.O. Madden Revelations of Ireland 115: The like of you a gintleman! Wisha, by gor, that bangs Banagher.
[UK]Manchester Courier 20 Sept. 7/2: They will [...] afterwards protest that they beat Bannagher.
[US]T. Haliburton Nature and Human Nature II 226: There would be a hurrah at that, as O’Connell used to say, that would bang Banagher.
[UK]Bristol Mercury 20 Dec. 6/2: Wisha, by gore, that bangs Banagher.
[UK]H. Kingsley Hillyars and Burtons (1870) 313: ‘Well! if this don’t bang wattle gum,’ began Gerty.
[UK]Sportsman (London) 12 Feb. 4/1: The devotion of a limb, and moreover of such a valuable portion of that of the epidermis ‘bangs Bannagher’.
Western Mail (S. Glamorgan, Wales) 29 Oct. 3/6: They bates Bannagher, Mick, an’ shure Bannagher bate the devil.
[Ire]C.J. Kickham Knocknagow 272: ‘Well, that bangs Banagher,’ exclaimed Billy Heffernan, rising to his feet, and rubbing his eyes.
[Ind]H. Hartigan Stray Leaves (2nd ser.) 2: I have seen some wild pranks in my time, and some, wild scamps too; but if some of them banged Banagher, Darby Doyle banged the lot!
[UK]M.E. Braddon Cloven Foot I 241: ‘This bangs Banagher,’ he exclaimed.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 17 Jan. 13/1: Well, be th’ howly frog, ye haythins bate Banagher, an’ Banagher bates th’ divil.
[UK]J.D. Brayshaw Slum Silhouettes 25: ‘Go it, ye divils!’ cried he. ‘This bangs Banagher.’.
[UK]Newcastle Courant 11 Feb. 5/4: ‘Well!’ cried Blake, slapping his thigh, ’if that doesn’t beat Banagher; and Banagher beats the devil!’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 3 Aug. 16/2: ‘Well, that do bang Bannagher,’ said Flynn as they walked back to the camp.
[Aus]J. Furphy Buln-Buln and the Brolga (1948) 🌐 Jist look here, Mr M’Culloch! [...] Don’t that bang Bannaghar?
[UK]Tamworth Herald 27 July 2/4: ‘Damme,’ he exclaimed [...] ‘if this doesn’t beat Bannagher’.
[US]A. Irvine My Lady of the Chimney Corner 127: ‘Thin I towld him I’d seen the Banshee!’ ‘That bates Bannagher!’ says he. ‘It bates the divil,’ says I.
[UK]C. Holme Lonely Plough (1931) 24: Licks creation! Stuns the stars! Bangs Banagher!
[UK]M. Harrison All the Trees were Green 312: God bless us: this beats Bannigan.
[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Borstal Boy 325: It beats cock-fighting [...] and that beats Banagher, and Banagher beats the divil.
[Ire]Irish Digest 68 80: So this is the marvel of Banagher, and that's why people, when they hear anything extraordinary, are apt to exclaim " That beats Banagher!
[UK]W. Trevor Fools of Fortune 166: Would you credit that? Well, that beats Banagher!
[Ire]Share Slanguage.

In exclamations