Irish Walking Stick

Displaying products 1 - 8 of 8 results
Blackthorn Shillelagh Stick
Blackthorn Shillelagh Stick
Sale Price: $99.97
Blackthorn Shillelagh Stick
Irish Shillelagh
Country Derby on Blackthorn Shaft
Country Derby on Blackthorn Shaft
Sale Price: $89.97
Country Derby on Blackthorn Shaft
Blackthorn Derby
Gents Blackthorn Derby
Gents Blackthorn Derby
Sale Price: $99.97
Gents Blackthorn Derby
Gents Blackthorn Derby
Blackthorn Crosshead Walking Stick
Blackthorn Crosshead Walking Stick
Sale Price: $89.97
Blackthorn Crosshead Walking Stick
Blackthorn Crosshead Walking Stick
Blackthorn Fit Up
Blackthorn Fitup 36 Inches
Sale Price: $59.97
Blackthorn Fitup 36 Inches
Blackthorn Fitup
Derby Blackthorn
Derby Blackthorn
Sale Price: $99.97
Derby Blackthorn
Derby Blackthorn
Shillelagh-Blackthorn Walking Stick 20
Shillelagh Blackthorn Walking Stick 20 Inches
Sale Price: $122.60
Shillelagh Blackthorn Walking Stick 20 Inches
Shillelagh Blackthorn Stick
Blackthorn Knob Walking Stick 36
Blackthorn Knob Walking Stick with Strap
Sale Price: $109.97
Blackthorn Knob Walking Stick with Strap
Blackthorn Walking Stick 36 inch

The Irish walking stick is a tourist favorite at Irish airports. Known to most as the Shillelagh, this unique walking stick symbolizes the Irish culture almost as much as the shamrock does. It is a quaint, twisted and knobby stick that is often embellished for tourists with a green bow and a painted shamrock. These stylish sticks were carried for fashion and status but often wound up as weapons in a fight.

The Irish walking stick is a keepsake of many collectors. Known to many as a shillelagh, for many it is representative of the Irish and their culture. It is often sold as a souvenir in airports and decorated with a green bow and a shamrock. These cute keepsakes are fun, but they are most likely not actual shillelaghs. The historic canes of the Irish were actually made from oak, blackthorn, ash or holly and were commonly used for stick fighting.

The ancient tradition of Irish stick fighting emerged sometime in the 17th century when the Irish were banned from owning formal weapons. At that time the innocent looking walking stick, called a bata or shillelagh, came into use as a serious weapon. In the centuries that followed, stick fighting became an integral part of Irish culture. It was used in Faction Fights, wedding and funeral brawls, and to settle disputes. This ancient art was passed down from generation to generation, each father passing his techniques and style on to his sons.

The Irishmen carried their sticks with them to just about everywhere they went. They were most needed though at fairs, wakes and feasts. This is because various groups or factions were always present at most social gatherings and faction fighting was very common until the famines of the 1840s. Most often the factions were members of certain families or of political groups. Sometimes the fights would consist of hundreds of men and even the women would join in using stockings that were filled with stones.

Not all stick fights occurred between factions. Some of them were sporting evens and some were provoked just for fun. One tradition at a fair was for a man to drag his coat on the ground behind him and throw down the challenge, "Who'll tread on the tail of my coat?", or to ask a crowd, "Who'll say black is the white of my eye?" These were usually rough but friendly contests.

The Irish walking stick has a rich history and surely has a rightful place in any collection, but what many call a shillelagh is not actually the type of cane that the Irish fought with. If the walking stick is made of oak, ash, holly or blackthorn then it is authentic. If, on the other hand, it is a souvenir from the airport, it is not likely to be the real thing.

 


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