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Fair Fighting and Shillelagh "too small for a war, too mean for a sport" 1

Fair Fighting and Shillelagh “too small for a war, too mean for a sport”

By Mike | December 7, 2019

It’s hard to read much of the literature of Shillelaghs and Irish stickfighting without coming across the phenomenon of the “Faction Fight”, or the “Fair Fight”. “Faction Fighting” refers to large organised groups of (usually) young, (usually) men, meeting to participate in a mass stickfighting battle. Sometimes they were described in terms we’d use to …

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Sticks, Old Soldiers and Whiskey 2

Sticks, Old Soldiers and Whiskey

By Mike | November 16, 2019

11 November just passed, Victory in Europe day,  a time when the United Kingdom thinks about its veterans of the world wars and other more recent conflicts. Throughout my life its always been a time when we thought specifically of the war in Europe. WW1 was over 100 years ago, and the Europe that existed …

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Bees! 3

Bees!

By Mike | October 26, 2019

Somewhere under the workshop a colony of bumblebees have dug a nest. We’re all for that, something about the fat, good-natured pollen-spreaders is nice to see any time and a nice reminder when we’re working indoors that the natural world is still going on around us. However it can make us a little nervous. In …

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The Trigger Finger Divot 4

The Trigger Finger Divot

By Mike | October 13, 2019

This is a refinement that doesn’t get fitted to  a lot of our shillelaghs – the trigger finger divot. It’s a little extra curve in the stave that helps your index finger find its natural groove under the head of the stave. In this way it’s kind of odd. You’d think having an extra “bit” …

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Boot Polish and Crows blood. 5

Boot Polish and Crows blood.

By Mike | August 5, 2019

There are a lot of theories about the blacking that people used to use on their staves. Some people talk about rubbing lead on a staff, others talk about boot polish… Both are possible, this was a time when your house wasn’t made of treated timber, so the presence of borer larvae was a real …

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Types of Shilellagh 6

Types of Shilellagh

By Mike | July 20, 2019

There are a range of opinions on the origin of the term “Shillelagh”. Some believe it refers to the Irish words sail éille which refers to a willow staff with a cord about the wrist. This is possible, although of the options, willow naturally tends not to grow in a way that makes good shillelagh, …

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