Shillelagh Poem for Saint Patrick’s Day

Patrick Jones’ “My Blackthorn Stick” In honour of Saint Patrick’s Day, I’m delighted to have secured permission to share a previously unpublished poem titled “My Blackthorn Stick” by Patrick Jones (c. 1875–1956) of County Cork, Ireland. The text depicts the experience of finding a shillelagh-worthy blackthorn shank, the labour of transforming it into a proper … Continue reading Shillelagh Poem for Saint Patrick’s Day

Anti-recruitment Shillelagh in “Arthur McBride”

Irishmen Stick-fighting for Freedom on Christmas Morning. Some versions of the Irish ballad "Arthur McBride" take place on December 25th, so today being Christmas makes it an apt time to share a bit of information about this traditional song. Of key interest here is the use of a shillelagh by two Irishmen to defend themselves … Continue reading Anti-recruitment Shillelagh in “Arthur McBride”

Research Update: Fieldwork Visit Report

Archives, Libraries, and Networking to Find the Music and Culture of Irish Stick-fighting. From mid-October to the end of November 2018, I was hosted by the Department of Music at University College Cork (UCC) during fieldwork in Éire for a James M. Flaherty Research Scholarship from the Ireland Canada University Foundation (ICUF). The primary objective … Continue reading Research Update: Fieldwork Visit Report

Shillelagh Studies on the “Mind Your Movement” Podcast

Podcast: Sound and Music of the Shillelagh. I'm delighted to have been a guest on Freemen Fitness's "Mind Your Movement" podcast. We covered my concept of martial sound, my research on the musical culture of 19th-century faction fights in Ireland, and the state of Irish stick-fighting today.  The host of the podcast, Nathan Featherstone, is … Continue reading Shillelagh Studies on the “Mind Your Movement” Podcast

What Is a Shillelagh?

assorted shillelaghs

An Overview of Irish Stick-fighting and Its Musical Legacy. A shillelagh is a wooden cudgel, and the word is pronounced “shuh-lay-lee.” More specifically, a shillelagh is an Irish style of stout, knobbed stick that can function as a weapon. In this introductory blog post, I define the word shillelagh is three ways. First, I consider … Continue reading What Is a Shillelagh?