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What Is Irish Blackthorn?

Irish Blackthorn is a beautiful, unique wood that is perfect for walking sticks due to its durability and hardiness. It is also a heavy wood, making it robust and supportive for most individuals. In this blog, we'll explain more about the significance of Irish Blackthorn, and include some of our favourite Blackthorn walking sticks.

What Is Blackthorn Wood?

Blackthorn is a type of flowering plant also known as Prunus Spinosa. The plant gets its name from the dark colour of its thorns. Oak is less common in Ireland than it is in England, and for this reason the Irish used blackthorn wood in its place.

what is blackthorn wood

What Is Blackthorn Wood Used For? 

The round berries are used to make sloe gin in Britain, and as the wood burns well with little smoke it is often used for firewood. It is attractive and takes on a fine polish, and has therefore been used to make walking sticks by the Irish. Blackthorn sticks are carried by commissioned officers of Irish and British military forces.

What is an Irish Shillelagh? 

A shillelagh is a traditional Irish stick, intended for ornamental purposes or as a weapon. The sticks first heralded from the Shillelagh Forest in the dramatically beautiful County Wicklow in Ireland. The word roughly translates to "thronged willow" in Irish.

Our Favourite Blackthorn Walking Sticks

How Are Shillelagh Made? 

Wood from the root of the plant would be used to make the knob at the end of the shillelagh, as it is tougher and less prone to crack. The chosen wood would then be placed in a chimney for several months to several years to allow it to accumulate soot and give the typical black shiny appearance 

What Is the History of the Shillelagh? 

When Ireland was ruled by Britain it was made illegal to carry weapons, and the Shillelagh developed as a disguised means of self defence. They were commonly used for fighting and duelling, and sometimes the knob would be filled with molten lead for a more powerful strike. 

Why Is It So Hard to Find Blackthorn Walking Sticks? 

Blackthorn is one of the most sought-after woods for making walking sticks. Lengths of raw material long enough to make into walking sticks are rare to come by, and for this reason it is difficult to procure a blackthorn walking stick like the one below. 

Browse Our Blackthorn Selection

Visit our collection of blackthorn wood walking sticks, or if it's the Shilleglah that's caught your eye, why not try the knobstick handle category?

What does the shillelagh mean to you? Let us know in the comments, or find us on Twitter and Facebook!