The Old World in the New

Walking Stick

Walking Stick

Walking Stick
Maker attributed to Michael Casey, c.1850
Wood (blackthorn)
Gift of Veronica (Sally) & Demi McGinley
MHAHS 2004.062.0006

A shillelagh (pronounced shi-LAY-lee) is a walking stick, but it could also be used as a club.  When needs arose, a whack from the knob end could pack quite a punch!  Shillelaghs have a long history in Ireland where receiving one was part of a young man’s transition into adulthood and continuing to carry it was part of being a man.  Men leaving Ireland, like Michael Casey, often brought their shillelaghs with them to America.  Like the shamrock, the shillelagh/walking stick has become closely associated with Ireland and Irish-American identity.


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