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Blackthorn is said to have supernatural associations. In the folklore of Ireland, the Blackthorn was thought a magical shrub, because the "little people" are said to dwell there. It is considered unlucky to cut down the tree, but the careful use of the Blackthorn's many useful properties is said to bring good fortune.
It is said the Blackthorn blooms on Christmas Eve, and thought by many that the crown of thorns placed on Christ’s head during the Crucifixion came from the blackthorn.
Though beautiful, it's said the flowers are thought unlucky if brought into the house, or worn in the buttonhole.
Lunantishees are the Fairy tribes that guard the blackthorn trees or sloes; they let you cut no stick on the eleventh of November (the original November Day), or on the eleventh of May (the original May Day). If at such a time you cut a blackthorn, some misfortune will come to you.
Folklore: The tree in bloom is considered an emblem of life and death in unison, as the beautiful white flowers appear when the tree has no leaves but only black bark and thorns; to carry or wear Blackthorn in blossom is thought to signify bringing a death token. Markings made upon linen with the fresh juice will never wash out. If three thorn trees are found growing closely together it's considered wise to make a wide berth of them. This was a tree often beloved of the Sidhe (although the location of a tree was important to the Sidhe folk; it had to be growing within a rath or fairy ring, in a rocky field of rough grass, or by a large boulder or spring); anyone who harmed, or even disturbed a tree beloved of the Sidhe risked their wrath (which often came in the form of illness).
Shillelagh and blackthorn
The favorite Shillelagh or walking stick material today is blackthorn, that sacred Celtic wood. It is referred to as a "plum" wood, as it bears tiny flowers and is related to the plum-giving family. The vicious thorns, according to experts, must be smoothed completely down in an ordinary cane but this is not the case with shillelaghs. A nice "knobbly bit" is left where each thorn is severed from the cane.
Where did the name Shillelagh originate?
The Irish shillelagh "sail-éílle"- pronounced "shahll-AY-luh" and commonly pronounced as "shuh-LAY-LEE" means "walking stick" or "cane" in Gaelic.
"A picturesque village, set among the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains, Shillelagh was a reknowned centre for oak production and supplied the timber for many famous buildings and the British navy. Quiet and unspoilt, the village now hosts an annual oak festival each June Bank holiday weekend. It is held to celebrate the huge oak forests that once dominated the surrounding area, which also gives its name to the world-famous Shillelagh stick." ...Russ and Bridget Haggerty
What is it about Blackthorn?
"They asked me in my capacity as an anthropologist why people seem to become so attached to blackthorn: "What is it about blackthorn?"― to which I respond, it's the venerated cultural tradition. We become attached to materials the way we do to people. The ancient Celts, whose descendants more than hold their own today, revered the blackthorn almost as much as the oak. And with its unsurpassable wood qualities, vicious thorns and huge root-knob, blackthorn is hard to beat.
But there is another answer: Tradition. A bit of the old country. I know people hereabouts who have venerable shillelagh collections, all handed down as heirlooms. At the end of the day, at least for me, sail-éílle is synonymous with Tradition. It is not about fighting or nationalism it is about home and hearth. An old-fashioned Irishman wouldn't be caught dead without his sail-éílle: as we have seen, there's good reason for it".
What is the difference between a walking stick and a shillelagh?
"A true shillelagh hasn't existed since they ran out of oak in the shillelagh forest. That many years ago any walking stick would have been called a 'shillelagh' by an Irishman. It had become their word for a walking stick. Since then, they began making sticks out of blackthorn for the simple reason that they make really strong walking sticks. I suppose, in the early days, the strength was important since they were for self-defense.
In the days of Sherlock Holmes, a gentleman carried a stick to defend against the riff raff. Some of those sticks had a large head that the owner would drill out and fill with molten lead (ouch). Doyle makes a point of saying that Sherlock was an excellent 'single-stick' fighter.
I consider the blackthorn walking stick to be the rightful inheritor of the name 'shillelagh'. It goes back far enough in history and has the usefulness to be worthy of the title.
There you are, more confusion to keep the argument going - that's Irish, we don't really want a definitive answer - takes all the fun out of it."...
Irish Stick, Shillelagh, Cane, Cudgel, Bata:
Was Blackthorn the wood of choice for weapons?
Blackthorn draighneach is the traditional wood to make fighting sticks, because, like other woods in the Rosaceae family, it is tough and hard. The traditional Irish shillelagh, bata in Gaelic - which means, fighting stick or cudgel is one example of a weapon made with this wood.
"Bata" is the word for a short club or fighting stick; note its resemblance to the word "baton"- that is what "bata" means. It's also where we get our word "bat".
"Irish boys are given a short shillelagh and begin training in the native martial art of Ireland, shillelagh fighting. During adolescence, boys are considered to attain manhood when they finally receive their first full-length shillelagh. The shillelagh becomes a right of passage, and so does training to fight with it. In fact, this Irish martial art is one of the oldest martial arts on earth, competing easily with the ancient boxing or stick styles of Sumer, Egypt and India. The name for this art is "Bataireacht Sail-Éílle", literally "Cane-battle" (modern pron. "bah-TAH-reht shall-AY-luh")"...Rev. Fr. Antonio Hernandez
"I haven't found any other material that compares to the Blackthorn for its ratio of hardness to lightness with a natural feel. I've tried about a dozen different types of materials, woods and metals, and it seems that the Blackthorn stick ranks as the best overall. The best thing about them are their proportion of weight to strength and their flexability."
E' inanzitutto un simbolo di primavera, a volte anche dell'inverno poiché fiorisce alla fine di questa stagione.
Indica il rinnovamento, la giovinezza che sta per manifestarsi.
Simbolo anche di purezza: ha i fiori senza foglie.
In genere simbolo di fecondità e di buon augurio.