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With my Shillelagh under me arm . . .

My friend always uses a walking stick and loses them just as quickly. Yesterday he lost another one. We jollied him by asking where his shillelagh was? He wasn't amused.

A shillelagh is a stick traditionally used as a kind of fighting stick by Irishmen in the 19th century. It often had a knob at one end and had a string that could be wound around the wrist - a sail éille - from which comes the word shillelagh. They could be dangerous things to find coming at you. They are often sold to tourists as representing Ireland.

Bing Crosby sang about it: shillelagh 2

"With me shillelagh under me arm
And a twinkle in me eye
I'll be off to Tipperary in the morning.
With me shillelagh under me arm
And a toora loora lie
I'll be welcome in the home that I was born in.
Me mother's told the neighbors
I'm going to settle down,
Phil the fluter's coming out
To play me round the town.
With me shillelagh under me arm
And a toora loora lie
I'll be off to Tipperary in the morning."

But this version is sung by Jack Daly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9ESwWg3dsI


ha, maybe your friend needs a tighter sail éille for his shillelagh! :)
Or a memory to know where he puts things.
I know at least 8 Irish songs (or faux-Irish) which mention a piper called Phil. Is the name something that's applied to all fluting musicians as a 'John Doe' tag?
Yes. I think there was one Phil the Fluter who hosted a famous Ball.
Is that song genuinely Irish? It was the bane of primary school 2nd year music class.
No. I think it is America-Irish.
I've never actually seen a real shillelagh fight myself. There's a story of an itinerant (itinerants are noted for street fighting)who went into a shop to buy a baseball bat and the shopkeeper says: "Is it for a wedding or a funeral?"
I haven't heard this one since...uh...well...the Irish branch of the family came over for a wedding. Where I also saw a 74-year-old, 5'3" Great-Aunt pick up a 22-year-old with over half a foot on her and physically throw him out of the reception for being drunk and obnoxious. Moral: don't mess with elderly Irish Aunties.
I'm going to be in Ireland in a few weeks. Will I need one?
I hope not. But the public bus service is on strike at present so if you have to walk you may need a stick to get around!
I always prefer this song about shillelaghs. I have a Planxty album that I bought in Dublin airport some years ago that includes the song and which is where I first came across it.

Edited at 2013-05-13 09:53 (UTC)
Thanks. That's a great list I hadn't seen before.