I picked up a re-print of a late 19th C weapons manual which has a section on the use of the "shillalah".
The descriptions are based on contempory use at country fairs in Cork and Kerry where "all is slashing and whacking and the hardest skull generally comes off best"
The shillelagh described is "about 4ft long" and "is a great point to get it uniform in thickness and weight throughout its entire length".
It is "held about a third of its length from the end, the shorter portion serves to guard the right side of the head and the right forearm".
And if people are training with the shillelagh rememeber "an irishman nearly always makes his left forearm the guard for the left side of his head".
(and just for Aislinn: Broad-sword and single-stick - R.G Allanson-Winn and C. Phillips-Wolley, re-printed 2006, Palladin Press. ISBN's - 10: 1-58160-512-9/13: 978-1-58160-512-9 )
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