The Blackthorn bush is found throughout Ireland and the British Isles.
It has been prized for centuries as a material for premium walking sticks. The original Blackthorn sticks used to be 2 to 4-foot long Irish shillelaghs (the national weapon of rural Ireland). In expert hands the shillelagh was so fearsome that during the final occupation of Ireland, the English outlawed it.
To get around the law, the Irish turned the shillelagh into a 3-foot walking stick. The English didn’t want to appear unreasonable by outlawing walking sticks too, so the Irish kept their modified shillelaghs and the world gained a beautiful and functional walking stick known simple as the Blackthorn.
Here John explains his family tradition of passing the Blackthorn from Grandfather to Grandson, following the family name James.