Bataireacht is the art of stick fighting in Ireland, a form of martial arts. It is believed to descent from broadsword training. In the 18th century, Irish peasants bonded as factions that would engage in melees on ceremonial and festive occasions, frequently resulting in serious injuries. Through the 19th century, the factions coalesced into two factions, the Caravat and Shanavest who engaged in criminal activity and fought periodically. The greater picture was that of the Irish peasants against the landowners, most of which were English which in its simplest form continued into the 20th century with remnants still remaining. This shillelagh dates to the 19th century, the period of the factions. At the time, every man owned one and they were made lovingly with care in hardening the wood and developing its fine glossy black surface using lard, pigeon blood, and soot. It is 23 1/2" long, made from the branch and trunk of young blackthorn. The segment selected comprises a cluster of branches, each cut short and rounded to conform to the rules of bataireacht. Even blunted they form a vicious striking face. It is well worn with near all the glossy bark intact and the head showing wear from use. Such early examples are rarely encountered and this is as fine an example as can be found!