Irish Inspired
Pick up your pint! Sláinte!
This whole set started with a group of friends enjoying their Guinness. Being from NOLA I'm all into Mardi Gras and Carnival at the moment, but living in NYC some are already thinking passed Fat Tuesday and onward to St. Patrick's Day. Not that we need a club (society), but it was discussed, and so the idea for the Saint Patrick's Shillelagh Drinking Society (Sail Éille Naomh Pádraig • Cumann an Óil) was born.

There was also a lively discussion about St. Patrick's (Naomh Pádraig) martial skills with his Shillelagh driving out the snakes from Ireland. I wasn't even aware that there was an Irish Martial Art, though being familiar with several stick-fighting styles from Southeast Asia I felt a little silly not knowing about it (especially since I'm interested in my Irish heritage). Bataireacht is a the stick-fighting Martial Art of Ireland. Bata is the Irish term for any kind of stick. In stick-fighting, the actual bata or stick used for Bataireacht is a Shillelagh. Shillelagh is the anglicized word for sail éille, a wooden walking stick, club, or cudgel made from a "thonged willow" or blackthorn stick. Typically it is made from a stout knotty stick with a large knob at the top. It is associated with Ireland and Irish folklore.

To fit a more rough and tumble Gothic feel to our budding Drinking Society (Cumann an Óil) I designed a Shamrock constructed out of skulls and a Claddagh with skeletal hands.

The Shamrock, a three-leaved sprig, is derived from the Irish Seamróg and has been used as a symbol of Ireland since the 18th century. The shamrock as a symbol is also tied to Saint Patrick, Ireland's patron saint. It is said he used it as a representation for the Christian Holy Trinity, though the Celts had their own trinity Goddess before Christianity. The three Morrígna are Badb, Macha, and Nemain (sometimes Anand). The three Morrígna are also associated with the three land goddesses Ériu, Banba and Fódla.

The Claddagh is a traditional European Ring with a symbolic design which represents Love (Heart), Loyalty (Crown), and Friendship (Hands). The skeletal hands lend a non-traditional twist and I’d like to think represent “Friendship for Eternity.” The Claddagh has become an iconic symbol of Irish identity. 

In the process I also designed a Celtic Harp with a Celtic hound motif. The Celtic Harp requires great skill and many hours of practice to play it, which in earlier times afforded it the association with the Gaelic ruling class. The Celtic hound motif is believed to signify loyalty, love, health and good luck.​​​​​​​ In the a solo Harp design I added the phrase Éirinn go Brách which translates to "Ireland to the End of Time" or "Ireland Forever." The term has been endeared by Irish Volunteers in military service to various nations and to show pride in Irish heritage by many Irish and their immigrants abroad.

Don't drink and Bataireacht. And may the Luck o the Irish be with ye!
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