Shil­le­lagh Stick sculp­ture to be un­veiled

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS -

A new land­mark on the south Wick­low land­scape will be of­fi­cially un­veiled this week­end in Shil­le­lagh.

The vil­lage will com­memem­o­rate an im­por­tant piece of its her­itage as a large oak Shil­le­lagh Stick sculp­ture and in­ter­pre­tive panel are un­veiled at the vil­lage green at 2 p.m. on Satur­day, Novem­ber 10.

Sculp­tor Joey Burns and Fred Verdier of Wick­low Tourism will per­form the off­i­cal un­veil­ing, along­side Deirdre Whit­field and Chris­tine Flood from Wick­low County Coun­cil.

The pro­ject has been de­vel­oped thanks to fund­ing un­der the Towns and Vil­lage Re­newal Scheme.

Cen­turies ago, war­rior stick fight­ers from the Shil­le­lagh ter­ri­to­ries were so renowned for their mar­tial arts skills and fe­roc­ity that their name be­came syn­ony­mous with the weapon they were so adept with, and thus the Shil­le­lagh stick came to be. Shil­le­laghs are gen­er­ally made from the wood of the black­thorn tree, which was strong, flex­i­ble and plen­ti­ful in the area.

The brand new Shil­le­lagh Her­itage Trail will also be launched on Satur­day.

Deirdre Burns, Her­itage Of­fi­cer at Wick­low County Coun­cil, and Min­is­ter Si­mon Har­ris will of­fi­cially open the trail at 3 p.m. in Shil­le­lagh Court­house. A spe­cial her­itage trail book­let will also be launched and copies will be on sale on the day.

The trail ex­plores the es­tate vil­lage of Shil­le­lagh, which was de­vel­oped by the Fitzwillia­m fam­ily to sup­port their Ir­ish home at Cool­lat­tin, then takes peo­ple on a tour of the south Wick­low coun­try­side.

Places of in­ter­est along the trail in­clude Ardeen House, the union work­house, Dee­gans Bridge, the mill race start, the Dy­ing Cow and Tom­nafinnoge Woods.

The trail, which can be en­joyed on foot, driv­ing or on a bi­cy­cle, has been de­vel­oped in con­junc­tion with the her­itage de­part­ment at Wick­low County Coun­cil.

These ini­tia­tives are the work of the Shil­le­lagh Peo­ples Prop­erty Com­pany, which was be­queathed var­i­ous prop­er­ties by Lady Juliet Fitzwillia­m and who now act as cus­to­di­ans of these prop­er­ties. The com­pany also en­gages with Shil­le­lagh Tidy Towns and has a greater am­bi­tion of de­vel­op­ing Shil­le­lagh as a tourism her­itage hub.

They plan to twin with Went­worth in south York­shire, an­other Fitzwillia­m es­tate vil­lage, and are hop­ing plans to de­velop the Arklow to Shil­le­lagh Recre­ational Trail come to fruition. It is hoped this trail would fol­low as near as pos­si­ble the old rail­way line that ran to Shil­le­lagh and was pri­mar­ily built to serve Cool­lat­tin Park. It was known as ‘The Fitzwillia­m Line’ but it closed in 1945.

The new sculp­ture in Shil­le­lagh vil­lage.

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