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For centuries the Irish have been associated with a stick weapon called the Shillelagh. And for generations of Irishmen, the Shillelagh was a badge of honor - a symbol of their courage, their martial prowess and their willingness to fight for their rights and their honor. In modern popular culture, the Shillelagh has acquired a less appealing image, one that attempts to declaw the Irish through negative racial stereotypes of the Victorian era, which depict the Irish as harmless club-weilding Leprecauns or drunken, half-witted brawlers. John Hurley's illuminating study forever alters our view of this much maligned and misunderstood cultural icon by revealing the true martial arts culture of the Irish people, its history, evolution and decline and the resulting effects on the Shillelagh - the most powerful and controversial of Irish icons.