Known by many names, including bata in Gaelic - which means, fighting stick - the original cane gets its name from the Shillelagh Forest in County Wicklow. The forest was once famous for its massive stands of fine oaks. The shillelagh was originally used for settling disputes in a gentlemanly manner — like a duel with pistols or swords.
The bark was traditionally left on for added toughness and often a metal ferrule was secured at the end opposite of the knob. To keep the wood from splitting during the drying process, sticks were often buried in a manure pile, or smeared with butter and placed in the chimney to cure which gave them their black color.
Overtime the shillelagh became a symbol of Irish pride and culture and carried by many as a relic of their Irish history.