What Is It?  #18


This is an antique Irish Shillelagh. The original shillelaghs appeared thousands of years ago as heavy war clubs but over the years, evolved into walking canes and carrying sticks.

In the Middle Ages and right into Charles Dickens’ times upper class British would carry one when walking on the unsafe streets of towns and cities. The heavy head at the end could crack a skull and were used to discourage beggars and thieves.

Shillelaghs are made of Irish hardwood branches that are cured, carved and polished. My carrying type shillelagh is intricately carved and polished and must have belonged to a gentleman of means. Today they are still being made in Ireland but only as canes for steady walking on city streets or country paths. They sell a lot of these to tourists for about $100.



(Editor’s note: Palisades resident Howard Yonet has an interesting collection of curios from around the world and with his permission, Circling the News is publishing one a week. About the collector: Dr. Howard Yonet was born in Brooklyn in 1934 and attended Brooklyn College. He went to Baylor Medical School and then returned to do an internship at Bellevue Hospital. Yonet completed his residency at the Manhattan V.A. and the Montefiore Hospital. During this time he went skiing in Vermont and the Catskills, and while traveling found barns filled with early American pieces. This led to his interest in American Antiques.

In 1965, he married Daniele, who was originally from Nancy, France. During the Vietnam War, Yonet was drafted as a medical officer and stationed in Landstuhl, Germany (1966-1969). This was close to the French border, which meant he and Daniele and could visit her family.

While abroad, the Yonets took weekend trips through France and Italy, purchasing many interesting pieces at flea markets.

The family settled in Pacific Palisades in 1970 and Yonet practiced general radiology until 2006. He continued to acquire antiques and collectables at estate and garage sales and the Salvation Army Store. He also enjoyed looking for collectibles while traveling in Montana, Idaho, Colorado and Massachusetts. Daniele’s family helped add to his collection.)








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