NEWS (Nuacht)

April, 2002

Newly released!

Irish Gangs and Stick-Fighting In The Works of William Carleton, by John W. Hurley, has been published by Xlibris Corporation.

Irish Gangs and Stick-Fighting In The Works of William Carleton, is a collection of stories about Irish stick-fighters, written in the 19th century, by the Irish author William Carleton. Carleton was an Irish stick-fighter himself, and this is the first time that all of his tales about stick-fighting have been collected in a single volume. The stories provide many details about Irish methods of fighting in the 19th century, and great insights into the fighting culture and code – what I call the “Shillelagh Law” – which guided the lives of Irish fighting men, throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Four hundred endnotes, meticulously researched, explain the 19th century Irish, and Hiberno-English terms, used by Carleton throughout the text, while the introduction explains Carleton’s life and his important role in the history of Irish stick-fighting.

Here are what some readers are saying about the book:

“This book puts forward a unique theory, that there existed in the 19th century a form of Irish martial arts that was used by Irishmen in the rough world of the streets of towns and cities for self-defense. Sticks were wielded in ways that conformed to a fighting code, and this method was described extensively in the works of 19th century writer William Carleton, himself an accomplished stick fighter. The book strikes a blow against the stereotype of the Irish brawler, and instead presents a sophisticated picture of what author John Hurley calls the “Shillelagh Law” of the streets…”

– Eileen Murphy, Arts Editor/Art Director, Irish Echo newspaper, July 17-23, 2002 edition. (

“I was impressed with your work…I really think the book is a remarkable accomplishment…I feel that this book is just the beginning of a series of very important contributions on your part.”

– Thomas A. Green, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Texas A&M University.


– Sifu Glen Doyle, Canadian Kung Fu champion and traininer, and an instructor in “Uisce Beatha Bata Rince”, a hereditary Irish stick-fighting style.

“I received your book and am highly impressed with it. Your introduction with it’s biographical information on Carleton and the “Endnotes” do much to clarify the man’s work in its historic context, particularly for those unfamiliar with the Irish language…Please keep up the good work…”

– John O. McBride, U. S. Navy (Ret.)

Order Irish Gangs and Stick-Fighting In The Works of William Carleton here:

Irish Gangs and Stick-Fighting

**Now published!**

Shillelagh The Story of The Irish Stick

by John W. Hurley

The name, the image, the stories…controversy and debate seem to enshroud the story of the Shillelagh and our modern conception of it. Unlock the mystery with Shillelagh The Story Of The Irish Stick.

* December, 2002

Razor Magazine recently featured Hurley in an interview about Irish stick-fighting and its depiction in the film Gangs Of New York. Excerpts of the interview can be found here:

“Stick Men”, by Ken Maurer

* Martin Scorcese’s Gangs Of New York, due for release. The film is based on the Herbert Asbury history, The Gangs Of New York, and tells the story of two Irish Factions which were brought to Manhattan in the 1820’s. By the 1860’s these gangs – by then called the Dead Rabbits and the Bowery Boys – had changed considerably. Scorcese has been fascinated with “mobsters” and their history for most of his life and as Asbury’s book reveals, the gangland violence and gangster culture we now associate with the Italian mafia and “gangsta rap”, really has its origins in the gangland Faction culture of Ireland.

* March 17, 2003

The Wild Geese Today publishes Hurley’s article Bataireacht: The Art Of Irish Stick-Fighting which can be found here:

“Bataireacht: The Art Of Irish Stick-Fighting”, by John W. Hurley

© 2002 John W. Hurley


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