Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Dad's "World Famous" Shillelagh

The "Shillelagh" you see pictured above is the last remnant from my Dad's tavern. If this shillelagh could talk it would have many stories to tell. It has been passed to my oldest son to keep memories alive and it will remain in the Mulligan family for generations.

The real shillelaghs are worth a fortune as they are handcrafted and each walking stick is unique. This particular one is priceless. My dad's patrons decided to play a joke on him and cut down this piece of driftwood to present to him as a gag gift. He cherished it and displayed it proudly in Mulligan's.

When I asked about the shillelagh, my dad convinced me that it was very special. I was so honored that he gave it to me to keep safe the day Mulligan's was shut down for good. I displayed it prominently in my house for many years and always showed it off to our guests. Many, especially the Irish visitors, were speechless when they gazed upon this heirloom.

When my dad returned for his final visit, I could not wait to give him back his shillelagh that I had been keeping safe for him. He yelled out, "what is this piece of s#@*!" I thought maybe the cancer was clouding his brain and told him it was his "world famous" shillelagh. Everything my dad did was world famous. His hamburgers, his chile, his green bagels that he served in his bar, even his walking stick that was nothing more than a piece of driftwood.

After my dad calmed down, he told me there was a real shillelagh and he gave that one to his sister, Peggy, for safe keeping. One of my brothers now keeps the real one. As for me, the world famous shillelagh that was once a part of Mulligan's will stay in our family until the end of time and I will always think of my dad, Patrick O'Mulligan (he always added the "O" on St. Patrick's Day), every time I look at his world famous walking stick.

To my Irish and non-Irish friends, my daughter, Nicole, who is seventeen today, and to my Zoom partners who are celebrating our fifth birthday today, I wish you a very special St. Patrick' Day. Here is an Irish quote to celebrate a day that St. Patrick made "world famous"...

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

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