irish defense


Irish blackthorn shillelagh. 22 inches long, 720g in weight. The term shillelagh (thonged stick) has a very murky past. It’s not known exactly when people began calling walking sticks and cudgels shillelaghs. Originally, shillelaghs were made from oak, with the forest of Shillelagh in county Wicklow being the largest supplier of wood. After rampant deforestation in Ireland, walking sticks and cudgels found themselves being made from other materials, primarily hawthorne, hazel, and blackthorn. Shillelaghs were used not only as walking aids, but also to settle disputes between individuals and factions. Faction fighting was rampant in the late 18th century and early 19th century, but became almost nonexistent when the Famine set in. Sticks used for the purpose of fighting are simply known as ‘bata’. The use of shillelaghs as a weapon was called bataireacht (literally “stick fighting”). Today, almost all genuine shillelaghs are made from blackthorn which, while strong and decently resistant to warping, is notoriously unforgiving during the curing process. It can take 2 to 3 years for a blackthorn shank to properly cure/dry out. Hurried and/or done improperly, blackthorn will develop multiple cracks, making it unsuitable for use. Some are called loaded sticks on account of them having molten lead poured into a hollowed out area of the knob in order to increase the striking power.


Aksaray, Istanbul, Turkey — Apparently, this Irish tourist accidentally spilled a fridge full of bottled water in a shop, which resulted in an argument between him and the shopkeeper. The latter then hit him with a large piece of wood while he gathered his people to help.

He turned out to be a boxer, who then used his skills to fend off attackers in the street. The crowd then grew as more tried to help fight the tourist. Despite the impromptu mob, they couldn’t take the man down and later decided to retreat.

(Neither going head on with multiple attackers nor blocking weapons with your forearm are advisable; it just so happened that this guy was bigger and tougher than the attackers. It was also fortunate that no one took a blade or gun into the scuffle.)

Watch the video [here].

Shields 101

Was browsing through the Activity tab and saw this post.

There are a lot of things wrong with the comment, especially the rest of it, but this will be an enlightening experience.

First off the Army Ranger Wing of the Irish Defense Force in the photoset is not using a “Riot Shield”. They’re using a “Ballistic Shield”.

A riot shield is generally thinner, lightweight and clear/transparent. They are meant mostly to defend against impact from thrown objects (stones, bricks, etc) and defend against blunt weapons such as 2x4’s, baseball bats and so forth. There are heavier models that provided added protection.

On a side note, riot shields are also available in a circular form, like an old school shield.

They also make for decent impromptu sleds.

Now, a ballistic shield is basically the big brother of a riot shield. They are heavier, bulkier and designed to stop not just blunt objects but also bullets.

Depending on their ballistic level, the caliber that a ballistic shield can stop will vary.  Most law enforcement ballistic shields are level IIIA. This will stop 9x19mm, .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum and a 12 gauge 1 ounce slug (according to the NIJ ratings).

*Level IIIA “Mini-Ballistic Shield” shot with 9mm & 44 Magnum

The calibers listed are the most likely to be encountered by police officers from armed individuals.

However, the added protection makes the shields very heavy in comparison to the riot shield. There are quick deploy, flexible shields that still offer the same level of IIIA protection but without the added weight. It does have a drawback; it lacks a viewing port, making it difficult for the officer to see the target. They would have to expose their head/upper body to get a view.

There are a few ballistic shields that are ranked at IIIB, which will stop 5.56x45, 7.62x39 and 7.62x54, but depends on the bullet grain. Heavier bullets require level IV, and I don’t think there are any riot shields in that category.

Are they useless in “combat”? Your definition of combat seems erratic. Riot shields are seen mostly at riots/protests to form a wall and protect officers. They’re also used in prison for cell entries.

Ballistic shields are usually seen in close quarter room entries. This isn’t Call of Duty where you run around a battlefield with a shield on your back and a light machine gun in your hands.

Youth Defence, a hateful organisation that pretends to forward the catholic issues in Ireland, but actually spreads anti choice and anti equality rhetoric veiled in “concern” for marriage or families, had their website hacked and replaced with this beautiful mural which is up in Dublin right now in advance of the Marriage Equality referendum on May 22nd. And it’s amazing.

DFB interview Marco Reus ( translated)
  • DFB : Mr. Reus,the national team is going to play in Dublin against Ireland. Does it ring a bell? 3 years ago you played a major role in the Aviva stadium...
  • MR : We achieved a big win, 6:0, I think. No,6:1.
  • DFB : Right. You scored twice.
  • MR : I remember the game wasn't that easy,like the result seems to show. At the beginning we had some problems, after we scored the 1:0 and 2:0 the game was better and even pretty good. As a team we were really good that day. Of course it was good for me as well that I scored twice. If I am right, this was my very first twin pack for the national team.
  • DFB : These 90 minutes against Dublin was so far your best game for the national team.Do you agree?
  • MR : No, I don't think so. It's to easy to measure a performance just by how many goals you scored. It was a nice national game, a very good one - but not my best.
  • DFB : The game also has been special because you experienced something which was very uncommon for you: the audience booed at you for 60 minutes.
  • MR : Right. Wrongly!
  • DFB : Because of a dive you apparently intended.
  • MR : Exactly! That was during a scene against John O'Shea,I anticipated and snatched the ball from him. I ran past him and he obviously held on to me. I was sure this had to be an obvious penalty. I was surprised when I suddenly got a yellow card.
  • DFB : You scored two minutes later. How good did that feel?
  • MR : It was definitely a good feeling but that's basically every goal.
  • DFB : You weren't extra motivated because of the boos?
  • MR : You don't really perceive it. In my case, I knew because of the penalty scene,that I was perfectly into the game. And I knew the next chance was about to come. Schmelle assisted the goal, he ran into the penalty area, the ball was coming to me and I finished it. This hadn't to do anything with the boos against me.
  • DFB : You say you barely perceive boos. So the atmosphere in the stadium isn't relevant for your game?
  • MR : Of course it is! The louder,the better. I like that a lot. The atmosphere in Dortmund is always fantastic. Even during away games, I like and appreciate a good atmosphere. Just like with BVB in Greece against Saloniki recently. It was a real hell hole there and it's a lot of fun to play in front of such a scenery.
  • DFB : Whereas you, as a "street kicker", aren't in the need of such a fancy scenery at all.
  • MR : Actually not,that's true. In the training sessions I have a lot of fun playing football too - and there are barely any visitors. But to be honest: The games in our Signal Iduna Park are something very special. In general:The fun for football doesn't sink with the amount of visitors.
  • DFB : When you win and shine in front of 80.000 people: for how long do you take this elation with you into your daily life?How much does the private Marco Reus live on the success of the footballer Marco Reus?
  • MR : It gives you satisfaction in your private life as well when you you successfully did your job. Basically that's not very different to other jobs as well. I can't free myself from it that I at least take a little part of what happened on the pitch,with home.
  • DFB : Does this also count reversed: How much does it bother you when you have lost a game? How long are you unbearable then?
  • MR : I hope not that long.(laughs) It's important to analyze those games to see what you did wrong. That's the only way how you can improve yourself. I am very precise and detailed in that sense. There are a lot of games and scenes I watch over again. That's why I mostly manage to set the focus back forward, I don't live in the past.
  • DFB : So the 1:5 in Munich doesn't bother you anymore?
  • MR : The entire Sunday wasn't such a good day,I have to admit that. Also did I have better nights than the night from Sunday to Monday. A defeat this high and in such a game - you can't just forget about it that easily.
  • DFB : Ignoring the last games, BVB excellently started into the new season. Your numbers aren't that bad either. Two goals and one assist in six games of the Bundesliga, on top of that four goals in the Europe league. Things are good for you...
  • MR : No!
  • DFB : No?
  • MR : No. It's good I could do all the preparations without any injuries. Until I broke my toe in the game against Hertha,I was ok with my performance. I was out for three weeks then, wasn't allowed to put weight on my foot and could only do some torso training. It needs some time to get back into your usual rhythm. And I am honest: the games I played afterwards, weren't at all how I expected them to be.
  • DFB : What's left to do for you to be back at 100%?
  • MR : It can happen fast. One goal to one perfect action and everything can instantly be back again. I personally know I am not yet where I want to be. But I also now this will change fast.
  • DFB : Where do you take this confidence from?
  • MR : I know how it works. Everything comes back through hard work and I am a worker.
  • DFB : You actually are a player who isn't prone to getting injured at all. It was different in the last season. Are you actually also focused on not getting injured again?
  • MR : No. That would mean I would always have this thought in my mind, for example during duels. That's not the case. I trust my body 100%, I never go on the pitch with doubts.
  • DFB : Your DFB team is going to meet one more time before last for the European qualifiers on Wednesday. How strong do you think the Irish are?
  • MR : The Irish are under a lot of pressure. They are third on the table. They have to win against us if they still want to have the chance to get qualified for the European Championship. That could be good for us because we get more room then. It's also possible the Irish orient themselves more defensively and stand deeper so we would have to find some ways to combine and to get to finish.
  • DFB : The German team still misses one point for the ticket to France. Do you doubt the world champion will get qualified for the European championship?
  • MR : Definitely not! Zero!
  • DFB : Have you always been sure of it? Or were there times you were worried? After the defeat against Poland and the remis against Ireland, Germany was fourth on the table.
  • MR : I never thought about this to be honest. I have always been aware of the quality our team has. That's why I knew we would eventually get some punctual problems in some games - especially after the World Cup. But I have also been sure our team is definitely going it through after a long qualification phase. We are too good for other thoughts.