Whittling Sticks and some chips on the side

carved walking sticks by Seanie Barron in the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin
A badger, a deer and I don’t know – a goat?  Walking Sticks by Seanie Barron

Chips. Well, I don’t know but I’ve been told that some people have big chips on their shoulders about various aspects of the art world – about certain art practices, certain art institutions and certain art galleries.

Take the Douglas Hyde Gallery in Trinity College for instance. There are two separate spaces here, the large space which exhibits “significant” contemporary artists and the smaller Gallery 2 which generally shows outsider art, craft, textiles and ethnographic objects – you might say: works by people who never heard of the “significant” contemporary artists in the other gallery. I don’t know but I’m a bit uncomfortable with this policy, this unhappy juxtaposition of two different worlds but shur, that’s probably to do with certain chips that I have myself, weighing down on my unenlightened shoulders.

Anyway, I wanted to talk about Seanie Barron and his wonderful sticks, now showing in Gallery 2. They are walking sticks with all sorts of carved and whittled handles, one of his specialities is the “Tickler” stick, which has a hook on the shaft to hold down electric fencing. (if you were a farmer, you’d know what I’m talking about). Manchán Magan had a lovely interview with him in the Irish Times recently…

“I’ve been at it for as long as I can remember, making sticks and selling them down the town,” says Barron. “You’d always get the old price of a pint. ’Tis very handy when things would be slack. I worked as a farm labourer when I was a gasún, and often a fellow would say, ‘Is there any ash sticks up above in those fields?’, and I just got into the habit then of making them…”

exhibition of carved walking sticks by Seanie Barron in the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin
Gallery 2, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin

So it’s well worth a visit to the Douglas Hyde Gallery at the moment. As you see in the photos above, it’s just a long line of walking sticks, leaning against the wall but have a good look at them, they’ll surely give you a lift. And have a read of that article/interview too at:


Your comments are always welcome.  Click on the little brown speech bubble up at the top right of this post and put your comment there. Slán go fóill, eoin






  1. Nothing more significant than practicality; and if you can fashion something both beautiful and practical, that’s magic; a combination of art and science. Thanks so much for this post.


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