Shillelagh comes from the Irish place name of Síol Éalaigh, meaning ‘Descendants of Éalach’. The village was originally laid out by the Earls Fitzwilliam as an estate village for the nearby Coollattin House and Park.
Under the Fitzwilliams, in the 1830’s the Coollattin Estate was the largest single landholding in County Wicklow with over 90,000 acres covering one-fifth of the county of Wicklow and home to 20,000 tenants.
During the Great Famine in the mid 19th century, Lord Fitzwilliam embarked upon an ‘assisted migration’ programme whereby upwards of 6,000 tenants were cleared from the land and given passage to North America, in particular, to the Canadian province of Ontario.
In recent years, many ancestors of these families have returned under happier circumstances to visit where their forefathers lived. There are a large number of records detailing the lives of former tenants now digitised and available on the Coollattin Lives website. www.Coolattinlives.ie
The village housed many estate workers and was purposefully designed in an attractive picturesque style, creating an attractive streetscape with antique and Tudor style architectural detailing and incorporating natural features and landscaping.
At the core of the village is a large village green, now containing a playground, Shillelagh Stick sculpture and a fountain which was originally the centrepiece of the walled garden which served Coollattin House. Shillelagh represents over two centuries of developments in the areas of social, natural, political and industrial heritage.
For further information please visit: www.shillelagh.ie