There's drama surrounding this Saturday's St. Patrick's Day parade at the Seattle Center, which is presented by the Irish Heritage Club (aka Society of the Friends of St. Patrick). It seems the Irish Heritage club has lost their shillelagh (shuh-LAY-lee), which they pass on to the club's new president at the festival every year. Again.

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A press release from the Irish Heritage Club describes the stick as having "an unusually large knot at the base" (this knot looks UNUSUALLY LIKE BALLS) and says that the stick was brought to Seattle by Irish immigrants in 1959. Mike McQuaid, this year's club president, "left the three-foot stick made of blackthorn wood in the back of his SUV late Tuesday night" outside his home in Queen Anne after a St. Patrick's Day planning meeting. "Early Wednesday morning," the press release continues, "he discovered the shillelagh was missing. And it is not insured."

An extremely similar press release went out in 2008, the last time it went missing—only that time it was stolen from a fundraising dinner function and turned back up just before 2009's parade with a note (courtesy of Mike McQuaid):

I sat alone on a table
My caretaker a bit unstable
In a fit of shenanigans
I was stowed away for safe-keepin'
To remind you that I am irreplaceable.
I created quite a stir
The shenanigans made the newspaper
I was only out for a little stint
Now I’m out to meet the new president
Be wary, friends of St Patrick are pranksters.
Wink wink, shrug shrug.

I asked McQuaid what motivation someone would have to steal it besides, like last year, a prank ending with a hastily-written, badly-rhymed note. "It looks cool," he responded, "have you seen pictures of it?"

The 1966 Irish Heritage Club president shows his unenthusiastic kids his gigantic fucking stick.
  • Irish Heritage Club
  • The 1966 Friends of St. Patrick President shows his unenthusiastic kids the shillelagh.

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McQuaid says that he locked the doors of his SUV with a remote-control keychain, and that nothing else was missing.

I suspect that this is an even more hastily-planned prank with probably an even shittier note, but just in case you know where the stick is, the Irish Heritage Club is offering a reward of up to $5,000. You can reach them by calling (206) 223-3608.

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