The Design and Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI ) has launched its second Made Local campaign.
Following the enormous success of last year’s inaugural campaign, Made Local, a nationwide initiative developed by DCCI, will run throughout the summer and aims to once again spotlight some of Ireland’s most talented craftspeople, while boosting sales and driving revenue for makers and retailers alike.
Included in the initiative is Mayo based Derryhick Sticks, which is run by well-known local business man Paddy McGuinness. Stickmaking is the latest addition to the varied and enterprising life of McGuinness.
Originally from Carrickmacross in Monaghan, Paddy has lived in Castlebar since 1962 where he worked in the Post Office until 1976. Whilst in the Post Office he had started a retail business selling home decorating products.
In 1976 he resigned from the Civil Service and went into the business full-time. His décor business was an immediate success and over time he established the Albany Home Décor chain which today has outlets in thirty towns throughout the country.
When the time came to reduce his time in the décor trade, he started looking for a new challenge and came up with the idea of making walking sticks.
The concept of making walking sticks might seem strange to many but was completely normal to him as he had grown up the son of a third generation of gamekeepers.
Even as a young boy he would regularly use a stick as a beater at shoots or while exercising his father’s gundogs. The material for his sticks is sourced locally in neglected thickets, along riverbanks and from hedges along little used ‘bóreens.’ Every stick is totally traceable, is 100% Irish and is guaranteed handmade.
About his sticks, Paddy says “My sticks are different. The slogan ‘Created by Nature – finished by hand’ accurately describes the sticks.
"They are not the mass-produced sticks that one sees typically in gift shops. Neither do they compare with the intricately carved specimen sticks that often are specially commissioned.
"Instead, they are sticks for everyday use. Like ourselves, they may have little imperfections. They are rarely 100% straight and may even have an odd lump or bump. But they do have character and individual charm!” His stickmaking operation is based at a country cottage in the townland of Derryhick which is close to picturesque Pontoon – hence the name, Derryhick Sticks.