At the end of 2009, I decided that it was time for me to establish my own business. In doing so, it was important for me to be able to offer services to my clients in a simple, neutral and objective way. It was also important for me to go back to my own roots in order to build a set of offerings that took advantage of my education, training, skills and experience while also encapsulating the things that I feel passionate about. I have incorporated these offerings into Blackthorn Services.
Blackthorn Language Services combines my university degrees, my years of experience as a teacher of English, my belief in the importance of accurate communication in business and my long experience as a partner in one of the world’s largest management consulting companies.
Blackthorn Consulting draws on my 30 years of IT and telecommunications industry experience. It also allows me to apply the experience of a large network of associates to the challenges and projects of my clients in a neutral and objective manner.
Blackthorn Text Services provides a set of offerings for document authoring and automation of the production repetitive documents such as proposals, brochures and marketing documents. Here we work closely with partner companies who deliver the necessary state-of-the-art technology.
Blackthorn Test & Diagnostics services is led by my wife and associate, Petra Healy, who brings with her 25 years of psychotherapy, psychology, sociology & pedagogic, intercultural communication, and quality management. It also draws on my motivational, analytical & communication skills in combination with my pedagogic training.
I chose the name “Blackthorn” for my company for a variety of reasons. The blackthorn tree (prunus spinosa) is a tree that most Irish people regard as typically Irish. It therefore represents my Irish origins. The Blackthorn also creates an automatic association with a variety of values and characteristics which I see in the services that we offer to our clients.
The blackthorn blooms early in the year and is therefore symbolic in the Irish tradition of emergence, renewal and positivism and its association with the Celtic feast of Imbolc (St. Brigid’s Day, Feb. 1st, start of Spring) representing purification and banishing. The services which we offer are transformational, forward looking and imaginative, helping our clients to approach the future constructively and positively.
The Blackthorn is also associated with protection. At Samhain (better known today as Halloween) when the Blackthorn’s berries (sloes) ripen, it can be used to create safe boundaries to provide protection from evil spirits. We see this as representing our focus on management of risk, ensuring quality and delivering as planned.
The Blackthorn also represents strength and perseverance. It is synonymous with assertiveness and obstinacy. For us at Blackthorn, this represents our dedication and commitment to our clients, providing the support that they need to achieve the results desired.
At Blackthorn Services we regard ourselves as multi-faceted, just like the Blackthorn itself. The flowers, fruit and wood of the Blackthorn are all used in a variety of ways:
Flowers: The blackthorn produces some of the earliest flowers of the year and stay in bloom for a long time. They are used to celebrate the fertility magic of May Day and bridal chambers are decorated with Blackthorn flowers in May, their musky scent stimulating desire.
Fruit: Although very bitter, sloes (the blackthorn fruit) loose much of this bitterness after the first couple of frosts. They can be used to make sauces (a bit like cranberry sauce) and jams and jellies but, above all, they can be used to make sloe gin –> Recipe.
Wood: Apart from its obvious uses for hedging, the best known use is for the manufacture of shillelaghs (traditional Irish weapon and walking stick) for which it is ideally suited due to its hardness to lightness ratio. –> Shillelagh