Hello Deirdre and thanks for allowing me to interview you. I met you a number of years back through a local business qroup and when you visited us at 3D Archery Ireland to demonstrate your graphic design and web knowledge with us. You hadn't taken up archery back then but were considering it. . Anyway I will be asking you twenty questions, the first ten of which are what I ask in every interview.
So Deirdre, how did you get into archery?
Well I've long had a fascination with projectiles, and flying sticks. Growing up there was an assortment of Saturday TV shows set in Africa and the US Westerns too. In particular Robin of Sherwood. Whats to be done of a wet holiday time or weekend but woodcrafts so making bows and arrows count. Contrary to today's safety procedures, we ran around the fields, groves and ditches with bows and scoring by hitting each other beneath the knee with an arrow. Another game involved a Dunnes Stores plastic bag streamer attached to an arrow, the person who could shoot the farthest distance was deemed the winner. The streamer undulated would weave and spin wildly behind the arrow. More recently I participated in "have a goes" at holiday and historical venues. At 3D Archery Ireland I was so close to buying a bow. I contacted many archery clubs around the South East over the years. I had researched, received advice and was ready to buy my own bow when COVID hit. "I would never learn younger" as my Grandfather used to say. Sending out more queries to the clubs, Eddie Ryan from Wexford Archery surprised me by asking for my phone number to answer my many written questions. We spoke for ages and set a date to go to the woods. Eddie certainly got his steps total up that day as we did the full course. For his sins he walked me around the following week again. He arranged that I head out with Don, Helen, Lynn and some other Wexford Archery people the following week, the rest is history.
Your first shoot, where, when, with who etc?
My first shoot was at Dunbrody Archers, Tinnacarrick. It was a Standard Big Game 36 target competition. It was 3rd October 2021 and I shot with Mick Seery, Dave Leigh and "Everybody needs a Shane" all good people and fun times were had shooting off a cliff, and under the twisted hawthorns and small trees reaching over the ancient stone wall. It was awesome. I got cake!
Ha ha brilliant Deirdre, What has been your stand-out achery moment to date then?
Standing giggling in the rain, barely seeing the 3D Lizard type creature on the ground yards and yards away at Wexford Archery's Woodville woods in warm blinding rain that it was. Of course the day had been set as when at the first target I asked who was gonna score and Amber piped up that she can't do maths! Well seriously who can? Although being a cub was a perfectly good excuse anyway. They had travelled from Laois in the early hours for the pleasure of a rain soaking. And who would have thought there is so much adding and geometry in archery.
Your favourite shooting bow style and why?
My bow is a Bearpaw twinbow. with a wooden riser and limbs. I enjoy the traditional sight line, a hint of a primitive bow but with modern twist and speed.
Your proudest personal archery moment/s to date?
This changes depending upon the challenge. For the month prior I'd been working on my shoulder alignment. Also practising for an upcoming 2 arrow shoot. Most recently I scored a Personal Best at Wexford Archery 28 standard 3d shoot on November 27th.
What is the best thing about archery?
Archery makes me happy. It has brought me to forests I never visited before. It feels good to look at a spot some distance away, then being able to hit it, watching my arrow rotate and fly straight towards it at speed, Over the years my successful hits have been the near distances and since then they have gotten farther away with the arrows grouping closer together more consistently. There's always something to learn. I can apply my creative making skills too. Archery is fun.
Your favourite archery woods, course or venue Deirdre?
My earliest memories in life involves running around in forests, often with a bow and arrow. Wexford Archery's ancient trees I love. How many years has the ancient Yew watched everything? Or the old hedgerow trees alongside the stone walls in Dunbrody's woods? There is the forestry off the former fairways at Dargel Valley maintained by Wicklow Archers. I feel I would be remiss not to mention the Coolbawn woods of Slaney Archers. Okay, okay if it's got trees, I'm a fan!
The furthest distance you have travelled to an archery event to date?
Tipperary to the Galtee Archery range. 143km! I learned one of the most valuable archery lessons there. Dave McCaffery -Ashgrove Archers thaught me how to hold the string on my fingers properly thus eliminating the occasional finger pain on release, even in cold weather. There was cake!
It is what archery is all about Deirdre, someone always willing to help out, assist or advise. Do you excel at any other sport?
I enjoy cycling and swimming. I swam competitively in the past. So much early morning training. Summer beach guarding part funded much of my college education.
Re: Shoot events, do you like camping, tents, caravaning etc or are you a hotel person or travelling on the day despite the distance type of person?
I'm mostly a travel on the day archer. I really need my hot shower in the mornings. I did stay in Greystones overnight for the 2022 Irish Open Field Championships held at Wicklow Archery last May.
And now Deirdre, the next ten questions from the numbers you chose.
If you were not doing archery as a pastime, what other thing would be taking its place?
I'd be walking the Wexfords 80 km plus coastline and visiting historic and maybe megalithic sites around Ireland on many a weekend.
Your favourite place on the planet?
As children we used to sneak down the hedgerow, through a small field behind the neighbours to reach our tree forts. Today I own that little field beyond the apple trees. The ditches have evolved. There's a Sycamore now. one I transplanted way back then. I sit under it to draw, read, listen or observe. The grasses are for the most part unkempt allowing pheasants, badgers, and other critters to travel incognito during the seasons. Diagonally across the same field I sythed out my small 61 yard shooting space. If I prune the Bramley properly I may have an 80 yard shot from the car port. Beyond the boundary is a small protected bog, the brambles between have claimed a few arrows however. All year round there is always something happening down there.
Wow you've managed to paint a wonderful picture there Deirdre. You are fortunate to have such a lovely area on your doorstep.
Places you have visited to date?
Brussels, that's a city of contemporary buildings such as the European Parliament to quaint medieval chocolate bow architecture. Architectural contrast was the order of the day in Spain and France too. In Italy we stayed in a medieval walled village on a steep hill surrounded by Olive trees. In Florence the A1 and A2 printed event posters along the streets were wonderful as were the villages surrounded by vineyards. I have walked the streets of London exploring though over my time there, I didn't venture far outside besides a visit to Canterbury. One day I'd like to shoot some arrows in Sherwood Forest. Is that a thing? I've visited spots along the wild west coast of Ireland, ravaged by the Atlantic ocean from Cork to Connemara and I have lived in Limerick!
A funny thing that has happened to you?
Now would that be funny ha ha or funny peculiar Andrew?
40 or so yards to the 3d bear, he's looking left. I shot carefully towards the target. I heard the satisfying thwack of a hit. I'd hit the top of his rear over his back leg. As it settled (or so I thought) , I started to move forwards. but the arrow rose slowly, moved up and left to twice the height over the head, then changed direction, continued up and right between the two branches of a huge beech tree. I didn't hear it land or hit anything else. My arrow simply disappeared!
I just hate those deflected shots Deirdre!
Now next question, The most famous person you have met to date?
I've met and spoken to David Norris a few times in the library, out on the street or down in the pub. Those "Doxies" sure are ones to beware of! I've been to Aras An Uachtaráin to meet Mary McAleese - former President of Ireland. Trading sign language and smirks with future President of Ireland Mr Higgins. The Offspring across the Friary during Mass probably doesn't count! I burst into tears talking to Duncan Bannatyne - formerly of Dragons Den, not as a result of anything he said, it was at the end of a busy Women's Inspire Network event and it had been a long emotional day. At another series of seminars, I chatted with Erin McGregor - Dancing with the Stars and brother to that McGregor (Conor) At other networking events and seminars ~I have met Ann Doyle - a former RTE newsreader and artist. In the Wexford Arts Centre, I've met Colm Tobin and literally ran into author Owen Colfer in town. I once learned after our chat that the fellow was John Banville the writer. The thing is they don't call, they don't write. They have busy lives I guess, Hey ho I have my memories!
Your favourite story, book or author?
I've rarely met a book I don't like. My perusal of each page of the Book of Kells in person has always been breathtaking. What else is there to do in Dublin ha ha!
Now Deirdre If you won the lotto?
If i won the lotto I'd pay off my mortgage and send my parents on a trip to Australia. Mom has long commented she would like to see Koalas and other Oz critters in their natural environment as long as it's warm. Maybe send them to some other hot spot of their own choosing and then some...
What song or singer would you say best sums you up?
Gloria 'Gaynor - "I am what I am". It's a belter of a torch song with a fabulous core message and wonderful to dance to also. True Lady Gaga's - "Born this way" has a similar theme and is good for a giggle as well.
"This above all to thine ownself be true, an then it must follow as night follows day. Thou can'st not be false to anyone"- That's one from the other Bard William Shakespeare
If you had a warning label what would it be?
What you see is what you get and don't feed her greens!
And finally Deitdre, are you a glass half full or glass half empty type of person?
I'm a glass have full person, though like Mary Robinson - former President of Ireland "I'd want to know exactly what's in the glass!"
Thank you so much Deirdre, a great interview with equally great photos, and although we didn't cover it here, I hope you do get to fly helicopters some time and possibly own an small Airwolf or coast guard copter as is your dream and until then, keep them arrows flying straight and true.