Hello all and once again I find myself sitting in the hot seat and I mean literally the hot seat because I've only just discovered that the editors comfortable soft leather reclining chair has multiple massage and heating level options, mmmmm!
We are coming to the conclusion of 2022 and at the same time the first full year run of The Irish Field Archery Monthly magazine. It has been an extremely busy and eventful year as our pursuit, and that's what I call it for I do not believe it to be a merely sport alone, continues to gain in popularity. I like to think it's because it reaches people on many levels for many reasons. For me personally I can only wish I had discovered it sooner but nonetheless I'm truly grateful for what it has taught me, for the people I have met, for the friends I've made, and for the occasional yet necessary bouts of introspective reflection that I believe have helped me become a better person.
Along our journey we've had the privilege of having some fantastic contributors sharing their stories and lessons. Some writers come, some go, others are occasional, others are one-off. There's even the odd one or two that seem to be like that persistent irritating itch that just won't go away.....like that Stringfellow character. But everyone has a story to tell and I believe we are the richer and wiser because of that. None of us in TIFAM are professional journalists. This is a voluntary benevolent entity and the fact that we're still here I like to think demonstrates a mutual support amongst everyone involved in this wonderful activity. Whether you shoot or not there seems to be plenty of room nonetheless for the skills and qualities that so many can bring whether it is coaching, club /shoot administration, health and safety, equipment maintenance, making stuff, course set up & sign off, and even the occasional shoulder to offer and ear to bend.
On the range it's been an extremely busy year. we've had fantastic representation in the World Field Archery Championships in Estonia, The World Historical Archery Championships in Hungary, The European Indoor Archery Championships in Finland. Wexford Archery played host to UKIFAC. The European Bowhunter Championships saw many travel to Confolens, France. Dunbrody Archers had numbers swell for their increasingly popular and renowned weekend 100 3D.
Archery Ireland maintained a very intense program with Wicklow Archers hosting the Irish Open Field championships and then the Irish National Field Championships. Slaney Archers hosted the Irish Open 3D Championships and then the Irish National 3D Championships. There was an incredible performance at the Terni 2022 Rinehart World Archery 3D Championships despite the intense equipment compromising heat. Of course, everyone was kept busy with the various intervarsity, league and club shoots some of which I had the pleasure of partaking in.
Now I could continue in this vein and try and mention all the fantastic events that took place and the contributions made but I don't have enough room or time unfortunately and this is not meant to be a shoot summary piece anyway. No, this is an expression of thanks from us here in TIFAM to every one of you who make up and contribute to the archery community for without you we wouldn't exist.
I also mentioned earlier that none of us were professional journalists, that this is a voluntary publication. Not only are we grateful to you for helping us get this far, we are also reaching out to you again and others beyond to please share your stories and not be for one moment self-conscious of or intimidated and embarrassed by, the prospect of such. It could be a one-off tale, or maybe a budding idea for something more regular, in any case we have so much to learn from each other.
So, on that, I'll sign off for this year. I truly wish you all a safe and peaceful Christmas. I'm grateful for your company and the support many of you gave when I needed it and am so looking forward to sharing the line with you again in the new year.
All that remains now, as I recognize the footsteps on the stairs, is to hide the biscuit crumbs (yes, I found them) under the blotter on this magnificent mahogany desk, wipe off the mud left by my boot heels, hope that the coffee mug ring stain isn’t noticed and think of some way of pinning the whole mess on Andrew.
Please take care of yourselves!
By the way, a few words below from our other contributors.
Wishing every one in archery circles throughout Ireland and beyond a safe, fun and peaceful Christmas and all the very best to you all for the coming year.
I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and enjoy the holidays. Byeeeee!!
Merry Christmas to all my archery buddies, and I hope you all had as good a year as I did - may Santa and the Archery Gods continue to be good to you all!
As the new IFAF PRO and with the 3 new IFAF competitions (indoor, field and bowhunter) coming next year and I also have been invited to attend Parcours France (IFAA/FFTL) in August at the ski resort of Les Kerlélis (4 days: Field, Hunter, Standard and UAR), so you can expect more pictures taken with my beloved Mamyia C3! At the time you're reading this, I'll be in Brittany collecting my new hand-made English longbow: there will be a full article about this in the February issue. From now I wish you all an archery-tastic Christmas holiday and catch you next year. Archers, I salute you!
(TIFAM International Editor, IFAF International Rep, IFAA Secretary);
Festive greetings for the holiday season!
Looking back it's hard to comprehend how fast the past 12 months has gone. This year we returned to international archery as last experienced in 2019 with all three IFAA disciplines being covered by tournaments held in Europe*.
The European Indoor Archery Championships kicked off the IFAA season in March, with EIAC held in Seinäjoki, Finland. This tournament was not without it's challenges not least because of the lingering presence of Covid-19 and the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. Public health and travel concerns were at the forefront of minds of the Hosts and the participants. That said, the event went ahead and it was a veritable delight to be back shooting and catching up with fellow archers not seen in over two years!
Next came the European Bowhunter Championships, in June. It's hard to believe, but Covid-19 raised its head with a 'summer spike', and resulted in approximately 200 archers choosing not to participate based on final numbers after registration closed. Nevertheless, the first EBHC since 2018 and the event's return to Confolens, France, did not disappoint. For those who last visited in 2014 the tournament this summer held the same warmth and spirit of the IFAA family of archers. Everything from the opening ceremony culminating in the town square to the 'archers village's vibe to the variety of the ranges delivered on so many levels. In addition to the 'warm up song' - those of you who were there will know, for everyone else there's YouTube - the Hosts put on a twist with one of the ranges set in the heart of village of Saint-Germain-de-Confolens. Whilst not everyone's cup of tea but I would go as far to say it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shoot a range like it. I know I am sorry I wasn't one of the lucky archers that did get to shoot it!
Finally, the World Field Archery Championships, in Tahkuranna, Estonia rounded off the 'IFAA season' in Europe. This tournament was much anticipated not just because the last WFAC was held in 2018, in South Africa, but also because Estonia are superb IFAA Hosts. The event team on the ground made everyone feel so very welcome on a personal level. From an administrative perspective the event was run like a well oiled machine on the lead up to and throughout the tournament. My friends and archery counterparts raved about returning to Estonia... They were right to, it was first class! The additional benefit to Field Championships is that are smaller than their Bowhunter counterparts, this means you really do get a chance to meet and connect with people, not just those in your shooting group(s).
For those who cannot travel, the IFAAs Mail Match tournaments enable archers across the globe to participate within the IFAA framework. The World Indoor Archery Mail Match (WIAMM) comprises of 3 rounds of the Standard Indoor round, shot between December and May. Between the months of June and November, the World Outdoor Flint Archery Mail Match (WOFAMM) is rub over three rounds. For these competitions anyone can participate, you do not need to be a member of an IFAA association to register and submit scores. It is a great way of engaging with the IFAA for very little cost and with minimal effort.
As I look towards 2023 I see great times ahead... The World Indoor Championships in Kent, England, in February and the World Bowhunter Championships in Rovaniemi, Finland, in July. There will also the European Field Archery Championships later in the summer, details about this tournament will be published shortly on the IFAAs website:
To all archers, both near and far, I wish you all you wish for yourself over the festive season and throughout 2023.
*There were several other sanctioned IFAA Regional tournaments in 2023 including events held in North America, Latin America and Africa. Members of IFAA associations outside of their Region are generally allowed to shoot as guests providing there is sufficient places at the tournament. If anyone would like more information about participating in IFAA Regional tournaments outside of Europe please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Each passing day is another step in a journey I embarked on long, long ago. Sometimes it seems to me that what actually matters isn't some distant or nearer goal, but the very act of travelling, which is the self-emanation of an idea that has befallen many before me, and, needless to say, many, many more will succumb to it after my bones fade into dust and mire the land.
But that's life, we go forward without knowing the purpose of the journey or when it will conclude. We are a bit like the arrow leaving the bow, seemingly aware of its flight, but unable to see where and when it will find its mark.
Christmas and the New Year are the perfect grounds for retrospection or attempts at evaluation - I will spare you that today:) Let me just say that the past year has taught me a lot, both in the area of interpersonal relations and the fact that there are boundaries that should not be crossed, even in the face of doubt and growing difficulties…
Allow me, therefore, to join my colleagues in expressing my sincere thanks, especially to all those who have written for us, wishing us the very best, emphasising this in deed and in word, both spoken and written. Our contributors have brought us and our readers immeasurable joy in reading and the opportunity to enter their world, which they have so beautifully encapsulated in their writing. Allow me to mention here a few people whose writings have stayed with me for all these months: Dave McCaffrey and his Toxopholites Chronicles, Nick Anton's wise and knowledgeable articles, allowing everyone to gain and learn something valuable, Deidra Shannon with her great stories about nature, Andreas Callanan's passionate, humorous and insightful articles about LFAC and SIFA events, Stephen Wall Morris, whose ability to build tension in a story made an incredible impression on me… And All those whom I have not named here, but have helped us to create something extraordinary. I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to the clubs and friends from these clubs who have been of great help to us and have always supported our activities in one way or another: Valley Bowmen Archery Club, Laois Archery, Ashgrove Archers, Wicklow Archers, Slaney Archers, Marble Archers, Dolmen Archers, Harbour House Archery Club.
Thank you all and I wish you this Christmas and New Year to keep on being yourself, for you make the world a better and much more interesting place, easier to bear particularly in dark hours - a merit that cannot be measured by any currency for your sport is making others happy, thus the highest reward is a good thought and the gratitude that (I am sure of that) someday will come back to you. Merry Christmas And Happy New Year! Stay safe... and shoot straight.