Viking Training in Swords.

That sounds like a bit of a quirky title…… but Fingal Living History Society hosted a training weekend in the grounds of Swords Castle, Co Dublin; and yes, some of the training involved sword fighting.
Mind you, there were also spears and axes, and Dane axes and a bill hook if my eyes didn’t deceive me!

1-DSCF3230 1-DSCF3218

There was a really good attendance for this training weekend. There were around fifty fighters representing groups from Dublin, Waterford, Cork, Downpatrick, Clare and also from England (apologies if I managed to miss anyone out there!).

The re-enactors use the training weekends to brush up on their weapons of choice, and also to learn other fight techniques. The less experienced fighters learn from the more experienced, and they get to practice as well. Here is a small selection of photos of the fighters playing in the castle grounds.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The training can be one on one, or as a groups of fighters against other groups.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There is also a huge social aspect to this event as it gives members of different groups to meet and socialise with each other.

But it’s not all about the fighters and their  toys; the crafters also get together for what is sometimes referred to as a ‘stitch and bitch’. I managed to teach some people how to nalbind, and a friend spent some time teaching a few of us how to finger braid with five loops. Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos, but I did find this site that has some instructions and pictures. The braids would have been used to decorate hems on garments.

Great weekend away with lots done; looking forward to the next event!

Battle of the Flags – UCC style!

For a number of years now University College Corks’ Medieval Renaissance Society (also known as UCC MedRen) have organised an annual event on University campus known as The Battle of the Flags. This event takes place early in the yea and re-enactors from all over Ireland come to Cork and do battle with an assortment of weapons. This year was no different.

1-DSCF3021  1-DSCF3039

The battle field was located on the Lower Grounds on the UCC campus, with the old college buildings overlooking it; the college provided a striking backdrop to the battles. We walked to the field along the Western Road in viking kit; to say that we got a few strange looks would be an understatement. Cars and buses were definitely slowing down, and pedestrians were giving us a wide berth. Can’t really imagine why!!

1-DSCF3038 1-DSCF3057

Weapons included spears, swords, axes and dane-axes to name a few. I should point out that these guys train regularly and have to pass assessments before they can fight on the battlefield. Health and safety has to take precedence.

1-DSCF3047        1-DSCF3043

The basic premise is simple; each team is given a flag and the aim of the battle is to engage the other teams and win their flag. Score is kept and the winners are the team that has taken the most flags for the duration of the battle.

1-DSCF3042  1-DSCF3027

With six teams fighting there was a lot going on, and it was hard to keep track of how things were going – just as well there were independent score keepers!
This was the first re-enactment event of 2013 in Ireland, and I believe a good time was had by all – especially in the social gathering after!