Bladeworks 2024 – Aftermath

And Bladeworks is done for another year! From our point of view, the event was a resounding success – We had attendees from all over Ireland, north and south, England, the Netherlands, and the US, and a lot of excellent instructors, giving us a venue filled with all manner of HEMA-ists having fun, getting in some excellent technical training, and generally just enjoying the weekend.

The awesome group of fencers who came along for Bladeworks 2025.
The awesome group of fencers who came along for Bladeworks 2025.

We have to say a huge thanks to Arto Fama from Zwaard & Steen for the excellent keynote workshops on the longsword. We’d had nothing but absolutely glowing reviews of them, and in general of Arto and the contingent from Zwaard & Steen who came over. Honestly some of our favourite HEMAists and absolutely lovely people.

Speaking of, we were delighted to also have Chris Halpin and Lauren Ireland from York School of Defence teaching this year, catch wrestling and messer respectively. Again, absolutely glowing reviews about the level of technical instruction, how much fun they were. And likewise, so many good things about the Exiles Galway’s Tom Gorman’s polearm class, HEMA Ireland’s Helen Gallagher’s mixed level longsword class, and our own Oliver Barker’s sidesword class.

We ran our usual fechtschule tournaments – one for beginners longsword, one for mixed steel single handed swords, and one for steel longsword. There was some absolutely beautiful fencing on display in all of them, and whilst the steel longsword certainly had the highest number of participants, and an excellent skill level, I think the highlight for us was a new introduction to the beginners fechtschule. The Boss Fight! As we had lower numbers of beginners this year, rather than have the beginners fechtschule run really quite short, we let it run for enough time that everyone had fenced everyone else sufficiently, and then introduced our Free Scholar Ross McKane as a Boss Fight for them all to pit themselves against. Whether its Ross or someone else, we’ll definitely be doing it again next year!

And of course Bladeworks wouldn’t be Bladeworks without the social element. We love getting to just relax and socialise with everyone at the end of a long day of training, without anyone having to worry about transport, taxis, or finding a venue for everyone to socialise in. We got to catch up with so many fencers we haven’t seen in ages, reconnect with guests from last year, and meet some excellent new faces.

The dates are already pencilled in with the venue for next year’s Bladeworks, 30th May to 1st June! But for the next month or two at least, we’ll be turning our attention to other things and taking a well-earned rest from event organisation!