Féile na Gaiscígh 2024

A small group of us from Medieval Combat Group headed down to Féile na Gaiscígh in Dublin on the first weekend of May. Barring a break over COVID, Féile na Gaiscígh is the longest running HEMA event on the island, starting back in November 2014 (Happy 10-ish years!), and it was great to see it returning this year.

As the first Féile back after the COVID break, the event was a bit smaller than previous, one day rather than multiple, and focused on three tournaments:

  • A beginners tournament (less than 1 year of training if you’ve competed before, or less than 2 years of training if you’ve never entered a formal tournament before),
  • A women’s steel longsword tournament, and
  • A teams tournament, which was a new format for the island. This was a teams relay style series of 1v1 matches, working its way through teams of three, each team consisting of 2 longsword fencers and 1 fencer armed with something else – usually rapier/sidesword and dagger, sword and buckler, or sabre.

The staff at Dublin HEMA Club outdid themselves, with excellent and clear organisation throughout the day, and a really smooth running event. Our head instructor Matthew helped out a little with refereeing and line judging, one of our other instructors, Ross, helped out a little with line judging, and one of our beginners, Chris, entered the beginners tournament.

We’re absolutely delighted that Chris did exceptionally well, taking the gold medal in the beginners tournament after some very closely fought bouts.

All in all, it was an exceptionally fun day – we saw some great fencing, we got to catch up with some fencers we haven’t seen in years, we met some new faces, and one of our students brought home a medal. Again huge thanks to Dublin HEMA Club for hosting the event, and making such a great job of the organisation throughout the day that made it so easy to come along and get stuck in, whether into the fencing or the judging/reffing.

There are a lot of Open Longsword tournaments on the calendar on the island, so having something in a fairly central location like Dublin on a Saturday that caters to beginners and women’s tournaments on a weekend day (so relatively easy to get to, and doable in a single day if you have other time constraints for attending), and offers something a bit different than another open longsword for everyone else, we think is a huge bonus for the Irish calendar.

Looking forward to 2025!