Irish Field Archery Federation

The home of Field Archery in Ireland

All these great things…

A story of LFAC

By Marcin Malek

Since I started writing about clubs I can’t help thinking that they are like people. With their ups and downs, sometimes inspiring others to take action, or becoming a shrill example for the rest. After all, I haven’t discovered America – as every creation contains a part of its creator. Looking at the Limerick club, I remain genuinely amazed, for its contemporary steersmen have given much more than a proverbial little of themselves, and indeed the best within them.

You see, the story of a club in a way is the story of its people. It tells of the hopes, fears, joys and sometimes rages, it is also a testimony of facing one’s limitations and an account of the invincible ambition driving many of us towards greater things.

Interestingly, these “great things” do not necessarily translate into tangible benefits. On the contrary, it is most often a triumph of the spirit, a humanism so deeply rooted within us and for so long that it usually goes unnoticed. Yet, by no means does this signify a lack of it. I see it clearly, it seeps into me by the sound of Limerick Archers’ words, in their emotion as they convey what happened to them. So read about their journey through recent history, and who knows, maybe you will find a piece of your own fortunes in their tale.

Limerick Field Archery Club came into being back in 2000, officially as a club under the name of Yeomen Archers. It was formed by a group of UL students finishing University and found there was no active club in the city and county to enjoy the sport of archery. All founders were members of the UL wolves Archery club which is still in existence today but primarily for UL students. We started under Archery Ireland stewarded by Yann, later, under Tom’s stewardship, we joined the IFAF, and then, as the wheels of fortune turned, stewarded by William we left IFAF to become part of SIFA, where we are still under James stewardship, with whom we re-joined IFAF as an affiliate club.

We had a rough time in the past few year’s with being robbed, which affected our membership level as we went from healthy 30 members down to only 8, thereby nearly causing the club closure. Almost all our targets were taken, virtually leaving us in a void. And, it is only thanks to a new generation of club members that we have managed to revive. A new committee has formed, and we started to get organised under the new name of Limerick Field Archery Club. We now look towards the future with hope, having increased our membership, which now stands at 101 people affiliated with both SIFA and IFAF. The club has 30 children as members of all ages, both boys and girls, who regularly soot our ground with their parents. We also work very closely with the local scout groups promoting Archery. So far we have had several trial sessions and training courses with these groups.

While our members do not currently participate in international competitions, there is a strong interest in doing so. To help facilitate their needs, our club has recently added a new permanent course within our grounds, set for Field, hunter, animal IFAA standard rounds to encourage more interest in these events. This year {2022} in June, some of our club members have organised a trip to Austria along with members from other clubs to check out some international courses.

And yet, only a few months ago, we did not know if or when we would be able to travel. Pandemic, as with many other clubs, proved to be a challenge but, let’s just say: we were a bit luckier than others. A few of our members are special Olympic athletes, so they were permitted to keep training, which allowed a club to remain relatively active. Our course maintenance team headed by James upheld the club grounds in good order during the lockdown. We also took delivery of a new clubhouse with the help of Andreas aided by other members living within the travel limits at the time. Since the lockdown ended, we’re in a strange position of having to say “NO” to people enquiring about joining in. Our Beginners Course is booked up until September 2022.

Although our club consists mainly of outdoor grounds with 6 different courses to shoot, we are also looking for a second indoor facility in the city, though due to Covid-19 we had to postpone our search, we intend to find such a place in the near future somewhere in the western part of the city.

As for the future, we see it in bright colours, currently working on improving the facilities around the range, including the new car park and camping grounds. We are hosting SIFA Championships this year, club members are working hard to make it a success. This requires a lot of effort but also brings a great deal of satisfaction.

Our club has recently included woodland bathing as part of the activities which were introduced by our oldest club member Finbar, who is at the ripe old age of 89 and is still a bull’s eye with his bow. We have also placed relaxing areas alongside our grounds where members can sit and enjoy the natural woodland. And this is just the beginning, we have lots of plans and ideas, the whole year scheduled in advance from bow, arrow, string making through the championship and many, many more.

With so much on offer and the months ahead well planned, Limerick Archers really have nothing to worry about. I like the kind of stoic approach to everyday life this club is founded on. To be at peace with oneself, nature and one’s fellow man – a truth as old as time, and what more could one ask for? Perhaps nothing but Apollo’s favour, to guide their arrows right to the chosen aim.