HEMA Ireland affiliated groups are each led by an instructor or instructors who have passed a basic level Instructor assessment. All those listed here are currently affiliated Instructors, with a brief bit of background on each of them. They can either be contacted individually, or through us.
Please note that the list does not contain all of our assessed instructors, but currently only those who have supplied some background information on themselves for inclusion on the site.
Instructors are grouped by Province, please select the appropriate tab to see instructors for that area.
Matthew Malcolm is the founder of Medieval Combat Group and was a founding member of HEMA Ireland, acting as its Health and Safety Officer in its first 2 years. He has practiced HEMA since 2011 and has been teaching since 2012. His area of interest is the German Longsword from 14th and 15th Century sources: particularly Sigmund Ringeck and the Nuremburg Hausbuch. Matthew also has interests in the messer and sword and buckler.
Matthew has received the British Federation for Historical Swordplay’s Instructor Level 1 qualification and was instrumental in the development and implementation of HEMA Ireland’s instructor certificates. Matthew has taught at Feile na Gaiscigh 2014, presented at Borderlines XIX conference ‘Translating the Past’ at Queens University 2015, and successfully competed at SWASH 2013, FightCamp’s Eggleton Cup 2012, and the Irish Historical Fencing League 2016.
Ross Bailey was amongst the first of those assessed during HEMA Ireland’s inaugural basic level instructor assessment in early 2014. He came to HEMA after nine years of traditional Chinese martial arts, including several years as an assistant instructor, preceded by five years of sport fencing and assorted other martial arts training. Whilst he assists in the teaching of Early Liechtenauer tradition longsword at Medieval Combat Group in Belfast, and occasionally competes with the longsword, his primary focus is the langes messer (‘long knife’, similar to the weapon known in later centuries as a hunting sword), particularly the 15th century techniques of Johannes Lecküchner incorporating bladework with various ringen techniques.
Ross has taught workshops on the langes messer at Feile na Gaiscigh 2014, 2015, and 2016, Belfast Bladeworks 2015, and presented and demonstrated for Queen’s University, Belfast at the Borderlines XIX conference ‘Translating the Past’.
Francis McCaughan has been training in martial arts for the past seventeen years. He has a diverse range of experience, both as a student and instructor in several arts including traditional Ju Jitsu, submission wrestling and Japanese weapons systems.
He began practicing HEMA in 2013, joining Belfast’s Medieval Combat Group. After attaining his HEMA Ireland Level 1 Instructor qualification, he primarily focussed on researching and teaching ringen and rondel dagger material at Medieval Combat Group. Since moving from Belfast he has been working on establishing a new school: the Causeway Guild of Historical Martial Arts, based in Coleraine. The Causeway Guild will offer foundation level longsword and sword & buckler courses but it’s primary focus will be developing content for the rondel dagger, ringen, and classical pugilism.
Oliver Barker‘s original background in swordplay comes from Olympic-style epée fencing, in which he represented the University of York in the men’s first team from 1998 to 2001, serving as team captain from 2000 to 2001. He first began experimenting with HEMA in 1999, following the publication of Terry Brown’s “English Martial Arts”, and began more formal study in 2004 with The School of the Sword, focusing on 17th Century Italian rapier sources (primarily Francesco Alfieri and Salvatore Fabris) and the Bolognese School (Achille Marozzo, Antonio Manciolino and Giovanni dall’Agocchie, amongst others). He has taught, presented and/or competed at numerous events, including Swordfish, HEMAC Dijon, FightCamp, SWASH, SENI and the International Rapier Seminar. He has studied the longsword and langes messer since moving to Northern Ireland in 2013.
Harold Turner has been studying HEMA since 2013, with a previous several decades of experience in training and teaching Traditional Chinese Martial Arts and an in-depth understanding of body mechanics. Almost as soon as he started training in HEMA he followed his previous liking for staff weapons to research into staff and polearm weapons, particularly Meyer and Andre Paurenfeyndt. Whilst he continues to train in longsword and messer with Medieval Combat Group, his own training now focuses heavily on the staff.
Andrzej Rozycki is the founder of Cork Blademasters and an accredited HEMA Ireland instructor since 2014. His main interest lies in exploring Liechtenauer tradition of Kunst des Fechtens (German School of Fencing) – historical system of combat involving fighting with multiple weapons such as Longsword, Messer, Dagger, Polearms and Ringen (medieval wrestling). Currently focusing on teaching German Longsword from early Liechtenauer tradition (Ringeck, Nuremberg Hausbuch) but also working with one handed weapons (dussack, messer, sabre) as well. Andrzej has taught various workshops on German Longsword, Polearms and Ringen since 2014 and successfully competed in numerous tournaments (Feile na Gaiscigh 2014-2016; Fight Camp 2015-2016; Irish Historical Fencing League 2016).
Mattia Boiani started studying HEMA in Bologna (Italy) during September 2010, joining Sala d’Arme Achille Marozzo (SAAM). He focused his training upon learning about Italian authors, with particular interest for the school of Bologna, and more specifically the authors Achille Marozzo and Antonio Manciolino. In 2014 he moved to Ireland and joined Cork Blademasters, where he started to practice the German Longsword. Although no longer in Italy, he still remains in contact with SAAM, to maintain his knowledge of the Bolognese school. In 2016 Mattia became an official instructor for HEMA Ireland. In the future he also aims to be a 1st level instructor for SAAM. With regards to tournament success, in 2011 he achieved second place for sword and buckler at “Torneo Nazionale di Scherma Storica UISP”, and in 2015 achieved third place for steel longsword at “Féile na Gaiscígh”.
Michael Nolan began studying with Cork Blademasters in 2015. He has studied various Martial Arts in his life but now focuses on German Longsword in the Liechtenauer tradition and Yang style Tai Chi Chuan, but enjoys working with other HEMA based weapons, particularly polearms, knives and daggers.
He was quite good at shouting at people about the use of the cone of defence even before qualifying as an instructor.
He has competed with success in many competitions (Feile na Gaiscigh; Irish Historical Fencing League) and will draw things for you if you bring him tea.
Martin Buckley began his studies in January 2017 with Cork Blademasters. His main interests are German Longsword, Sabre and Ringen, but he enjoys all things H.E.M.A -from Knife to Sidesword, Pole Arm to Montante.
Soon after completing his beginners Longsword course, he claimed gold in the Novice Synthetic Longsword in the June 2017 Féile na Gaiscígh. He began 2018 by coming second in Tempest, and went on to win gold in the Synthetic Sabre Tournament. He finished the year on top of the internal league within Cork Blademasters. He completed his HEMA Ireland instructor assessment in early 2019.
Paul Reck has been teaching HEMA in the southeast for the past three years with Goats Head Historical Fencing. He first grew interested in swordplay as an aficionado of stage combat, he performed and arranged many stage fights over the years and discovered HEMA in an effort to improve this discipline, but quickly found it taking over as his primary area of interest. Paul’s martial interests vary, but his principle disciplines are Longsword and Sword & Buckler, in the traditions of Joachim Meyer and MS I.33, respectively. Paul is also very interested in Dussack, Sabre and Rapier in the tradition of La Verdedera Destreza.
Paul has taught at many events all over Ireland, including At ‘Feile Na Gaiscigh’ in 2016, and at Belfast Bladeworks in 2015. For more information on Goats Head Historical Fencing, please check out the group’s FaceBook Page.
Christine Maunsell started training with Cork BladeMasters in 2012. Under the guidance of Andrzej Rozycki Christine has competed at W3 (Warszawskie Warsztaty Walki), several events in the Nordic Fencing League and at Swordfish. Christine was the first female instructor in Ireland, qualifying with a Level 1 HEMA Ireland instructorship in 2014. Christine has also staffed at several events both in Ireland and internationally. She started judging at club level and has been refereeing since 2013. Christine has judged and staffed at W3 and at Swordfish. As the most qualified and experienced judge and referee in Ireland, Christine has taken the lead with refereeing and judging all the events in the Irish Historic Fencing League (IHFL).
Neil Byrne started fencing in college where he first studied foil in a sports fencing club. From there he progressed through reenactment, eventually moving to the study of HEMA. He has been running Dublin HEMA club for over four years. The club focuses on German Longsword and I.33 Sword & Buckler, with a little dabbling in the langes messer. Neil also organises Féile na Gaiscígh, Ireland’s biggest annual HEMA event.
Nadar Drejarski joined the Irish School of Historical Combat team at the beginning of 2015 from a back ground of Jui-jitsu and found he was a natural at Ringen, so studied it to pass his instructors examination less than a year later. After learning the fundamentals of the Longsword he moved on to the sabre, his country’s national weapon. Before long he was heading a small but dedicated study group in County Clare on techniques of the Polish sabre system and long with his fellow countryman Jerzy Miklaszewski from the ‘Silk fencing team’, who came over to help with the endeavour, created a workable teaching syllabus for the club. He has since spread his wings and moved to Dublin where he is involved in a Polish re-enactment group and hopes to start his own chapter of the club teaching the Sabre and Ringen.
Samuel Gassmann began studying HEMA in 2010 when he visited Arts of Mars in Germany. He continued visiting events and training in Switzerland until taking over the club Artes Certamninis in 2015. He and Ulisse Giannazi held a Ringen workshop in Swiss gathering 2014 focussed on teaching the fundamentals of wrestling. After he moved to Ireland he began visiting various clubs and competing, his area of expertise is Liechtenauer’s Longsword, foot and mounted, and Waite’s sabre.
Frank Haj is an instructor at, and one of the founders of, Swords of the West, one of the youngest groups in HEMA Ireland, based in Galway. As well as being a lifelong martial artist, Frank is a veteran of more than a decade of military service. His training has included Archery, Kenpo, Kendo, Filipino Martial Arts (FMA), Competitive Shooting, and most recently (2013) HEMA. Frank’s practice of HEMA focuses primarily on the works of Sigmund Ringeck and Joachim Meyer, with some material from Fiore, Tallhoffer, and Mair. An area of personal interest is dagger & knife combat from the period of the Renaissance to modern times, which he continues to research and work with regularly. He has presented material on knife work twice at HEMA Ireland meetups in Wexford and Cork to good reception. Frank believes training in HEMA should be both fun and productive, which shows in SotW’s curriculum and approach.
Hugh Kerrigan, head instructor at Leitrim Longswords, was introduced to swordplay at an early age, receiving formal training in foil, saber and to a lesser extent epee, from the age of about 3. In his teens he moved on regular, formal study of Japanese swordsmanship, and in his 20’s and 30’s futher diversified his training with other Japanese, Chinese, Thai, and Filipino martial arts.
Hugh began studying HEMA, in 2006, with the Irish chapter of the European Historical Combat Guild, which was at that time still focused on theatrical choreography but already beginning to adopt a more rounded HEMA curriculum. Since then Hugh has mainly focused on the Longsword, particularly German swordsmanship, but also explores other weapon arts when resources allow. He also currently assists with karate instruction at a local dojo where he’s been studying for the last three years, earning his black belt in 2016. His over-riding ethos on martial arts is that body mechanics and footwork are the foundations on which the rest is built, a principle on which Leitrim Longswords focuses strongly.
PJ McKenna has been a HEMA practitioner since 2013 and an instructor since 2016. He is a member of the Galway-based group Swords of the West, and focuses on Ringeck and Pseudo Von Danzig unarmoured longsword. He has a diverse martial arts background in Karate, Wing Chun Kung Fu, Escrima and Judo. Of all of the martial arts he has studied, PJ feels that HEMA, with its breadth and depth, offers the engagement and community that he feels the most at home in.
James Welfare has been practising HEMA for three years and is based in County Clare with the Irish School of Historical Combat. His martial arts background include judo and many hours of Tekken. He instructs in German Longsword, Sword and Buckler (loosely based on I.33) and British Regimental Sabre. Initially attracted to HEMA as a casual hobby, James has developed a keen interest in the competitive aspects of the art. He is especially interested in promoting tournament and league participation as a means of learning better technique and building a strong community of practitioners.
Adrian Gallagher is the second instructor and one of the founding members of Leitrim Longswords. Adrian has been studying swordplay for over 5 years, primarily the Liechtenauer tradition of German longsword. In this time he has also trained with polish sabre, small sword, shields and bucklers. Adrian has a fondness for all martial weapons and enjoys experimenting and sparing with a range of different weapon combinations. Adrian’s background lies in game design and development and he believes strongly in good sportsmanship, clear instruction and that all HEMA practitioners should enjoy the art of fighting.
Helen Gallagher began studying HEMA in late 2013 while living in Galway. After moving to Dundalk for work she continued her own personal training through research and attending events across the country. In this time she competed in several tournaments including Féile na Gaiscígh and placed highly in the inaugural year of the Irish Historical Fencing League. She was also awarded the Accolade from the fechtschule at Belfast Bladeworks in 2015 by vote of the other competing fencers. In 2017 she moved to Edmonton, Canada and spent a time training with The Academy of European Swordsmanship.
Since returning to Ireland she has settled (for now) in Westport. Her main area of interest is in Liechtenauer’s Longsword.