Eplaheimr is an Irish shire within the Society of Creative Anachronism (SCA) an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of medieval times. We cover the midlands region, (roughly from Limerick to Longford and Laois to Roscommon), with active cores in Shinrone, Co. Offaly, Clara, Co. Offaly, near Portlick outside Athlone and in The College of Kingeslake, a college branch in Athlone Institute of Technology, Co. Westmeath.
Were a group who are interested in all or some aspects of what life was like in the Middle Ages (up to 1600 AD) and who actively go about recreating them. We hold classes, run demos and hold events where we get together to explore the fun and interesting parts of the Medieval period without having to worry about the lack of plumbing, the plagues, unusual tortures, unpleasant laws etc. We are fortunate in Ireland to have active sister Shires and we participate actively in events hosted by them as well.
Well what sort of things do you like?
|If you like:||We have|
|Combat||Archery, rapier, cut and thrust, heavy combat, thrown weapons|
|Food and Drink||Recipe research, recipe redaction, brewing, feast cooking (event cooking with medieval recipes)|
|Textile Arts||Spinning, dyeing, weaving, garb making, pattern making, lucetting, tapestry, millinery, embroidery|
|Games||Board games, games of chance and even (gasp) gambling!|
|Scribal Arts||Calligraphy, paper making, illumination, ink making|
|Bardic performance, poetry, music & Dance||Bardic circles, competitions and an audience waiting to be enthralled|
|Crafts||Metalwork, stained glass, jewellery making, casting, minting, chandlery, armouring, bookbinding, bowering, carving, woodwork|
|Medieval Life and manners||Heraldry, traditions, court etiquette, chivalry|
The best thing about the SCA is that you are not working in a vaccuum, if you want to try something, someone can help if only to point you in the right direction. The research is in participation you actively go about learning the skills you want, immerse yourself in the period research and then actively create a persona to become in your journey to these Current Middle Ages; clothes, personal style, food and drink to partake of, desired skills etc. You get to choose how deeply you want to go into the recreation. We are, above all, a voluntary organisation of very enthusiastic and friendly people who selectively recreate medieval culture, choosing elements of the culture that interest and attract us.
Eplaheimr is one of three shires in Ireland, or, as it is known to us, Lough Devnaree. The other two Irish shires are Dun in Mara, which covers Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow and Meath and Glen Rathlin, which pretty much covers Ulster. Lough Devnaree is part of a larger Principality Insulae Draconis, which in turn is part of the European Kingdom of Drachenwald The SCA was started in 1966 in Berkeley, California by a group of science fiction and fantasy fans who wanted a theme party. Since 1966, the society has grown to include members in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Italy, Greece, Romania, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia. To find out more visit the global SCA site here
You dont have to join straight away, you can still participate without being a member. The easiest way to start getting involved is probably to come along to some of our classes, Kingeslake (Athlone IT) run an Arts & Sciences night on Wednesdays during term time. You do not need to be a student to attend and you dont need to be a master of any art, craft or science. Classes in the past have included Calligraphy, silk painting, brasswork, leatherwork, and banner making. Just check the calendar for details of classes this week (just in case heres a link to explain what are Arts and Sciences?)
We would also encourage anyone to jump straight in and attend an event our most common type of event are weekend events where we run archery, fencing and often heavy fighting competitions outside, while inside you might try any of our Arts and Sciences, listen to some storytelling, or just enjoy the atmosphere and join us for feast you can just come along for the day if a whole weekend seems too daunting.
An event is usually a themed weekend with a selection of typical SCA activities. We run events all over, for example there are regularly held events in Clara, Co. Offaly. There is accommodation (bunks, very comfortable) or crash space (somewhere to lay your head on the floor with your sleeping bag out of the elements with heating) The fee mentioned on each event page covers the whole weekend or the daytrip, including accommodation, food (breakfast, lunch and feast) and site costs. You may wish to bring your own snacks and drinks. We try to use tableware that fits in with the look and feel of medieval tableware, so wooden, pottery or pewter style dishes and cutlery, taking care to cover modern bottles and cans. We can loan you a set of tableware (feast gear) for your first event, it will be your responsibility for the weekend, you wash and dry it after each meal, each person taking care of their own setting.
A word of caution do please book in advance if you do decide to try an event we need to know youre coming to make sure theres room and to make sure the regulars know to keep an eye out for new people who would like to be introduced to what we do especially our Chatelaine, the officer responsible for making sure youre welcomed. The booking form will be clearly linked from each event announcement page. For classes, just check the calendar to make sure theres one on the week you are looking, the web minister will be trying very hard to make sure its accurate and up to date if in doubt just drop them an email.
Medieval clothes we all wear them and, as each event is about participation and not just looking on, you will need to too. Its surprising how fast you feel totally at home in medieval clotehs when everyone around you is too, and it really does help with the experience (I personally was a bit dubious, was won over about 15 minutes into my first event) We can organise loaner garb (the medieval clothes we wear) for new people, just let us know when you book.
The combat skills fencing and heavy fighting Fencing and Heavy fighting obviously need some training as we dont want preventable injuries to properly participate in these at an event you you need to have attended practices and become authorised that said, if youre dying to have a go there is usually someone on hand who may be able to introduce you to the beginners basics, let you handle some of the equipment and talk you through how to get properly involved.
Archery and thrown weapons The good news is that total beginners at their first event will be able to try and participate in archery and thrown weapons (knives and axes) at their first event. We just want you to make yourself and your previous experience known to the archery marshal and ensure that you attend very careful to their instructions on the day.
Arts and Sciences While folk are outside fighting with one another or sticking arrows in innocent targets, there are always folk inside carrying out the quiet business of their special projects, maybe while telling stories or just catching up with the news. There will usually be small classes at points during the day and most A&S minded folk will have a small project with them for newcomers to try, for example luceting, or beadwork. Some events are built around A&S classes, like Yuletide University.
Cooking If youre the sort of person usually found in the kitchen at parties, have no fear! The kitchen staff are all event attendees, volunteers who have decided to throw their lot onto the kitchen to prepare the wonderful medieval spreads we eat at lunch and feast. Volunteers are ALWAYS welcome, to help with the slicing and dicing or to wash a pot or two. You are guaranteed to learn a lot and to have a lovely, animated bunch of people to hang out with.
Storytelling and bardic performances After feast people will sing, tell stories, perform acts of witchcraft, and introduce you to the medieval world of entertainment without TV.