There are few more appropriate settings to try the noble sport of archery than the magnificent surroundings of Ashford Castle and The Lodge at Ashford Castle. A historic pursuit, archery is included in the wide range of activities available on the estate, and all guests over the age of seven are welcome to join in. Visitors will have access to the best equipment, and, in the case of wet weather, an indoor archery centre has been designed in line with British Grand Championship guidelines. Before you pick up your bow and arrow, prepare yourself with these lesser-known archery facts.
1. An archer can also be called a Toxophilite, a word that originates from the Greek for ‘lover of the bow.’ The earliest known book on archery, titled ‘Toxophilus,’ was published in 1545 and written by Roger Ascham.
2. Archery is an ancient art that can be traced back centuries. Bows and arrows were the weapons of choice for the Babylonians in 2340BC but, thanks to the excavation of arrowheads in Africa, it’s believed that the practice dates back over 25,000 years.
3. Bhutan is the only country in the world where archery is the national sport. As Bhutan is a Buddhist nation, a bow and arrow would never be used for warfare, but the practice is still enjoyed as a sporting pursuit.
4. At the 1904 Olympics in St Louis, archery was the only sport that women could compete in. Eight years later, a women’s swimming competition was added, followed by athletics in the 1920s.
5. Archery was removed from the Olympic games during the 1920s on account of irregularity concerning the rules used and equipment available on an international scale. Fortunately, it was reintroduced in 1972 and is still a popular part of the games today.
6. To date, South Korea holds the most Olympic gold medals for archery, with a current total of 23.
7. Archery is a sport beloved by British monarchs and nobility. Henry VIII had such a passion for the sport that, during his reign, men were obliged to practice their archery skills every Sunday after church.
8. It might look threatening, but archery is in fact one of the safest sports. With statistics accounting for one injury in every 2,000 archers, the sport is said to be safer that both golf and bowling.
9. Splitting your competitor’s arrow with another arrow is known in archery as a ‘Robin Hood,’ who is said to have performed this stunt himself.
10. Archery has featured in plenty of Hollywood blockbusters, including Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games and Rambo. Hunger Games actress Jennifer Lawrence was trained by American Olympic archer Khatuna Lorig in preparation for her role as Katniss Everdeen.
Image Credits: All images courtesy of Red Carnation Hotels.