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Japanese kendo fighter with with shinai

Galway Kendo Club

The History of Kendo in Galway


Galway  Kendo Club, the first of its kind in the west of Ireland,

had its start  at the halla of Scoil Mhuire, Moycullen,

in January 2010. The club was  founded by Patrick McGuire,

a former student of Daniel Ebihara sensei of  Ken-Zen,

New York. It was through Patrick's efforts and determined

instruction that dozens of students learned the basics

of Kendo, and in  the first few years a core band of

friends emerged, regularly gathering  after practice

for Ribenas at the nearby pub. 


As  soon as members began to wear armour,

Patrick connected with local  groups in Moycullen

and Galway city, organising demonstrations at the

University of Galway (then NUIG) and in town —

even as part of the  Moycullen St Patrick's Day parade,

much to the surprise and delight of  onlookers.

GKC also travelled religiously to Dublin and Cork to  participate in national events, and in the summer of 2012, we had the  honour of hosting the Irish National Kendo Championships, a major  undertaking for our young club (we would host once more in 2015).


With  the kind support of the Irish Kendo Federation, and in particular,  Gerard Bridgeman, Vincent Long, Jason Clouston, Kathryn Cassidy, and  Martin Kiosew sensei, the Club became part of a tight-knit and  enthusiastic national community, gaining exposure to a higher level of  kendo and steadily improving in skill and understanding over the years.  We are indebted to the efforts of many international sensei, including  Geoff Salmon and Terry Holt, both now sadly passed, as well as  unwavering friend to Irish Kendo, Dany Delepière sensei.


Having  found a new path in life, Patrick handed off leadership to senior  student Aaron Kelly in 2016. With Aaron moving on shortly afterwards,  twenty-year-old Daniel Mulcahy became the head instructor and Club  manager. An undergraduate at the University, he also established the  small but vibrant NUIG Kendo Club. In 2017, GKC moved to St Nicholas'  Parochial School, Waterside, allowing members of the university and city  clubs to engage in active exchange (come 2019, NUIGKC was officially  disbanded). In the same year, Daniel was selected for the Irish Squad,  going on to compete at a number of European Championships and  international competitions. In 2018, he had the honour of joining the  Irish delegation at the World Kendo Championships in Incheon, South  Korea.


2018 brought  Galway Kendo two more milestones. In February, we hosted the annual  seminar led by Tashiro Junichi sensei, kyoshi hachidan, one of the  highest grades attainable. And in October, with enough advanced  practitioners to form a judging panel, we held our very first beginner  (kyu) grading. Though many friends had come and gone through the years,  the proud smiles of the successful candidates were a sign of hope that  the Club would persist for years to come. After competing in the Irish  Nationals one final time – earning silver in the men's individuals –  Daniel moved to Japan to practice Kendo at the source, leaving things in  the capable hands of Daniel Nunn.


GKC  made a showing at the Sumi sensei seminar (the first time Ireland has  ever been visited by a hanshi, a kendo master of the highest rank) in  February 2020. Then, as with so much else in life, the Club went into  hibernation for a number of years. When training was once again  permitted in 2022, it was difficult to find a suitable venue, but we  persevered, eventually landing on the Salthill Knocknacarra GAA Club  hall. In the past year, we have been actively involving ourselves once  more in the Irish Kendo community, joining national events and receiving  instruction from senior practitioners from Dublin and Cork just like in  the old days. Our current members are of every age and level of  experience, but we are all united by a passion for this unique martial  art. We are excited to see what the future holds for Galway Kendo Club.  Why not join us in finding out?

2017 European Kendo Championships, Budap
2012 Moycullen Paddy's Day Parade_edited
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