Competition Formats & Equipment

Competition Formats and Equipment

There are two main forms of archery practiced in Ireland: target archery and field archery.

Target Archery

archery targets
An outdoor target competition range

Target archery is staged in an indoor hall or outdoor playing field. Targets are at set distances and the field is always flat.

The largest of these outdoor competitions in Ireland is the All Ireland Series. The event features six stages over two days. The first day is a 1440 round where archers shoot 36 arrows at 90m, 70m, 50m, and 30m for men and 70m, 60m, 50m, and 30m for women. Day two is a 720 round shot at 70m followed by a head-to-head knockout round. The top archers in each category qualify to shoot in the final which is a head-to-head format at 70m.

Field Archery

archers shooting
Archers shooting in a field competition

Field archery consists of a number of targets set in a course on undulating terrain, often in a forest. Each target differs in size, distance and angle. The archer shoots 3 arrows at each target before moving on to the next.

Bow Types

In world archery there are 5 distinct types of bow, and archers compete in classes based on these bow-types. Full definitions can be found in the rulebook at

Olympic Recurve

The common class of bow is the Olympic-style recurve. This bow has recurve shaped limbs and uses a sight and stabilisers.


The next most common bow is the compound. The compound bow is an advanced bow using a cam (pulley) system to create a faster and more accurate bow. This type of bow can use magnified sights, trigger-release aids and stabilisers.


A barebow is a modern recurve bow, like the Olympic-style bow, but without sights or stabilisers.


An instinctive bow is a bow made from wood but which can be “taken down”. Arrows can be wood, aluminium or carbon. No string- or face-walking is permitted.


A longbow is a more traditional type of bow It’s a single piece of wood with straight limbs and must be shot with wooden arrows.