National Governing Body for F-Class, Target Rifle, Match Rifle, Blackpowder & Benchrest Shooting in Ireland
The site of the Midlands National Shooting Centre of Ireland was founded in 1993. It was the remains of a cut away bog owned by Bord na Mona. The site was very wet (swamp) and not suitable for forestry or agriculture, but it was ideal for bullets to fly through its air space. On surveying this property, it was quickly noticed that there was a large vein of sand on the site. This sand would soon prove to be as valuable as gold for the building of a rifle range.
Unfortunately, at that time, the sand could not be reached by machinery because of the very wet land. The first step was to drain the site, which was extremely difficult and took several years. Machinery sank and was almost lost during that time. When the site became accessible, it was time to build a rifle range. Thanks to the voluntary work and goodwill of fellow shooters and friends, a 600 yard range with several shooting facilities were built.
At this time in Ireland, the only rifles allowed were .22-250 up to .270 calibre, and the only people to have them were deer hunters. This was not much to go on, but it was a start. As the years passed, members obtained firearms more suitable for target shooting. Gone were the days of having to have a deer hunting permit to get a centre fire rifle. We now had target rifles, and soon after, the authorities allowed any caliber. At last, .308 etc. were now available to the Irish shooter. The authorities in Ireland accept F-Class and other disciplines as valid target sports. Many thanks to them and the work by many from all over the island of Ireland.
Now that Ireland had a range, firearms, etc., all we needed was competition on a Club, National and International level. We needed an association; therefore, the N.R.A. Ireland was duly founded in 2000. The association was founded to promote long range shooting in Ireland. The NRAI was the only association in Ireland shooting F-Class and other long range target sports at that time, and remains to this day in Ireland. The NRAI became the National Governing Body for this particular sport in Ireland. However, the road to international recognition was a long and bumpy one - fraught with complications, which were eventually resolved in 2007. Today, the NRAI is a thriving association growing in numbers and strength. It has successfully promoted its sport all across Ireland and has great hopes for the future. The NRAI looks forward to hosting a world championship in the future.