Irish Kerns
I was wondering if anyone could link me to any information about kerns or Irish footsoldiers from the 13th to 16th century (Primarily the 15th though). I am not very knowledgeable on this subject; thus I'd appreciate it if somebody could link me to the armour, weapons and clothes of these people. I've seen the illustrations on this website at some from the Osprey books but i was wondering if people could provide me with more detailed information.
Thanks and sorry if this is in the wrong thread![/code]
Hi Fergus. I'm afraid that information about kerns is very sparse. They generally didn't wear any armour, except for maybe a few who wore simple forms of helmets. Their main weapons were darts and javelins, but they also used bows, slings, spears, shields, and scians (daggers).

The main items of clothing consisted of the léine (linen tunic) and brat (woollen cloak). Other items of clothing were sometimes worn, these include; jackets, trews, hoods, and hats.

Here's a link to a reproduction of a typical Irish scian.

Last edited by Stephen Curtin on Sat 08 Jul, 2017 2:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
In 1521 Albrecht Dürer painted these fellows, supposed to be Irish Kerns

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I presume that the léine is the yellow tunic with baggy sleeves that the reenactor (see attachment) wears and the brat is the cloak- Is this historically correct as on Dürer's illustration the man on the far right seems to wear a long tunic, presumably the léine, and the brat seems to be a baggy shorter almost kaftan-like overtunic?

Would it thus be correct to say that the kern's léine is a long linen tunic and the brat is baggy wool overtunic/kaften (as seen in Dürer's illustration), or that the léine is a baggy tunic with the brat being a smaller item as seen in the reenactor's dress? Or perhaps both are correct?

Thank you Stephen and Peter for your information[/img]

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the leine in a linen shirt coloured with saffron, it is not an easy garment as the photos you have attached reveal, it require a large amount of material as it is very flowing, at least this is true for the XVIth century,

the brat is a shaggy mantle, that has the same function of a heavy overcoat,

the short jacket is called ionar, and as you can see it is a waist lenght jacket with open sleeves

all this items of dress are well attested in the XVIth century

the photo you have attached is a good example, for the brat you need a large rectangular mantle made of heavy and shaggy wool,

the Durer depiction cannot be taken as particularly accurate there are many more accurate depictions of kerns by english sources

i would suggest no armour at all, a round targe, a sword with a ring pommel, a scian, javelins and a short hunting bow as a weapons,

as Stephen has already said

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