The battle of clontarf in irish history and legend

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the battle of clontarf in irish history and legend

Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf by Seán Duffy

Brian Boru is the most famous Irish person before the modern era, whose death at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 is one of the few events in the whole of Irelands medieval history to retain a place in the popular imagination. Once, we were told that Brian, the great Christian king, gave his life in a battle on Good Friday against pagan Viking enemies whose defeat banished them from Ireland forever. More recent interpretations of the Battle of Clontarf have played down the role of the Vikings and portrayed it as merely the final act in a rebellion against Brian, the king of Munster, by his enemies in Leinster and Dublin.

This book proposes a far-reaching reassessment of Brian Boru and Clontarf. By examining Brians family history and tracing his career from its earliest days, it uncovers the origins of Brians greatness and explains precisely how he changed Irish political life forever.

Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf offers a new interpretation of the role of the Vikings in Irish affairs and explains how Brian emerged from obscurity to attain the high-kingship of Ireland because of his exploitation of the Viking presence. And it concludes that Clontarf was deemed a triumph, despite Brians death, because of what he averted--a major new Viking offensive in Ireland--on that fateful day.


I cannot recommend enough Sean Duffys book for its readability and the enormity of backbreaking historical scholarship lightly borne and compellingly presented.

Dr Pat Wallace, Director Emeritus of the National Museum of Ireland

This scholarly, sympathetic book expertly unpicks legend and propaganda to uncover the real figure, offering an important reassessment of his place in Irish history. Donnchadh O Corrain, Irish Times Weekend Review
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Battle of Clontarf: Brian Boru victorious, Irish & Viking. Hedge #12

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Seán Duffy

History of the Battle of Clontarf

Articles such as this one were acquired and published with the primary aim of expanding the information on Britannica. Although these articles may currently differ in style from others on the site, they allow us to provide wider coverage of topics sought by our readers, through a diverse range of trusted voices. These articles have not yet undergone the rigorous in-house editing or fact-checking and styling process to which most Britannica articles are customarily subjected. Questions or concerns? Interested in participating in the Publishing Partner Program? Let us know. Battle of Clontarf , April 23, , large military encounter fought near the modern Dublin suburb of Clontarf, between an Irish army led by Brian Boru and a coalition of the Irish kingdom of Leinster, the Hiberno-Scandinavian kingdom of Dublin, and Vikings from afar afield as Orkney.

The events that took place at the Battle of Clontarf on Good Friday, April 23, , were the culmination of two centuries of strife, treachery, failed alliances and treaties between Irish kings and Vikings. It lasted from sunrise to sunset and ended in a rout of the Viking and Leinster forces. Brian was killed as were his son, Murchad, and his grandson, Toirdelbach. Image: iStock. An antiquarian journal in the 18th century referenced the discovery of mass Viking graves with weaponry and human bones on Parnell Square.

The Battle of Clontarf in Irish history and legend. The Battle of Clontarf pitched the forces of the Munster over-king Brian Boru and his allies against the armies of north Leinster, Dublin, and Viking mercenaries and allies from across the sea. The Battle of Clontarf is a key.
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The most reliable sources for the Battle of Clontarf are the contemporary Irish annals U Brian Boru became high-king of Ireland in with many groups submitting to his overlordship by giving him hostages., Growing up as kids in Ireland we all read about the exploits of Brian Boru in school, but sometimes the fact and folklore can become clouded.

And we have a toffee-nosed tendency to assume the popular recollection of events is flawed. But is it always so? The life — and especially the death, 1, years ago this April — of Brian Boru is a case in point. Whatever his many other achievements, Brian Boru is remembered today for the Battle of Clontarf, and for being the hero who led his people to victory over their would-be conquerors. Unceremoniously debunked But this traditional interpretation has been under assault over the past 75 years, since Fr John Ryan, a professor of medieval Irish history at University College Dublin, published an essay in which he unceremoniously debunked the established understanding of the battle and claimed that it was little more than the culmination of a rebellion against Brian, the king of Munster, by the insubordinate king of Leinster and his Dublin sidekicks. This revisionist version has become so powerful that the opening scenes of a TG4 documentary on Clontarf, to be aired on Good Friday, subliminally reinforce it with footage of a Leinster-Munster rugby match — as much as to say that Clontarf was little more than a medieval interprovincial grudge match.

It lasted from sunrise to sunset, and ended in a rout of the Viking and Leinster forces. It is estimated that between 7, and 10, men were killed. Although Brian's forces were victorious, Brian himself was killed, as were his son Murchad and his grandson Toirdelbach. After the battle, the Vikings and the Kingdom of Dublin were reduced to a secondary power. Brian's family was temporarily eclipsed, and there was no undisputed High King of Ireland until the late 12th century. The battle was an important event in Irish history and is recorded in both Irish and Norse chronicles.



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