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The Battle of Clontarf 23rd April 1014
The Battle of Clontarf Build-Up
The Battle of Clontarf took place at the break of dawn in Clontarf outside Dublin on Good Friday, 23 April 1014. The Battle of Clontarf is one of the most famous events and was the greatest battle in early Irish history.
In this clash, Brian Boru and the forces of Munster together with Viking allies were pitched against the Viking armies of Dublin, Máel Mórda mac Murchada, King of Leinster and Viking mercenaries from Iceland and Normandy, the Orkney Islands and the Isle of Man.
At this time, Brian Boru, also known as Bryan Boru, High King of Ireland, regarded as a national hero, was working his way to renew peace in Ireland and unite the unruly clans under his rule.
Ready for Battle
Brian Boru's enemies rose in revolt against him on Good Friday morning in 1014 as the Battle of Clontarf approached. Brian gathered his troops and gave an inspiring speech before leading his men into battle. The battle ground consisted of many smaller battles, the fighting was fierce and brutal and lasted until the break of day.
The Battle of Clontarf claimed the lives of over 10,000 people. While praying for battle victory, High King Brian Boru (Bryan Boru) was slain in his tent by a passing Viking, Brodir of Man. He was triumphant on the day but he made the ultimate sacrifice in losing his own life.
The Battle of Clontarf is a key event in the history of the Vikings as it ended the power of the Vikings in Ireland as well as being the final chapter in the dramatic career of the Greatest High King of Ireland Brian Boru.
There was much resistance and many battles in the decades that led up to The Battle of Clontarf. Brian Boru (Bryan Boru) and the Dal gCais had been fighting the Vikings, who had occupied parts of his country from his youth. From the earlier days in county Clare, together with his brother, Mahon he had defeated them in The Battle of Sulcoit. After Mahon was murdered by the same, seeking revenge he fought them in The Battle of Bealach Leachta, which was a major victory for him and put him in contention for the position of Ard Rí (High King) of Ireland. Soon after this victory, Brian and his army overpowered the remaining Norse army in Munster at The Battle of Cathair Cuan, slaying the rest of Ivar, the Viking King of Limerick's lineage....read more
As the Vikings converged on Dublin, Brian’s army grew in strength in the winter of 1013 for the 1014 campaign. Brian had sent word to his allies, the great Irish Clans and his Viking allies. Among those who responded and marched to Clontarf were the Chieftain, Tadhg Mór O'Kelly of the O'Kelly’s of Uí Maine. Ready for battle, Brian’s army neared Dublin in 2014, Brian was dealt a shocking blow, due to some disagreement the former High King Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill and the men of Meath withdrew from his army. But they pressed on arriving outside Dublin to set up camp near Kilmainham for the night....read more
The Battle of Clontarf was the watershed of all the rivalries and division that had consumed Ireland for centuries. A period of peace followed where the Celtic chieftains and the Vikings lived together in harmony, focusing on greater integration. The only surviving leader of the rebel side was Sytrygg of Dublin, who had sent his soldiers into battle while staying inside the walls of Dublin himself, he continued to reign in Dublin for another 30 years....read more
Mael Sechnaill regained his position, reaffirming himself as High King of Ireland once again until he died eight years later in 1022. The Dal gCais remained powerful in Munster after the death of their leader Brian Boru (Bryan Boru). The Viking presence continued in Ireland after Brian’s death but their military control and influence was no longer a threat. They remained in the country, intermarried amonst the native irish and ruled from their coastal settlements of Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford. Still great warriors as well as traders and farners, they hired out their armies as mercenaries to other clans both....read more
The Battle of Sulcoit fought in County Tipperary was a ruthless battle between the Dal gCais and the Viking Norse of Limerick. Brian Boru (Bryan Boru) together with his brother Mahon led the Dal gCais against the Vikings of Limerick led by their Viking King Ivar. As Mahon had made a truce with the Vikings, Brian was devastated having seen his mother brutally murdered by the Vikings. The brothers split and eventually Mahon asked the young Brian to leave his side. Brian did so taking a small band of supporters with him, and as word spread his army grew in strength. ...read more
Thank you Stephanie! I have been meaning to write you a note and have been so crazy with work since we returned. The trip was unbelievable! We had a wonderful time and loved every minute of the trip.
Andrea Stevens, Plantation, Florida