Newstalk
Newstalk

15.21 15 Apr 2014


Share this article


It's now been an even 1,000 years since the great Battle of Clontarf. This clash, which has become a defining moment in the history of early Ireland, immortalised Brian Boru as one of Ireland's legendary figures. But many of the details of the battle are still unknown or contested - and here are some you might not know about.

It's all propaganda!

Though traditionally billed as the day Brian Boru rid Ireland of the Vikings, this is now regarded as propaganda commissioned by Brian’s grandson in Cogadh Gaedhil re Gallaibh (The War of the Irish with the Foreigners.) It was more a battle between Brian’s Munster faction and the forces of Dublin and Leinster - so if you ever hear it being compared to a rugby match, this is why!

Viking villains

History has been a bit cruel on the poor old Vikings, really. Here’s a sample description of the Vikings from Cogadh Gaedhil re Gallaibh:

In reality, the Vikings fought on both sides of the battle and later continued to live in Dublin and Ireland’s other major towns. Snakes are one thing, but ridding your country of Vikings is quite another.

The Death of Brian

It’s still up for debate as to how exactly Brian died. At 73 years of age, it seems unlikely it was due to any battlefield heroics - and while the most common story has him killed in his tent during Good Friday prayers, even this might be more Christian allegory than truth. 

What we do know is that his body was taken to Swords, after which it was moved to Armagh, where he was interred in what is now St Patrick’s Cathedral.

Image: brianborumillennium.ie

Demons and the dead

Witches and demons roamed the battlefield, searching for dead bodies. Well, probably not, but that’s what some sources say. Writers do get carried away with themselves sometimes.

O'Connell's carry-on

In 1843, Daniel O’Connell planned a gathering at Clontarf, after the success of his ‘monster’ meeting at Tara. It was banned by Prime Minister Robert Peel, who no doubt objected to the parallels being drawn.

And they weren't all yellow... 

Despite the name of the battle, only a small part of it was actually fought in Clontarf. The actual site of battle was closer to modern day Phibsboro. The association with Clontarf mainly comes from the Vikings using it as a landing point for their longboats. And no, they weren't blue and yellow!


Share this article


Read more about

News

Most Popular

Live: Title

Now playing

00:00:00 / 00:00:00
Added to queue
Removed from queue

On Air

Share

Share


Up next

Episode title
Show
Duration

You currently have no podcasts in your queue.

Go to podcasts

On Air

The Tom Dunne Show

The Tom Dunne Show

22:00-00:00

Share

Up next

BEST OF NEWSTALK

BEST OF NEWSTALK

00:00-06:00

Share

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

06:00-06:30

Share

BREAKFAST BUSINESS

BREAKFAST BUSINESS

06:30-07:00

Share

NEWSTALK BREAKFAST

NEWSTALK BREAKFAST

07:00-09:00

Share

THE PAT KENNY SHOW

THE PAT KENNY SHOW

09:00-12:00

Share

LUNCHTIME LIVE

LUNCHTIME LIVE

12:00-14:00

Share

MONCRIEFF

MONCRIEFF

14:00-16:00

Share

THE HARD SHOULDER

THE HARD SHOULDER

16:00-19:00

Share

OFF THE BALL

OFF THE BALL

19:00-21:00

Share

THE TOM DUNNE SHOW

THE TOM DUNNE SHOW

21:00-23:00

Share

BEST OF NEWSTALK

BEST OF NEWSTALK

23:00-00:00

Share

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Share on