Maybe one of the pivotal moments in Irish history, the Battle of Clontarf ended the Viking threat ... or so the received wisdom goes. But did it? It was an important battle, but is often overrated due to nationalistic tendencies. And the only winners, at the end, were the Dublin Vikings ...
Brian Boru is chiefly remembered for two things in Ireland today - a. he was an Irish High king and b. he beat the Vikings. Which, all in all, sounds pretty good. But is only the bare bones of the story. Which also has a cruel twist. As High King Brian Boru really went out in a blaze of glory.
For two full days, Vikings camped, fought and died on the shores of Dublin Bay again - the re-fight of the Battle of Clontarf (though with considerably less casualties ... they were just having historical fun) was nothing short of epic. Hundreds of fighters, tens of thousands of spectators in brilliant sunshine. An event not to be missed ... see images at the Battle of Clontarf Festival gallery. At the moment of writing, you still have a chance to catch the festival and the final battle!
Want to take an Irish hero home with you? No need to try dodgy pick-up lines or trawl the bars, just hop over to our page dedicated to Brian Boru miniatures and souvenirs ... from the fantastic to the realistic.
We all know the history of the Vikings in Ireland - there they were, the peaceful, cultivated, God-fearing Celts, living in harmony with each other and the land ... when one morning a longship appeared on the horizon, illiterate bearded men wearing bearskins and horned helmets jumped onto the beach and started a long career in the raping and pillaging business. Only it wasn't so.
Take Dublin for instance, this area only really started to become important through the efforts of invaders - one of the first Viking settlements in Ireland, the area at the confluence of Liffey and Poddle provided a safe harbour and room for a town on higher ground. Hence Viking Dublin ...
To make it short - it shouldn't! I personally find it very annoying that almost every year the celebrations of the Easter Rising are held on the wrong date. Because they are somehow linked to Easter. And as if to add insult to injury the historical events that took place on Easter Monday in 1916 ... are now remembered on Easter Sunday. Come on, even the Soviets managed to celebrate the October Revolution in November!
Well, now I vented my spleen, what do you think? When should the Easter Rising be celebrated?
For two full days, Vikings will take over the shores of Dublin Bay again, on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th. Many hundred reenactors will assemble to present Viking life around 1014 to the visitors. And to re-fight the Battle of Clontarf (though with considerably less casualties ... they are just having historical fun). More information on the official Clontarf website. If you had nothing planned for the weekend ... now you have!
The Republic of Ireland Act 1948, which explicitly declared Ireland to be a republic, plain and simple, marks the moment when Ireland became a true republic. It scrapped all Imperial trappings and gave the President of Ireland the power to exercise the executive authority of the state in its external relations (but only following the advice of the Government of Ireland). This act was actually signed into law in late 1948 ... but only came into force on April 18th, 1949 - then Easter Monday. So, today the Republic of Ireland reaches the 65th birthday ...
In two days' time one of those specifically Irish planning dilemmas will come to pass. Good Friday, one of the Catholic church's highest feast days ... and in Ireland basically just another day. With less alcohol. But there are differences between North and South. Is Good Friday a holiday or just a holy day? Well, the answer is somewhere in the middle.
This April sees the anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf ... a major event in Irish medieval history and the end of the career for High King Brian Boru. So, time to party. And an epic party it will be:
For two full days, Vikings will take over the shores of Dublin Bay again, this coming weekend. Many hundred reenactors will assemble to present Viking life around 1014 to the visitors. And to re-fight the Battle of Clontarf (though with considerably less casualties ... they are just having historical fun). More information on the official Clontarf website.