22 April 2014

Brian Boru Millennium Festival

Battle of Clontarf 2: Vikings take another beating 


 Over the two day battle re-enactment event over 60,000 came to watch  the 
 500  reenactors at St. Anne's Park.

They came, they saw, they eventually established Dublin, Waterford, Wexford, Limerick and Cork – and now the Vikings are back in North Dublin to re-enact the Battle of Clontarf a thousand years later in a re-match.
     Over 60,000 people attended the Easter weekend's first re-enactment of the battle between the Vikings and Irishmen, that featured 500 actor soldiers dressed in Viking and Irish period clothing. 
Viking waits for the signal to attack.
     The largest re-enactments ever staged in Ireland were held in St Anne’s Park close to the original battle site. The next big re-enactment event will be the Battle of Hasting, but its millennial event isn't until 2066.
The two-day Battle of Clontarf Festival included a medieval village with over 80 tents, skills and weapons demonstrations, a mounted display on horses, a Viking longboat, falconry, archery, food, music and events for the children.
     Tania Stewart attended the events with her sons, she said, “I think it’s absolutely brilliant, I was dying to come here because I’m half-Swedish and half-Irish – so I love the whole Celts and Vikings thing.” She was enthralled by the festival.
     Another spectator was Joe O’Neill and his children loved the festival, “They are having a ball- they are all just pirates to Jack, they are not Vikings at all,” Joe laughed. “It is a stunning event. I’m from Clontarf, but I haven’t been down this way in a long time, it’s great.”
Irishmen march under King Brian's banner.
     Re-enactor Russ Scott has taken part in historical battle re-enactments for 27 years across the globe. He said, “I did research on the Battle of Clontarf to put as much into the battle as we could and, with the 500 warriors we have on hand this weekend, we can bring in more realistic elements. Every group is here by invitation and we train to look good and fight well, but we don’t hurt people, although accidents do happen, but not very bad ones!”
     Donabate Community College history teacher Bryan Kelly and his brother, Cormac, took on a for-midable Viking with their hurls. Luckily though, it was only for a photo opportunity.
     "The battle was so good and the MC-ing especially was great," said Bryan. "Everyone seems to have a real in-depth knowledge of this history of the battle and they explained things well."
     The event was a success, said arts officer Ray Yates. "It's been an event where people can relax with their family and where there is lots to do for free, and I think that families really appreciated that," he said.
     The Battle of Clontarf took place on 23 April 1014, between the High-King of Ireland Brian Boru and an alliance of the king of Leinster, the king of Dublin and a Viking contingent from the Isle of Man, Orkney Islands and the isles of western Scotland. The battle is believed to have lasted all day, resulting in the deaths of almost all of the important figures on both sides. The Irish lost around 4,000 warriors, and the Viking side some 6,000. Brian Boru was killed, not in the bloody battle, but by the Manx Viking Leader, Brodir, who stumbled across his tent and slew Boru who had gone to his tent to pray and give thanks to God.
     Also the Battle of Clontarf was a family affair. Máel Sechnaill II of the Uí Néill, was the High-King who abdicated his crown to the king of Munster, Brian Boru in 1002. Máel was also the second husband of Gormflaith, sister of Máel na bo, king of Leinster, but he divorced her. Gormflaith then married Brian Boru, a political marriage to the mother of Sitric “Silkenbeard” Olafsson, king of Dublin, who was Brian's son-in-law having married Brian's daughter Slani. This marriage was hopefully an alliance with Dublin and Leinster. Brian and Gormflaith had a son Donncad (his parentage is debated, possibly the son of Brian's third wife). Gormflaith is also considered the instigator of the Leinster and Dublin kingdoms revolt.
The battle begins.
     The main Irish source of the Battle of Clontarf is the Cogadh Gaedhil re Gallaibh, which was written in the late 12th century and is thought to be a clever piece of O’Brien propaganda, which is okay if one is an O'Brien, but to others it is a tainted historical account. The Battle of Clontarf also features in the dramatic Icelandic text from the 13th century known as Njals Saga or The Story of Burnt Njal.
SOURCE IrishCentral.com & Herald.ie. Photos from these sources and Thyes Kavanagh



Women could be found among the warriors on both sides.
Victory for the Irish.



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