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 A hoard of Vikings took over the streets of the capital city today along with the Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn to warn commuters of the impending Battle of Clontarf Festival set to take place this Easter Weekend (19th-20th April). More than 500 Vikings will descend on St. Anne’s Park, Raheny as Dublin City Council is set to stage the largest-ever living history battle re-enactment in Ireland at the Battle of Clontarf Festival.  Over 40,000 visitors are expected to witness the spectacular clash of the Viking and Irish armies twice daily in the breathtaking battle re-enactments featuring over 500 living history re-enactors from all over the world.

“The Battle of Clontarf Festival will be held near the original battle site at St. Anne’s Park, Raheny, Dublin. Along with the battle re-enactments, the festival will also provide a feast for the senses with displays of Viking life including a complete medieval village with over 80 tents, skills and weapons demonstrations, a mounted display on horses, a Viking longboat, falconry, archery, food, music and much more offering an incredible two days of family fun and entertainment. This is set to be a spectacular event and offers something really unique to do over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend” commented Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn

Children will enjoy a range of exciting activities including a giant loom with visitors invited to participate in the ancient art of weaving to create a giant tapestry; Families will be invited to make their mark by creating their own Viking or Gaelic flag for an installation in the park; award winning artist Breda Marron will invite children to help her create a labyrinth from Irish willow; Visual artist Ger Clancy will show children how to prepare for battle by making a sword and shield and Niamh Lawlor, Pucca Puppets will host an interactive storytelling session for young children with face painting and a Brian Boru treasure hunt also taking place.

Along with plenty of family entertainment, visitors will enjoy a range of music from Ossia Youth Choir, Booka Brass Band, Prairie Dawgs and North Strand Kontra Band - offering the perfect weekend for a picnic in the park.

What you need to know about the Battle of Clontarf

  • The events that took place at the Battle of Clontarf on Good Friday, April 23rd, 1014 were the culmination of two centuries of strife, treachery, failed alliances and treaties between Irish kings and Vikings.
  • The Vikings first arrived in Ireland at the end of the 8th century, some two centuries before, initially plundering the monasteries for their treasures, livestock, food stores and slaves.
  • By the mid ninth century the Vikings established settlements around Ireland and engaged in trade and commerce. These settlements were to become Ireland’s earliest towns.
    There was opposition to the Viking presence in Ireland, not least in Munster where King Brian Boru had defeated their armies on several occasions.
  • Brian Boru was born in Killaloe Co. Clare between 927 and 941 and was aged between 73 and 84 when he died.
  • Brian was a clever politician and great battle general. His ambition was to rule over all the kingdoms of Ireland under as Ard Rí or High King of Ireland.
  • The result of the bloodiest day in ancient Ireland was a success for King Brian, although some 4,000 of his troops lay dead on the battlefield.
  • In contrast some 6,000 Leinster men and their Viking allies were slaughtered including many Viking leaders, with the exception of King Sitric of Dublin, who did not fight, waiting instead to defend the town in the event of attack.
  • 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. 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.
  • King Brian’s army drove the fleeing Vikings back towards the sea at Clontarf but though Brian had won the greatest victory of his long career, the Manx Viking Leader, Brodir, stumbled across his tent and slayed him with his axe.
  • Brodir was later captured and slaughtered in revenge by Ulf the Quarrelsome, possibly the younger brother of King Brian.
  • After the battle Máel Sechnaill II of the Uí Néill resumed his place as high king and the Viking king Sitric continued to rule over Dublin.

The Battle of Clontarf Festival will run from 11:00 - 19:00 each day in St. Anne’s Park Raheny. Dart will be running additional services with the closest stations to the event including Killester, Harmonstown and Raheny Dart Station.  Dublin Bus will also be running additional services on the 130 route which will drop passengers off on Mount Prospect Avenue. Mount Prospect Avenue will be closed from 10:00 - 20:00 each day to facilitate resident access and to ensure that the 130 bus route is maintained and kept clear. 

For updated information on the Battle of Clontarf Festival this Easter weekend (April 19th-20th)  visit the Dublin City Council Facebook page or Twitter.