Counties come together to commemorate Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf

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Counties come together to commemorate Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf - Announcement of Ireland’s Brian Boru Programme 2014

The largest ever medieval battle re-enactment to be staged in Ireland, ‘To Crown a King’ in Cashel; the ‘Viking Big Dig’ in Dublin and ‘Féile Brian Boru’ in Killaloe, County Clare are just some of the exciting events planned to commemorate Brian Boru and the millennium of the Battle of Clontarf.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn joined Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan T.D. earlier today at Trinity College Dublin, to announce the major programme of festivals and events which will run throughout the millennium year 2014 at nationwide locations with close associations with the life and death Brian Boru,

It has been compiled by a steering group of community and voluntary organisations and national cultural institutions working with Dublin City Council, Tipperary North County Council, Clare County Council and Armagh City & District Council with the support of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the North South Ministerial Council.

Speaking on the year ahead, Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn said “The millennium of the Battle of Clontarf and the series of commemorative events will stimulate a renewed interest in Ireland’s medieval history, the enduring fascination with Brian Boru and his role in the emergence of Dublin as the capital of Ireland.  Dublin City Council welcomes this opportunity to work with other Local Authorities and we look forward to the development of a successful North - South tourism initiative.”

Speaking in advance of the launch, Minister Deenihan said: "I am delighted to be able to join in the announcement of this programme which includes events of both national and local impact.  The enthusiasm of local communities, combined with the input of our National Cultural Institutions, particularly the year long exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland in Kildare Street will no doubt attract many visitors from overseas who wish to experience Ireland’s cultural heritage. The story of the Battle of Clontarf is one that still reverberates through our neighbours, particularly in Scandinavia, Iceland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, and this millennium anniversary is an ideal opportunity to encourage people from these places to visit and explore our shared history and culture. Ireland has some of the most precious Viking artefacts in the world and anyone with an interest in this period of history should visit our national and regional museums to see the treasures on display, some of which will be shown for the first time during this festival.”

Mayor of North Tipperary County Council, Cllr. Ger Darcy said “As 2014 marks the 1000th anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf and the death of Brian Boru, plans are afoot to commemorate Ireland’s greatest High King at his birth place in Killaloe/Ballina with an excellent programme of events. I would like to congratulate all those involved in the initiative in Killaloe/Ballina and also Clontarf, Armagh, and Cashel who have worked together in planning the millennium commemorations.”

Lord Mayor of Armagh City and District Council, Councillor Robert Turner, said:
"As the final resting place of Brian Boru - as was always his wish - the ancient Cathedral City of Armagh has a vital role to play in the millennium celebrations.  On behalf of every citizen in Armagh, I'm delighted and proud to be playing such an important part in this exciting anniversary festival of events. This is a great opportunity for everyone across Ireland and beyond to learn more about one of our most important historical figures and to commemorate and celebrate his life."


Notes to the Editor:

The nationwide programme of commemorative events will centre on four main locations with connections to the life and High Kingship of Irelands best known historical medieval figure; Cashel where Brian  was crowned High King of Ireland ,  Killaloe/Ballina in County Clare which was the seat of Brian ’s High Kingship of Ireland from 1001 AD until 1014 AD , Clontarf where Brian was killed following his victory over the Viking rulers of Dublin at the Battle of Clontarf and the City of Armagh where Brian is buried.

There are few more emblematic dates in Irish history than that of the Battle of Clontarf, fought on Good Friday, 1014, when the high-king Brian lost his life in the hour of victory against his Scandinavian and Irish foes. The Battle of Clontarf can be deemed a triumph, despite Brian’s death, because of what he averted—a major new Viking offensive in Ireland—on that fateful day. It should be remembered that Brian is probably the most famous Irish person before the modern era, whose death at Clontarf is one of the few events in the whole of Ireland’s medieval history to retain a place in the popular imagination. In the world-famous Book of Armagh (housed in Trinity College Dublin) with its inscription marking his visit to the primatial city in 1005 he is described as Imperator Scotorum (‘Emperor of the Gaels’).

The battle was in reality a battle to control the economic and military wealth of Dublin. It pitted Brian, Imperator Scotorum and Mael Sechnaill, King of Tara, against Máel Mórda, King of Leinster, and Sitric ‘Silkbeard’, the King of Dublin. Mael Sechnaill emerged from the battle as the leading Irish King, and Sitric, retained his position as King of Dublin which he retained for almost 20 years.

 It took around 50 years for Brian’s descendants to regain prominence. A propaganda campaign was initiated and the famous Cogadh Gaedhel re Gallaibh (‘The War of the Irish with the Foreigners’) written 100 years after the Battle of Clontarf which created the later mythical image of Brian .

With the millennial anniversary this year and a movie about Brian in the works, interest in this period of Irish history is set to peak. 

Performance Piece - Kincora Call

The Kincora Call is a two and a half minute long call to arms/commemoration invitation for Brian Boru. It is similar in style to the New Zealand Haka but with a distinctive Irish text and original movement. A team of more than 20 Transition Year and 5th year students from St. Anne’s Community College Killaloe, Co. Clare have been involved in its preparation for a number of months. For performance purposes, 15 students at a time will perform at a time.