Battle of Clontarf (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: The Battle of Clontarf pits the Irish forces of Leinster and their Norse allies against the Munster forces of Brian Boru, resulting in Boru’s victory on Good Friday.
Summary of Event
Few battles in Irish history command the fame that has been attached to Brian Boru’s victory at Clontarf on Good Friday (April 23), 1014. Since medieval times, the Battle of Clontarf has been presented as a struggle between Irish forces and Norse invaders for the control of Ireland. Correspondingly, the Irish victory has been seen as breaking the power of the Norse in Ireland and as a defining moment in Ireland’s progress toward national unity under a single king. Moreover, the fact that Brian, a Christian king, was killed by a pagan Norseman on Good Friday, the day of Christ’s death, made for suitable hagiographical comparisons. Most of these claims belong to legend rather than history, however, and originated in a propagandistic Irish work, entitled Cocad Gáedel re Gallaib (the war of the Irish with the foreigners), that was designed to glorify Brian.
For a more objective and reliable account of what happened, the primary source is the Annals of Ulster, a year-by-year chronicle of Irish events, whose entry on the battle may be almost contemporaneous. Not only does it detail the military movements in the preceding months, but it also lists the main contestants and fatalities in the...
(The entire section is 1676 words.)
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Battle of Clontarf (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Type of action: Ground battle in the Danish Invasion of Ireland. Result: Gaelic Irish victory; end of Viking dominance in Ireland.
At dawn on Good Friday, April 23, 1014, the 10,000-strong army of Brian Boru, high king of Ireland, faced a Viking force of 8,000 men. The battle lasted from early morning until three o’clock in the afternoon and consisted mainly of individual, hand-to-hand encounters. The numerical superiority of Brian’s forces eventually began to tell, and as evening approached, their opponents began a hasty retreat. The Vikings attempted to return to their ships, but the tide was nearly full, and clad in heavy protective mail, they drowned. Meanwhile, their native allies and the Danes of Dublin made a desperate bid to re-cross the Dubhgall Bridge but were cut off by units of Brian’s army. They too found themselves being driven into the sea. The Gaelic victory was overshadowed by the death of Brian, slain by the Viking chief, Broder, who had sought out the high king at the conclusion of the battle.
The Vikings first invaded Ireland in 795 and established a number of coastal towns, including Dublin. The Battle of Clontarf brought Viking power in Ireland to an abrupt end, and the Vikings were peacefully assimilated into Irish society.
Llywelyn, Morgan. Brian Boru: Emperor of Ireland. Dublin: O’Brien...
(The entire section is 244 words.)