History of the Battle of Clontarf

Historical information about the Battle of Clontarf

2014 marked the 1000th anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf which claimed the lives of over 10,000 people including perhaps the greatest High king of Ireland, Brian Boru. The battle took place on  April 23rd 1014 between the forces of Brian Boru and the forces led by the King of Leinster, Máel Mórda mac Murchada: composed mainly of his own men, Viking mercenaries from Dublin and the Orkney Islands led by his cousin Sigtrygg as well as the one rebellious king from the province of Ulster. It ended in a rout of the Máel Mórda's forces, along with the death of Brian, who was killed by a few Norsemen who were fleeing the battle and stumbled upon his tent.

Growing up as kids in Ireland we all read about the exploits of Brian Boru in school, but sometimes the fact and folklore can become clouded. Meeting with the local historical representatives in each of the relevant locations was truly enlightening and, as luck would have it, it would appear that during this period in Irish history the historical records of the era were considerably more accurate than times past. The proof of this was very evident in meetings that we attended in the offices of the Taoiseach in Government buildings when a number of Ireland’s premier historians made the point that there is no excuse for historical inaccuracies when so much information is available on the Battle of Clontarf, Brian Boru, the O’Brien Clan and of course the other Clans of Ireland that were involved in the battle. In fact, the Norwegian and Danish Ambassadors who were also present reminded all attendees that in the event of any lopsided inaccuracies relating to our Viking friends, they may be forced to invade the island of Ireland once again”.

The Battle of Clontarf 1014

The Battle of Clontaf is a renowned battle in Irish History taking place just outside the city walls of Dublin on Good Friday morning of 1014. There was much unrest as the Vikings had been raiding and pillaging in Ireland since they had invaded in 795 two centuries beforehand. One man and his army had the bravery to stand up to them, this man was Brian Boru.

As Brian and his army prepared for Battle in the build-up to the Battle of Clontarf, his Viking enemies, Mael Morda and Sitric of Dublin sought Viking contingents from abroad.  As both sides geared up for Battle, Brian and his army marched on Dublin to face the immense power of the Vikings. Brian, a cultured,brave and skilfull warrior had trained his men well.

The battle ground was vast and the fighting started to break out in a number of smaller battles throughout the day both inland and along the shores where the Vikings had beached their boats. The fighting was ruthless with many of the 13,000 strong men slayed on that day. Brian and the Dál gCáis were triumphant but as Brian prayed in his tent for battle success, he was slayed by Brodir a passing Viking. He had won the Ultimate Battle of his career but he paid with his life.

Brian Boru was instrumental in driving the Vikings out of Ireland and restoring peace again. Since his death no one person has unified all four provinces together as a united Ireland.

Brian Boru Self Drive Tour of Ireland 6 Night

Brian Boru Self Drive Tour of Ireland 6 Night

This 6 night Commemorative tour of Ireland is based on arriving into Shannon airport and departing from Dublin airport although this can be adjusted if necessary. Start your tour in Killarney, County Kerry, a must – see for any visitor to Ireland. This is one of the most picturesque areas in Ireland, so make sure to bring a camera! This tour concentrates on the most important areas relating to the legendary High King of Ireland Brian Boru. You will visit Killaloe, his homestead and the surrounding areas of importance such as the Rock of Cashel where he was crowned High King. Finish your tour visiting the site of the Battle of Clontarf where Brian Ború was slain. Whether you are of the O’Brien clan or one of the other Dál gCais tribes/clans that allied themselves w...read more

Brian Boru Self Drive Tour of Ireland 7 Night

Brian Boru Self Drive Tour of Ireland 7 Night

This 7 night Commemorative tour of Ireland is based on arriving into and departing from Dublin airport although it can be adjusted if necessary. This tours starts in Tipperary where you will visit the iconic Rock of Cashel. This rocky plateau was where Brian Ború was crowned The High King of Munster and then went on to become High King of Ireland. From there travel to Killaloe, the birthplace of Brian Ború, making it the de-facto capital of Ireland. Besides tracing the footsteps of Brian Boru in medieval Ireland, this itinerary allows you to visit the most picturesque areas of Ireland. Take time out to tour the Ring of Kerry, see the lunar landscape of The Burren and visit the spectacular Cliffs of Moher and Bunratty Castle. Finish your journey in Dublin where Brian Boru was ...read more

Brian Boru Self Drive Tour of Ireland 8 Night

Brian Boru Self Drive Tour of Ireland 8 Night

This 8 night Commemorative tour of Ireland is based on arriving into and departing from Dublin airport although it can be adjusted if necessary. This tours starts in Tipperary where you will visit the iconic Rock of Cashel. This strong hold was where Brian Ború was crowned The High King of Munster. The tour continues to Killarney and the beautiful Ringof Kerry and Killarney area. On to the homestead of Brian Ború, Killaloe in County Tipperary. As Brian Boru became High King of Ireland it meant Killaloe was once effectively the capital of Ireland. As you have two nights in the Killaloe region you will be able to visit other castles, monuments and museums of historical importance such as Bunratty Castle, where the O’Brien’s ruled as Earls of Thomond from the early 1...read more

Brian Boru Self Drive Tour of Ireland 10 Night

Brian Boru Self Drive Tour of Ireland 10 Night

This 10 night Commemorative tour of Ireland is based on arriving into and departing from Dublin airport although it can be adjusted if necessary. This tours includes time in some of the most historical and picturesque areas of Ireland. This itinerary visits locations of great importance in ancient Ireland. The tour starts in Cashel, The Rock of Cashel was where Brian Ború was crowned High King of Munster and subsequently High King of Ireland. Spend two days in the Limerick /Clare area where you will visit his homestead in Killaloe on the banks of the River Shannon which was the capital of Ireland under Brian Ború’s reign as High King. While you travel, you can combine the amazing scenery with the fascinating history that Ireland has to offer. Visit such iconic locations...read more

Brian Boru Self Drive Tour of Ireland 12 Night

Brian Boru Self Drive Tour of Ireland 12 Night

This 12 night Commemorative tour of Ireland is based on arriving into and departing from Dublin airport although it can be adjusted if necessary. This comprehensive tour does entail quite a bit of driving but it encompasses all the pivotal locations that are relevant to the legend of Brian Ború. This tour provides a great opportunity to retrace the footsteps of the High King of Ireland Brian Ború and the itinerary will take you to where the story began in Killaloe, his birthplace and where it all ended in at the Battle of Clontarf. You can also pay your respects in Armagh, the final resting place of Brian Ború.  Besides the historical aspects of the tour, you will enjoy the most spectacular and intriguing scenery as you travel throughout the island of Ireland. Tak...read more

Brian Boru Self Drive Tour of Ireland 14 Night

Brian Boru Self Drive Tour of Ireland 14 Night

This 14 night Commemorative tour of Ireland is based on arriving into and departing from Dublin airport although it can be adjusted if necessary. This comprehensive tour includes time in some of the most historical and picturesque areas of Ireland. This tour will allow you to visit your ancestral home and discover the journey Brian Ború undertook to become the High King of Ireland. Visit pivotal locations such as Cashel where he became High King of Munster and later of Ireland, his homestead in Killaloe, the site of the Battle of Clontarf to Armagh, his final resting place. This is a great opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the great warriors and kings of ancient Ireland. This is an All-Ireland Tour that allows you the opportunity to visit such other famous landmarks as Blarn...read more

The Brian Boru Trail Escorted Tour - April 2015 (Details to be published shortly)

The Brian Boru Trail Escorted Tour - April 2015 (Details to be published shortly)

Join this escorted tour which will visit many of the important locations associated with Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. You will travel on a luxury coach with air conditioning and stay at some wonderful hotels in fascinating locations. In addition to the Battle of Clontarf and Brian Boru, many places of beauty and historical importance will be visited such as the Connemara National Park, Cliffs of Moher and the Rock of Cashel....read more