The Battle of Clontarf

One of the bloodiest and most decisive battles in Irish history took place a thousand years ago this month.

'Battle of Clontarf' by Hugh Frazer, 1826. This painting has returned to Ireland in time for Clontarf 2014. Kildare Partners, DublinClontarf is now an affluent suburb north of Dublin, but a thousand years ago it was the setting for an unprecedented event in Ireland’s history. Good Friday 1014 saw the Battle of Clontarf, an all-day affair of infernal carnage, where longstanding animosities climaxed in a spectacular deluge of bloodshed.

To commemorate the anniversary, the Clontarf community is hosting a slew of diverse events that range from historical society lectures to a rugby match between Clontarf and the Barbarians FC. According to the website there will also be an interactive history display where visitors can see if they are mighty enough to wear the armour and carry the weapons of the 1014 combatants. There are walking tours that explore the old Viking Dublin as well as Brian Boru Millennium Celebration tours that take visitors to the very site where, by most accounts, the old leader was slain.

Dublin City Council will hold a Battle of Clontarf Festival on Easter Weekend (April 19th and 20th) at St Anne’s Park in Clontarf. This free festival will include many exhibitions as well as sword and archery sessions for participants of all ages. Each day will culminate in a 45-minute re-enactment of the battle, featuring hundreds of would-be warriors – including ones on horseback – appearing in an event billed as ‘the biggest living history battle re-enactment ever held in Ireland’.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email if you have any problems.



Get Miscellanies, our free weekly long read, in your inbox every week