Brian Boru

Having climbed from partisan leader to king of armies, Brian Boru eventually established himself as the first monarch of a consolidated Ireland.

In the year 795 some foreigners, called Gentiles in the Chronicles, landed off the coast of Ireland on the island of Lambay, north of Howth, to plunder the shrines. This was the first recorded foreign attack on Ireland, a country then well peopled, with a close network of laws and institutions binding the activities of the tribes and clans. There were bogs and much forest. The lakes of Ireland were large, and the people who lived in the wooden houses were intelligent and strong. They liked poetry, music, history and romantic stories. They liked learning—there were many monasteries and schools, and they loved fighting. Ireland was in touch with Britain, and with the most advanced civilization of the west, France—a letter from Charlemagne to Colgu the Wise of Clonmacnoise written in this year of invasion is still extant.

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