Commemorating the Battle of Clontarf

Anniversary events around the island of Ireland

Photograph: Conor McCabe

Photograph: Conor McCabe


As part of an island-wide millennium commemoration, the Battle of Clontarf will be remembered through a range of activities, encompassing art, history, music and sport, throughout the year. Here’s a selection of events across four counties with close ties to Brian Boru.


The Arrival of Brian Boru

In the hours after Brian Boru’s death a band of warriors arrived in Armagh to prepare the king’s 12-day wake and subsequent burial. This free re-enactment at the Navan Centre & Fort will simulate those events with the aid of storytelling and a scale model of Dublin as it was in 1014, as well as cooking and blacksmith workshops. April 23rd.


Brian Boru Millennium Commemorations
To coincide with the launch of the National Brian Boru Trail, Killaloe and Ballina (Boru’s birthplace and seat of his high kingship) will host a weekend of historical re-enactments, Viking boats, games, food and music. Tomorrow until Sunday.

Our Native Woodlands as Known to Brian Bor u
A “Celt-guided walk” through the woodlands close to Tuamgraney, home of the Brian Boru oak tree, believed to have been a sapling when the king and his army camped in the area. Registration required. April 20th.


Clontarf 1014-2014: National Conference to Mark the Millennium of the Battle of Clontarf
Billed as the premier academic event in the national millennium commemorations, this free two-day conference brings together international experts to establish what really happened at the Battle of Clontarf. Spread across 16 talks, the event also aims to re-evaluate the impact of Brian Boru, the high kingship of Ireland and the Vikings from a 21st-century perspective. Edmund Burke Lecture Theatre, Trinity College Dublin. Tomorrow and Saturday.

Irish History Live: The Museum That Comes to You
A family friendly history show offering children over the age of eight the chance to learn about Brian Boru by dressing up as the king and trying out weapons. Tours Dublin City libraries until April 24th;

The Viking Big Dig
This two-week Dublinia event lets children search for 1,000-year-old treasures as part of an archaeological excavation; adults can take part in the reconstruction of a Viking house in the museum’s courtyard. From Saturday until April 27th;

Battle of Clontarf at the National Museum of Ireland
In conjunction with a myth-busting archaeological exhibition at its Kildare Street building, the National Museum is running a series of events, including a Mega Viking Doodle art event (Sunday), a concert performance entitled The Melodies and Myths of the Vikings and Gaels (April 19th) and a family workshop inspired by Thor’s hammer (April 26th);

The Boroimhe Suite
This suite of song and dance from the composer Michael Rooney was commissioned by Comhaltas Ceóltoirí Éireann to reflect the life of Brian Boru. It will be performed at Clasac, in Clontarf, by the National Folk Orchestra of Ireland, comprising traditional and classical musicians, as well as dancers, singers and actors. April 21st; €20;

Battle of Clontarf Re-enactment
As the biggest battle re-enactment ever held in Ireland, this free event will feature more than 400 “living history” re-enactors. It is expected to draw more than 40,000 people. The battle will be recreated twice a day, complemented by a medieval Viking village featuring falconry displays, archery, a funfair, art and crafts, workshops, a model-boat show, face painting and storytelling. St Anne’s Park, Raheny, April 19th and 20th.


To Crown a King
This three-day conference in Cashel focuses on the concept of kingship. It also incorporates music and dance performances, as well as an excursion to Rathnadrinna Fort. Brian Boru Cultural Centre, €20-30, April 24th-27th; 062-62511.

You can find out about more events at

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