Daniel Sammon lives in Renvyle, Co. Galway. In November 2011 he came up with the novel idea of publishing a book of 60 poems to celebrate his 60th birthday. Two years previously, in 2009 to commemorate the long struggle for Irish Independence and Freedom he walked across Ireland from Renvyle to the GPO in Dublin. He found that walk so interesting and wrote a book about it and called it ‘My Great Walk Across Ireland’. The book was launched by Minister Eamon O’Cuiv in May 2010.
Remembering Brian Boru
by Daniel Sammon
[one thousand years later]
Brian Boru was born in Killaloe Co. Clare about the year 941 AD and like many another man, he lived till he died(!) on Good Friday 23rd April 1014.
[President John F. Kennedy’s history has been traced back to Brian’s father Cennetig Mac Lornan].
His mother was brutally murdered by the Norsemen, led by Ivar of Limerick.
He took to the hills with his followers and attacked the Norse settlements whenever and wherever they could, and then retreated back to the wild and windy mountainsides where they lived.
Ireland then had a population of approximately 500,000 and about 150 kings!
Meanwhile another great leader named Malachy, defeated the Norse army and took over Dublin.
Time was fast approaching when the two of them would meet.
When they did in 998 they divided Ireland between them with Malachy becoming King of the North and Brian becoming King of the South.
Like the PDs and Fianna Fail this was ‘only a temporary little arrangement!’
Malachy was unable to withstand the ambitions of Brian, so he allowed Brian to peacefully take over his lands in 1002.
Now Brian was Ard-Ri na h-Eireann, the High King of Ireland, claiming monarchy over the whole Gaelic Race.
Killaloe was now effectively the capital of Ireland, from where Brian Boru ruled the whole country.
It was many hundreds of years later when Ennis was chosen as the county town of Clare, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I in the sixteenth century and the importance of Killaloe declined.
As High King he now had the responsibility of defending Ireland against the Vikings.
Brian Boru had inextricably complicated marital arrangements!
As High King of Ireland all the other kings were subordinate to him.
Among his wives and/or girlfriends, one of his wives was named Gormflaith who was a sister of Mael Morda, who was King of Leinster.
This King rejected Brian’s authority and rebelled against him.
One of Mael Morda’s strongest supporters was Sigtrygg who was Ruler of Dublin and his mother was Gormflaith, wife of Brian Boru! and Sigtrygg was married to Brian Boru’s daughter!
The King of Leinster Mael Morda allied himself with the Vikings and went to war with Brian but not before he sent Sigtrygg abroad to gather together as many supporters as possible from far and wide to defeat the High King of Ireland.
The Vikings came from across the seas from such places as Iceland, Normandy and the Isle of Man, with the Earl of Orkney sending a large contingent to support the Dublin Vikings.
The Irish under Brian Boru took them all on at the Battle of Clontarf on Good Friday April 23rd 1014.
After a ferocious battle the Irish won the day, but it was a sad day and the last day for Brian Boru.
His son Murchad got killed and while saying his prayers in thanksgiving for the historic victory, a mercenary Viking named Brodir entered his tent and murdered Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland.
The Viking presence remained in Ireland where they traded and inter-married and became part of the Irish Nation but their military power was crushed.
Ireland was never again to have a true undisputed High King and this didn’t go un-noticed by future plunderers, robbers, rapists and murderers down the centuries.
Ireland of course had other High Kings before and after Brian Boru but the list is a mixture of fact, legend, fiction and propaganda.
From 1002 – 1014 Brian Boru was then the undisputed High King of Ireland.