April 2014 - The Millennium Commemoration of 1014

Amidst the multitude of events taking place throughout the island of Ireland marking the millennium of the Battle of Clontarf, Clans of Ireland held its Annual Conference at the Mansion House in Dublin on the 11th and 12th of April. Attendees were treated to a lecture in which Dr. Howard Clarke (Professor Emeritus) cogently expressed the view that the Battle of Clontarf was a battle between the rulers of opposing kingdoms of eleventh century Ireland to gain regal supremacy throughout the island, with an intriguing woman, Gormlaith, central to the plot. Nearby, at Trinity College, during the same weekend, similar views were expounded at a series of lectures hosted by Dr. Seán Duffy of the TCD Dept. of History. Seán Duffy's position is that Brian Boru's tactics prevented the Vikings from further expansion in Ireland.
The assembled gathering  of Clan representatives at the Mansion House, all history enthusiasts, were intrigued by Dr. Clarke's persuasive propositions, novel to some and fascinating for all. Heretofore, history books have generally led to the belief that the Battle of Clontarf was an altercation between the Christian Irish and the expansionist pagan Vikings. However, Howard Clarke's dissertation is at variance with this line of thinking. He contends that the Battle of Clontarf was fought with Irish leaders using Irish and Viking allies on both sides. He questioned whether the Battle of Clontarf was in fact a victory for Brian Boru and proposed that while it was a military victory and while it resulted in the Uí Neill monopoly of the high-kingship being broken; it was a political loss for Brian's descendants, as he and Murchad, his heir, were killed and Donnchad, who succeeded him, never achieving the same level of power as his father. A copy of his lecture will be made available on this website shortly.
Dr. Michael Egan, Cathaoirleach, has invited Members of Clans of Ireland  to participate in a Battle of Clontarf Commemorative Ceremony to be held on Wednesday 23rd April at Christ Church Cathedral, by sending Ceannairí or their representatives. This is being hosted in association with one of Clans of Ireland registered Members, the O'Brien Clan and is being led by the Very Rev. Dean Dermot Dunne. It is expected that the Government will be represented. A procession of Clans of Ireland will take place led by Conor, The O'Brien. It is indeed  fitting that this commemoration should take place at Christ Church Cathedral, the spiritual home of Clans of Ireland, as much of the secular work of our organisation is conducted there. The history of the Cathedral dates back to Sitriuc Silkbeard, leader of the Dublin Vikings at the Battle of Clontarf who is said to have visited Rome, many years later and is reputed to have brought back relics, which were to be used in the development of this wonderful Cathedral.
The Tanaiste, Eamon Gilmore and his Government colleague, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltcht, Jimmy Deenihan formally launched the Battle of Clontarf Millennium Commemorations at a reception at Iveagh House on Wednesday April 16th; when the events which are to take place at Armagh, Clare, Dublin and Tipperary were outlined. Gearóid Ó Ceallaigh represented Clans of Ireland. Further information may be found at www.brianborymillennium.ie.
It was appropriate that Holy Thursday was chosen as the date for the unveiling of the Brian Boru Millenium Crown by the direct descendent of Brian Boru, Conor, The O'Brien. The event, held at Dublin Castle, was organised in association with Jewels for Cures, a cancer clinical research charity. Donations are welcome to this very worthy cause throughout 2014 and donors names will be inscribed on a scroll to accompany the Crown. The crown itself will be on public display at Dublin Castle until April 25th when it will be removed to Clontarf Castle where it will be on view to attendees at the O'Brien Clan Gathering.