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Thursday 18 September 2014

Marauding Vikings on the march for Battle of Clontarf II

Published 02/04/2014 | 02:30

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‘Vikings’ march through Temple Bar to promote the forthcoming re-enactment of the Battle of Clontarf
Vikings Gary Nolann, Ciaran Duignan, Ian Barber and Ricardo Gatica promote the re-enactment of the Battle of Clontarf
Vikings Gary Nolann, Ciaran Duignan, Ian Barber and Ricardo Gatica promote the re-enactment of the Battle of Clontarf

VIKINGS are once again set to raid and plunder along the Dublin seafront – but this time just for a weekend.

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Celebrations marking the 1,000th anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf, which took place on April 23, 1014 (Good Friday), will be marked by 500 'Vikings' re-staging the deadly confrontation.

The lives lived by some of the 6,000 Vikings and Leinster men killed in the bloody battle will be re-enacted at a medieval village of 80 tents to be set up in St Anne's Park, Raheny, near the original battle site, for the Easter weekend from April 19 to 20.

In addition to the 500 Vikings carrying the terror-inducing long swords, there will be a mounted display on horses, a Viking longboat, falconry, archery, food stalls and music.

Up to 40,000 people are expected to visit the event to 'live history' by seeing the Viking and Irish armies twice daily during the weekend, which has been organised by Dublin City Council.

Ruth Johnson, city archaeologist for the council, explained that the Battle of Clontarf "captures people's imagination" as it was the culmination of two centuries of strife, treachery, failed alliances and treaties between the Irish High Kings and Vikings since their arrival on Irish shores.

As historical adviser to the re-enactment, Ms Johnson explained: "We're very lucky in that we have a fantastic archaeological record for the period. We know a lot about the material culture of the Viking age."

Even with their inter-marrying into Irish society, many still objected to the Viking presence in Ireland, including Brian Boru, whose ambition was to rule as High King of Ireland.

The Battle of Clontarf was a success for Boru, although some 4,000 of his troops were slain.

The ancient tale has it that as Boru's army drove the fleeing Vikings back toward the seafront at Clontarf, the Manx Viking leader, Brodir, stumbled across Boru's tent and slayed him with an axe.

According to Norse mythology, those Vikings who died a "worthy death" in battle were destined for Valhalla, where there were vats of mead to sup from.

Irish Independent

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