Friday 26 December 2014

Huge crowds enjoy spoils of war as warriors re-enact battle

Fiona Ellis

Published 21/04/2014 | 02:30

20/04/2014  
Battle scenes during the Battle of Clontarf Festival 2014 hosted by Dublin City Council in St Annes Park Dublin.
Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Battle scenes during the Battle of Clontarf Festival 2014 hosted by Dublin City Council in St Annes Park Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

MORE than 60,000 visitors over two days turned out to witness a re-enactment of one of the bloodiest battles in Irish history.

The Battle of Clontarf Festival, hosted by Dublin City Council, took place in St Anne's Park in Raheny.

Twice a day, 500 fearsome warriors raised their weapons to do battle in front of spectators who bellowed just as loud as the fighters as they were egged on by MC Iain Barber.

Along with the battle re-enactments, the festival had displays of Viking life including a medieval village with more than 80 tents, skills and weapons demonstrations, a mounted display on horses, a Viking longboat, falconry, archery, food and music.

The festival took place to commemorate the Battle of Clontarf – the greatest battle in early Irish history – which took place on Good Friday, April 23, 1014. In the clash, Brian Boru and the forces of Munster, together with Viking allies, were pitched against the Viking armies of Dublin, Mael Morda mac Murchada, and Viking mercenaries from Iceland, Normandy, the Orkneys and the Isle of Man.

The battle claimed the lives of 10,000 people – including Boru, who was the High King of Ireland. However it also ended the power of the Vikings in Ireland.

Despite the bloodshed of the event many centuries ago, the weekend festival was more of family affair. Nine-year-old twins Mikey and Joe Stimpson from Killester loved the rough-and-tumble of it all.

"It wasn't scary because I knew it was a re-enactment but it was really fun to watch," said Mikey."

"It was so good I almost believed it was real," said Joe.

Mini-Viking Aibhilin Leahy (4) from Raheny dressed in a fearsome pink outfit and had a great time at the event with her siblings, Tadhg (6), Realtin (9) and Blaithin (2).

Irish Independent

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