This week marks the millennium of the Battle of Clontarf – an event that shaped the future of Dublin, and Ireland, to the point where it's impossible to imagine where we'd all be now had it not happened – and had an all-Ireland kingdom been consolidated.
Would the Normans have succeeded in their conquest 150 years later? Would we still be speaking Irish now? Would we have enjoyed Eurovision success in the 1990s? Would we have invaded Britain, and not the other way round? Would the GAA be the world's largest sporting body? Yikes.
So, in praise of the battle that ensured we ended up just the way we are, here are 10 good old-fashioned fightin' songs...
1. SIMON & GARFUNKEL – THE BOXER
A classic that delves into the deeper ramifications of what it means to be a fighter – carrying "the reminder of every glove that cut him til he cried out ... I am leaving".
2. CHRISTINA AGUILERA – FIGHTER
Unconfirmed historical sources suggest that Brian Boru's adversary, Máel Mórda mac Murchada, used to sing this to ready himself for battle. Sounds legit.
3. BILLY OCEAN – WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GET GOING
Basically, sending out the message that when the situation becomes difficult, the strong will work harder to meet the challenge. Nice one.
4. TRAPT – HEADSTRONG
Because you can't have a fightin' playlist without some heavy distortion, metal drums and pained post-grunge lyrics.
5. EMINEM – LOSE YOURSELF
Brian Boru was one hell of a warrior, felled in the end by deviance and dishonour – but did he ever win a rap battle? Nuh uh.
6. CARL DOUGLAS – KUNG FU FIGHTING
We long to return to the days when this tune wasn't irreversibly associated with an advertisement for directory inquiries. Good times.
7. BEASTIE BOYS – FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT
Because sometimes there are bigger battles to be fought.
8. RAMONES – BEAT ON THE BRAT
Beat on the brat with a baseball bat, you say? Well, if you insist, Joey.
9. QUEEN – WE WILL ROCK YOU
When a playground scrap begins, and the surrounding kids start chanting this, you know there's going to be trouble.
10. KAISER CHIEFS – I PREDICT A RIOT
Ricky Wilson seems like the sort of guy who has never seen a punch thrown in his life – but his charmingly middle-class outlook on street violence is endearing. Bless.
Check out the Spotify Playlist here:
Day & Night