viking helmetOn April 23rd, Good Friday 1014, Sigtrygg Silkenbeard, the Norse King of Dublin, watched from the walls of the greatest city in the western Viking world as two armies slaughtered one another a little over a mile from his city walls.

This was the Battle of Clontarf, the greatest conflict of medieval Ireland, and one which had repercussions throughout Northern Europe.

The battles fame spread and accounts were recorded in the literature of Western and Northern Europe; in the Gaelic "Cogadh Gael re Gallaibh" to the Icelandic "Brennu-Njals Saga," amongst others.

a gory slaughter -accounts of the battle

The Gaelic account tells us that the onslaught that day was so ferocious, that those standing on the city walls could not recognise each other because of the spattered blood and hair that was whipped back by a sea breeze from the battlefield.

The victor of the day, Brian Borumha, didn’t live to see his victory, and for the Vikings it spelt the death knell of their suzerainty in the western Viking world.

In Cogadh Gael re Gallaibh and Njal’s Saga, Norse and Irish eye witnesses gave gripping accounts of this bloody power struggle.

The video above relates some of those eye witness accounts recorded live in concert

long ships at clontarf

brian borumhaMore live music -the harbinger

Brian Borumha is visited by an ancient fairy who tells him of his imminent doom and those within his family.

Brian faces the most important challenge of his life knowing he, and much of his family, will not survive the day.

First Performance

At the Temple Bar trad fest 2014 Deep End of the Ford and Raphael De Cock presented an intrigueing picture of that days events taken from these medieval accounts.