Brian Boru (c. 941-1014) was a High King of Ireland most famous for his victory over the Viking forces at the Battle of Clontarf on 23 April 1014. Born into the Dál gCais dynasty of Munster, Brian ascended to the Kingship of Munster, and sought firstly to usurp the Uí Néill dynasty to become the High King of Ireland, and secondly to rout the Vikings out of Ireland. After many years of bitter fighting with the High King, Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill, a famous compromise between the two men was reached, which asserted Brian’s sovereignty over the southern half of the island, and the two men attempted to form a native alliance against the Norse-Gaels of Dublin and its Irish allies. However, war quickly broke out again, leading finally to Brian’s ascension to the High Kingship. Brian then successfully brought Ulster to heel and gave himself the famous title of “Imperator Scottorum” (Emperor of the Gaels). In 1014, at the Battle of Clontarf, Brian would famously rout the Viking forces of Dublin and their Irish allies in the Kingdom of Leinster, however at the cost of his own life, legend is that he was killed in his war tent whilst praying. It has long been believed that the resting place of Brian Boru is at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh.


Brian Boru’s Speech at Clontarf (1014)