The Weekly Irish Times
Sat, Sept 28th, 1895

The Irish times ran an article in September on 1895 which detailed a meeting of the Irish Antiquarian and Historical Society which had proposed preserving the supposed site of the battle of Clontarf.

 

The Site of the Battle?

The meeting in 1895 took place what then was considered to be the supposed site of the battle:

At Clontarf, near the top of St Lawrence’s Road, in a field which is believed to have been the scene of Brian Boru’s fight with the Danish Earl Brodar."

Presided over by Mr J. P. Craven, Mr J. O’ Byrne provided the assembled audience with and an account of the battle and:

Described the disposition of the opposing forces as set forth in contemporary Irish and Danish narratives.'' 

The newspaper explained why the site was deemed worthy of preservation:

The victory of the Irish was due to the superior generalship of Brian Boru. All Irishmen should honour the name of this great Irish general, and in the march of modern civilisation care should be taken that spots such as that on which they stood, which were hallowed by the recollection of events of great historic interest, should be reserved intact."

A Nineteenth-Century Plan of the Battle

© University of Manchester

This is one nineteenth-century representation of how the armies might have been drawn up at the battle of Clontarf which accompanied a description of the battle translated by Galway scholar Denis Henry Kelly.

This representation laid out the divisions and supposed positions of the armies situated in the context of Dublin geography.

Denis Henry Kelly was an important figure in the 'Cultural Revival' of the nineteenth century, and his work on Irish history fed into the growing nationalism of the nintheenth-century.

Where Did the Battle Take Place?

The early accounts of the battle do not mention Clontarf, only the Book of Lenister (from the twelfth century) suggests Brian's death occured at 'Cath Corad Cluana Tarb) - at the battle of the Clontarf Weir. 

The modern reckoning suggests the battle may have taken place at a weir on the River Tolka (near Ballybough Bridge), perhaps near Fairview Park. 

 

Sources: 

Seán Duffy, 'What happened at the Battle of Clontarf?' History Ireland: Special Issue Brian Boru, pp 30-1.

Seán Duffy, Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf (Dublin, 2014).

The Weekly Irish Times, Saturday, September 28th, 1895.