Battle of Clontarf (3)

A. M. Sullivan
c. 1900
CHAPTER XIII. (concluded)

Such was the victory of Clontarf—one of the most glorious events in the annals of Ireland! It was the final effort of the Danish power to effect the conquest of this country. Never again was that effort renewed. For a century subsequently the Danes continued to hold some maritime cities in Ireland; but never more did they dream of conquest. That design was overthrown forever on the bloody plain of Clontarf.

It was, as the historian called it truly, "a conflict of heroes." There was no flinching on either side, and on each side fell nearly every commander of note who had entered the battle! The list of the dead is a roll of nobility, Danish and Irish; among the dead being the brave Caledonian chiefs, the great Stewards of Mar and Lennox, who had come from distant Alba to fight on the Irish side that day!

But direst disaster of all—most woeful in its ulterior results affecting the fate and fortunes of Ireland—was the slaughter of the reigning family: Brian himself, Morrogh, his eldest son and destined successor, and his grandson, "the youthful Torlogh," eldest child of Morrogh—three generations cut down in the one day upon the same field of battle!

"The fame of the event went out through all nations. The chronicles of Wales, of Scotland, and of Man; the annals of Ademar and Marianus;[6] the saga of Denmark and the Isles, all record the event. The Norse settlers in Caithness saw terrific visions of Valhalla 'the day after the battle.'"[7] "The annals state that Brian and Morrogh both lived lived to receive the last sacraments of the Church, and that their remains were conveyed by the monks to Swords (near Dublin), and thence to Armagh by the Archbishop; and that their obsequies were celebrated for twelve days and nights with great splendor by the clergy of Armagh after which the body of Brian was deposited in a stone coffin on the north side of the high altar in the cathedral, the body of his son being interred on the south side of the same church. The remains of Torlogh and of several of the other chieftains were buried in the old churchyard of Kilmainham, where the shaft of an Irish cross still marks the spot."[8]


[6] "Brian, king of Hibernia, slain on Good Friday, the 9th of the calends of May (23d April), with his mind and his hands turned toward God."—"Chronicles of Marianus Scotus."

[7] M'Gee.

[8] Haverty.