Battle of Clontarf facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsBattle of Clontarf
Battle of Clontarf, oil on canvas painting by Hugh Frazer, 1826
|Forces of the High King of Ireland||Kingdom of Dublin
Kingdom of Leinster
Vikings of Orkney and Mann
|Commanders and leaders|
|Brian Boru †
Murchad mac Briain †
Máel Mórda †
Sigurd the Stout †
|7,000 men||~6,600 men|
|Casualties and losses|
|1,600–4,000 dead||~6,000 dead|
The Battle of Clontarf (Irish: Cath Chluain Tarbh) took place on 23 April 1014 by the River Tolka, from Clontarf inland, near the then-small Dublin. It pitted forces led by Brian Boru, High King of Ireland, against a Norse-Irish alliance comprising the forces of Sigtrygg Silkbeard, King of Dublin; Máel Mórda mac Murchada, King of Leinster; and an external Viking contingent led by Sigurd, of Orkney; and Brodir of Mann. It lasted from sunrise to sunset, and ended in a rout of the Viking and Leinster forces.
It is estimated that between 7,000 and 10,000 men were killed in the battle. Although Brian's forces were victorious, Brian himself was killed, as were his son Murchad and his grandson Toirdelbach. Leinster king Máel Mórda and Viking leaders Sigurd and Brodir were also slain. After the battle, the Vikings and the Kingdom of Dublin were reduced to a secondary power. Brian's family was temporarily eclipsed, and there was no undisputed High King of Ireland until the late 12th century.
The battle was an important event in Irish history and is recorded in both Irish and Norse chronicles. In Ireland, the battle came to be seen as an event that freed the Irish from foreign domination, and Brian was hailed as a national hero. This view was especially popular during English rule in Ireland. Although the battle has come to be viewed in a more critical light, it still has a hold on the popular imagination.