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Brian Boru
Brian Boru Front Piece 1723.jpg
One of the earliest depictions of Brian on the 1723 publication of Dermot O'Connor's translation of Foras Feasa ar Éirinn.
High King of Ireland
Reign 1002 – 1014
Predecessor Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill
Successor Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill (restored)
King of Munster
Reign 978–1014
Predecessor Máel Muad mac Brain
Successor Dúngal mac Máelfothartaig Hua Donnchada
Born ca. 941
Kincora, Killaloe, County Clare, Munster
Died 23 April 1014
Clontarf, Dublin, Leinster
Consort Mór
Dub Choblaig
Issue Murchad
Kerthialfad (adopted)
Bé Binn
Father Cennétig mac Lorcáin
Mother Bé Binn inion Urchadh

Brian Boru (c. 941 - 23 April 1014) was an Irish king who ended the domination of the High Kingship of Ireland by the Uí Néill. Brian built on the achievements of his father, Cennétig mac Lorcain, and especially his elder brother, Mathgamain, Brian first made himself King of Munster, then subjugated Leinster, eventually becoming High King of Ireland. He was the founder of the O'Brien dynasty, and is widely regarded as one of the most successful and unifying monarchs in medieval Ireland.

With a population of under 500,000 people, Ireland had over 150 kings, with greater or lesser domains. The Uí Néill king Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill, abandoned by his northern kinsmen of the Cenél nEógain and Cenél Conaill, acknowledged Brian as High King at Athlone in 1002. In the decade that followed, Brian campaigned against the northern Uí Néill, who refused to accept his claims, against Leinster, where resistance was frequent, and against the Norse-Gaelic Kingdom of Dublin.

Brian's hard-won authority was seriously challenged in 1013 when his ally Máel Sechnaill was attacked by the Cenél nEógain king Flaithbertach Ua Néill, with the Ulstermen as his allies. This was followed by further attacks on Máel Sechnaill by the Dubliners under their king Sihtric Silkbeard and the Leinstermen led by Máel Mórda mac Murchada. Brian campaigned against these enemies in 1013. In 1014, Brian's armies confronted the armies of Leinster and Dublin. The resulting Battle of Clontarf saw Brian killed, his army nonetheless victorious against the Leinstermen and Norsemen. The battle is widely lauded as an instrumental moment in Irish history, and is well known in popular memory.

Brian was well regarded by contemporary chroniclers. The Norse-Gaels and Scandinavians also produced works mentioning Brian, including Njal's Saga, the Orkneyinga Saga, and the now-lost Brian's Saga. Brian's war against Máel Mórda and Sihtric was to be inextricably connected with his complicated marital relations, in particular his marriage to Gormlaith, Máel Mórda's sister and Sihtric's mother, who had been in turn the wife of Amlaíb Cuarán, king of Dublin and York, then of Máel Sechnaill, and finally of Brian.

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