Brian Ború’s 10th century invasion of the monastic settlement of Scattery Island in County Clare and the subsequent killing of the Viking King of Limerick and his two sons will be recreated this weekend.
The Scattery Island Festival, which gets underway tomorrow morning and continues through Sunday, also features guided walks, lectures, music and song, and marine activities celebrating the island’s association with St. Senan, the Vikings, Brian Ború, the Spanish Armada and later as a defence outpost for the British.
Uninhabited since 1979, Scattery Island – also known as Inish Cathaigh – is located approximately one mile from Kilrush in the Shannon Estuary and is home to a monastery founded in the early 6th century by St. Senan. The island features the ruins of six churches and one of the highest Round Towers in Ireland at 120 ft. high.
The re-enactment of the raid on the island by Brian Ború and his the Dál Cais army is the main event of the Scattery Island Festival, which is part of the national Brian Boru Programme and coincides with the millennial anniversary of Ború’s death at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014.
Academics and historians have for many years argued whether or not Ború broke sanctuary by killing on church land as he sought revenge for the murder by King Ivar of his older brother and King of Munster, Mahon. Most agree however, that the incident consolidated Brian’s position as Mahon’s successor and helped him in his quest to become High King of Ireland.
Dr. Catherine Swift, Course Director, Irish Studies Mary Immaculate College explained: “The Annals of Inisfallen state that Ímar, king of the foreigners, and his two sons, were killed on Inis Cathaig by Brian, son of Cennétig in 977AD. In an account given in the Annals of Loch Cé meanwhile, Brian sees a vision of St Senán condemning him for breaking sanctuary by killing on church land which is taken to be this incident. Whatever one’s opinion is of the manner in which the Norse King was slain, it is clear that his death paved the way for Brian to enjoy unchallenged rule over his home Province of Munster.”
Rita McCarthy of the Scattery Island Heritage & Tourism Group said the re-enactment will be the focal point of this year’s Festival, the theme of which is ‘Invade Scattery’.
Also taking place during the course of the weekend will be a Ceremony of Remembrance for past inhabitants of the island, a Curragh Race, Music and Song with Inis Cathaigh Comhaltas, guided tours of the island by the OPW, talks on Scattery Island’s environment and history, a Treasure Hunt for children, and tours to the Napoleonic Battery.
Ms. McCarhy continued: “We are inviting former island inhabitants and anyone with a connection with Scattery or indeed, its rich history to join us this weekend. Last year’s inaugural festival, held as part of the Gathering Ireland initiative, proved to be a huge success with more than 5,000 people travelling to the island. This has helped to raise the profile of what has for many years been one of Ireland’s least known monastic settlements.”
The Scattery Island Festival is part-funded under the Community Tourism Diaspora Fund, operated locally by Clare County Council, IPB and Failte Ireland. For more visit www.brianborumillennium.ie, see Facebook (Scattery Island/Kilrush Gathering), or contact Rita McCarthy of the Scattery Island Heritage and Tourism Group on 087-9731162 / firstname.lastname@example.org.