An all-island tourism delegation from the four main locations with connections to the only undisputed High King of Ireland, Brian Ború will embark on a promotional drive in the United States later next week.
Coinciding with the millennial anniversary of Ború’s death at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014, National Brian Ború Programme representatives from Armagh, Clare, Dublin and Tipperary, will attend the annual Milwaukee Irish Fest in Wisconsin where they will be seeking to attract some of the estimated 150,000 festival goers to Ireland.
Internationally, Brian Ború is celebrated for his contribution to uniting Ireland and quelling the destabilising impact of the Vikings. Born in Killaloe in East Clare, Brian Ború became the only undisputed High King of Ireland and today is regarded as the most significant figure in Irish history.
Ború is a central theme of this year’s Milwaukee Irish Fest from August 15-17th. Established in 1981 by members of Milwaukee’s Irish community, the Fest covers 74 acres of Lake Michigan’s shoreline and showcases Irish music, history, dance, drama, sports and culture. The Festival is also used by tourist agencies such as Tourism Ireland, Aer Lingus and CIE Tours as an opportunity to market Ireland as a desirable tourist destination.
The travelling Ború tourism delegation will be located in the festival’s ‘Cultural Pavilion’ where extensive promotional material on visitor attractions associated with Ború will be distributed.
Members of the delegation, which includes historians, living history interpreters, genealogists, musicians, a bowyer and a folk theatre group will also deliver a series of public lectures and demonstrations on Brian Ború’s life in culture, history, food, genealogy and music.
Among the sites and buildings associated with Brian Ború that will be promoted in Milwaukee will be Killaloe where he was born, Clontarf where he was killed following his victory over the Viking rulers of Dublin in 1014, St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the City of Armagh where he is buried; the Rock of Cashel where he was crowned High King of Ireland; and Lough Derg and the River Shannon where his navy was located.
All four locations feature prominently in the National Brian Ború Programme, a comprehensive nationwide programme of commemorative festivals and events taking place during 2014.
Representation at Milwaukee Irish Fest by County:
– The Armagh Rhymers are Milwaukee Irish Fest favourites, having developed a following over the past two decades.
– Sheila Rooney & Ciaran McMahan, from the Navan Living History Centre, County Armagh, will connect St. Patrick to Brian Ború and explain why Armagh was important to both.
– Armagh Pipers Club is one of the oldest music schools in Ireland. Siblings Emer Mallon (harp) and Conor Mallon (uillean pipes) will play the music of the region and the music of the time of Brian Ború.
– Jane Halloran Ryan, a genealogist from Tulla
– Úna Kierse, a historian from Killaloe serves as Chairperson of Killaloe Ballina 2014.
– Clare-based bow maker Jack Pinson is an expert on the weaponry of the era of Ború.
– Kincora Traditional Music Group is based in Ballina/Killaloe. Kincora’s leader, Michael Hackett, is an ethnomusicologist and an expert on the music of the time of Ború. Songwriter Michael Scanlan has written a song about the life of Ború.
– Donnagh Gregson, a Bunratty-based chef, will be hosting cooking demonstrations at Milwaukee Fest’s Cooking Tent – the Celtic Kitchen
– Dr. Sean Duffy, a professor at Trinity College, Dublin, is the author of a new history of Brian Ború and his impact upon Ireland. Brian Boru Statue
– Collette Gill directs daily operations at the Clontarf historical Society and will speak on the Battle of Clontarf.
– Sean Laffey, writer and editor for Irish Music Magazine, headed up the Cashel Heritage group, which produced the 2014 Ború celebrations. He will speak on the music of warriors, among other things.
– Geraldine Wall Laffey, an educator, will present scriptorium lettering in both the Children’s Tent and the Boru Tent
– Joanne Hughes, an archaeologist and member of the Cashel Heritage Group, is an expert on the Viking excavations in Ireland. She will present a Viking dig in Viking costume in the Children’s area.
In addition, Maurice Lennon and the Willis Clan will present Lennon’s Brian Ború ‘The High King of Tara’, at the festival. This orchestral suite, written by Lennon in 2002, was produced by Lennon and Donal Lunny, who will also appear at the 2014 Milwaukee Irish Festival. Clare artists Sharon Shannon and Socks in the Frying Pan will also perform at the Fest.
Visit www.brianborumillennium.ie to learn about the National Brian Ború Programme of events taking place during the remainder of 2014. Visit www.irishfest.com for more on Milwaukee Irish Fest.
About Brian Ború:
– Early Life
Brian Ború, son of Cinnéide and Bé Bhoinn, was born in 941 at Killaloe. His family belonged to the Uí Toirdealbhaigh – a Dalcassian tribe who had settled here hundreds of years earlier at Grianán Lachtna on the slopes of Crag Hill. Brian’s father and his grandfather Lorcán were the first of his family to rise to prominence leading their tribe against the Vikings.
– The Vikings
Brian’s father Cinnéide died in battle in 951 and Mahon took over leadership of the Dalcassians. Brian convinced a reluctant Mahon to defend their territories against the Vikings and together they drove them from Cashel and Limerick paving the way for Mahon to become King of Munster in 970. Following Mahon’s murder by rival Munster chiefs, Brian led his tribe and avenged his brother’s death. He attacked Scattery Island, routing Vikings and killing their leader Ivar. He then turned his attention to Donovan and Molloy who were responsible for Mahon’s death and they too were killed. Brian now consolidated his position in Munster with the marriage of his daughter to Molloy’s son. His inauguration as King of Munster took place at Cashel in 977.
– High King of Ireland
Although Brian continued to defend against invading Vikings he allowed those Vikings who had settled and established commercial activities to continue to operate. Some Vikings sided with Brian in his battles against plundering Vikings.
Brian and the High King Malachy at times cooperated in their battles against the Vikings, but their political rivalry continued. At one stage they divided control of the country between them with Malachy reigning in the Northern half and Brian in the South. But Brian had ambitions to unite the whole country. In 999 they successfully captured Dublin from the Vikings and Brian strengthened his position by marrying Gormlaith the mother of Sitric, Viking leader in Dublin at that time. Between then and 1002 Brian demanded Malachy’s abdication. Finally Malachy, unable to gain support of the northern Uí Neills, abdicated and Brian became High King or Ard Rí of a united Ireland.
The tide began to change in 1013 with a revolt against Brian by Leinstermen aided by Dublin Vikings. Vikings in Munster too were getting more active. The spark that led to the Battle of Clontarf may have been a dispute during a game of chess at Kincora. Vikings from the Isle of Man, Orkney Islands and Hebrides came to the aid of Sitric at Gormlaith’s request.
The battle on Good Friday 1014, where the Dalcassian forces defeated the Vikings, resulted in the deaths of Brian, his son and potential successor Murrough and his grandson. After the battle, the bodies of Brian and his son were brought to Armagh by its clergy and waked for 12 nights before being buried in a new tomb.