The Central Bank of Ireland are issuing (April 30th) a new gold coin which remembers The Battle of Clontarf which was fought on Good Friday 1014 and is considered one of the great battles in Irish History. Often portrayed as a major battle between the Viking invaders and the Irish, it was a much more complex struggle for the High Kingship of Ireland with Irish and Vikings fighting on both sides. Ultimately, it ended in victory for the Irish King Brian Boru (c. 941 – 1014)
Two centuries before the Battle of Clontarf, Norsemen arrived in Ireland and gradually established settlements around the island. High King of Ireland Brian Boru from Munster had defeated the Viking armies in several battles. Mael Mordha, the king of Leinster had joined forces with the Vikings, including the leader of the Dublin Vikings, Sigtrygg Silkbeard, to challenge Brian Boru’s authority. Brian and his army set off towards Dublin to quell the challenge. The opposing forces met on Good Friday 23rd April 1014 and the result is remembered as the bloodiest day in ancient Ireland. King Brian’s army routed Mael Mordha’s army of Leinster men and Vikings and drove the fleeing Vikings back towards the sea at Clontarf. According to legend, as the victorious King Brian knelt praying in his tent, the Viking warrior Brodir ran into Brian’s tent slaying the King with his axe.
The Battle of Clontarf left Ireland in political stalemate. Brian Boru was dead, and his passing had a major impact. He had united Ireland in a way that had never been seen before – a huge achievement. However, the Dublin Vikings continued to prosper economically after Clontarf and in time a new Hiberno-Norse culture was achieved.
The coin, designed by Irish sculptor Noel Hoare features a carved stylized and modern contemporary portrayal of Brian Boru – the victor in the battle for the High Kingship of Ireland. The text “CLONTARF 1014” is included around the upper half of the coin’s design. The reverse of the coin bears the traditional representation of the Irish harp, known as the Brian Boru Harp along with the text “EIRE” and the year of issue “2014” on either side.
The coin will have its official launch on the 30th April – pre-orders and after launch sales can be arranged by visiting the Central Bank’s website at: http://www.centralbank.ie/paycurr/collector/Pages/Coinsets.aspx Information offered in Gaelic and English – international orders dispatched.