As Ireland marks the millennium of the Battle of Clontarf – portrayed as a heroic encounter between Irish and Vikings which defined the nation’s identity - new research argues that our main source for what happened may be more literary history than historical fact.
An 1826 painting of the Battle of Clontarf by the Irish artist, Hugh Frazer
[Credit: Isaacs Art Centre/Wikimedia Commons]
The standard account of the Battle of Clontarf – a defining moment in Irish history which happened 1,000 years ago this week – was partly a “pseudo-history” borrowed from the tale of Troy, new research suggests.
The findings, which are to be published in a forthcoming book about the intellectual culture of medieval Ireland, coincide with extensive celebrations in Dublin marking the millennium of Clontarf, which was fought on Good Friday, April 23, 1014.