A people's literature is the great textbook for real knowledge of them. The writings of the day show the quality of the people as no historical reconstruction can. — Edith Hamilton

Brian Boru

Civilization: British — Ireland
   Field of Renown:  monarch — King
Era:  Saxon-Norman

brian boru
Brian Boru was a son of Cenneide, a king of Thomond in Ireland (later known as Limerick). He passed his youth in fighting against the Danes, who were constantly ravaging Munster, the northern part of which district was the home of Brian's tribe, and won much fame in these encounters. In 976 his brother, Mahon, who had become king of Thomond about 951 and afterwards king of Munster, was murdered; Brian avenged this deed, became himself king of Munster in 978, and set out upon his career of conquest. He forced the tribes of Munster and then those of Leinster to own his sovereignty, defeated the Danes, who were established around Dublin, in Wicklow, marched into Dublin, and after several reverses compelled Malachy, the chief king of Ireland, who ruled in Meath, to bow before him in 1002. Connaught was his next objective. Here and also in Ulster he was successful, everywhere he received hostages and tribute, and he was generally recognized as the ardri, or chief king of Ireland. After a period of comparative quiet Brian was again at war with the Danes of Dublin, and on the 23rd of April 1014 his forces gained a great victory over them at Clontarf. After this battle, however, the old king was slain in his tent, and was buried at Armagh. Brian has enjoyed a great and not undeserved reputation.

—derived from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Key events during the life of Brian Boru:

Brian Boru is born, second son to the king of Thomond.
Death of Brian's father. The crown passes to his brother Mahon.
  Brian's youth spent fighting Vikings.
Becomes king of Thomond, Munster, and Cashel on the death of his brother.
Recognized as high king of Ireland.
Drove away the Viking invaders at the Battle of Clontarf, but died in battle.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Brian of Munster  in  Historic Boys  by  E. S. Brooks
Before the Conquest  in  Ireland: Peeps at History  by  Beatrice Home

Image Links

Does the Scourge of the Danes shrink thus at a maiden's voice?'
 in Historic Boys

The boy-chieftain knelt and kissed the hem of the daring little maiden's purple robe
 in Historic Boys

Thus it was the soothsayer's prophecy was fulfilled.
 in Our Little Celtic Cousin of Long Ago