1014: Brian Boru & the Battle for Ireland

1014                                                            MORGAN LLYWELYN

In life, the eleventh-century Irish king Brian Boru held the Vikings at bay; in death, he remains a towering presence in history and legend. A thousand years have passed since the Battle of Clontarf, a turning point in Irish history in which two centuries of strife between Irish kings and Vikings climaxed in a fateful conflict in the swamps of Dublin. This fascinating survey explores the personalities on both sides and provides a vivid, accessible account of the historic clash.
Morgan Llywelyn, author of the bestselling Lion of Ireland, ranks among the world's most successful and respected historical novelists writing about Ireland and Celtic culture. With this book she departs from fiction to transmit decades of research into a page-turning exploration of a warrior king's life, loves, and battles, bringing the facts to life with a novelist's eye for detail and drama.


A very thoroughly researched book about the history of Ireland and also Vikings that would come and conquer parts of it. The author starts off with the different legends first of Brian Boru, how that some were not believed for many centuries and it was not until artifacts were discovered that the real story soon became known. There are parts of the story that is still not known for sure but for the most part, the author does a very good job of going through life before and after Boru. He takes you through the different Kings and to when he eventually became King himself.
You are taken through the different battles that he fought and won. The men that he studies, and how he would use the land as a weapon against his foes, leading some attackers into the marsh or boog. He would have many wives for this was one way to increase his power and to help form alliances with other tribes also.
You are given a description of the different weapons used by the Irish and then the Vikings. He also would capture a Viking sword when he was younger and he taught himself how to fight with it and he would use it in his battles. The Vikings would have metal helmets and metal protecting their chest and legs. The Irish only had leather and wooden shields so the battles would be very bloody and it would take multiple strikes by both to kill your opponent and that is what would happen. If they did use the Viking sword you needed both hands to swing it and it was used to take off an arm, bottom part of leg or foot. Even striking the shoulder, it was meant to take out your opponent
Leading up to the battle of Ireland as it would be known as. The author leads you through all of the players and then how everyone was set up for that day. This battle which started in the morning would last into the evening. Just when the Vikings thought they could leave they were wrong, Bour had set his men in an area that he knew would not get flooded. And slowly the Vikings and the men who fought with them drowned not making it back to their boats. Those that were tried from swimming were dragged out and killed. This would go on throughout the rest of the day. The problem turned was Boru sent away his own guards and later he would end help killed himself. He along with his oldest son. So, though they won the battle Ireland actually lost. A fascinating story and one that you see Boru blood is still living or at least that is the way I took it. Overall a good book if you are into history. I received this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at

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