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Province Munster Biographies


Munster Ireland Biographies
A new message, "Brian Boru -- Irish Chieftain and King of the Province
of Munster," was posted by Jean Rice on Sat, 14 Oct 2000

Surname: Boru, Silkbeard

NAME: Jean Rice
DATE: Oct 14 2000
QRYTEXT: BRIAN BORU: In the 10th century, an obscure Irish chieftain from the banks of the Shannon made his reputation fighting Vikings, then rose to become king of the province of Munster and ultimately High King. In the Book of Armagh, Brian Boru would one day style himself Emperor of the Irish.

Ireland had never seen anything like him. He was an exceptional combination of warrior and statesman, a practical strategist who studied the careers of Caesar and Charlemagne, and won as many battles through psychology as with the sword. He also loved poetry and played the harp! During the course of his long life he had several wives and more than 30 concubines, and marriages which he arranged for his children passed his blood into the royal houses of Europe.

Brian Boru was the first to envision an Ireland in which the various peoples would flow together like many streams to form one river. With subtle diplomacy he made allies among the Vikings who had been his enemies and encouraged them to become part of Irish society. During his reign as High King, the island enjoyed an era of relative peace and prosperity. He even planned the establishment of a royal dynasty that would carry his vision for Ireland into the future.

Then in 1014, rebellion! Brian had set aside his troublesome wife, Gormlaith, a princess of Leinster. By an earlier marriage to a Viking she was mother to Sitric Silkbeard, Viking king of Dublin. Gormlaith and her brother, Maelmora, encouraged Sitric to call allies from throughout Scandinavia to overthrow Brian and complete the conquest of Ireland. Sitric actually offered his mother in marriage to any northman who killed Brian Boru!

A giant of a man at age 73, Brian Boru rode to battle for the last time. At the fishing weir of Clontarf, north of Dublin, his Irish and Viking allies fought the rebellious Leinstermen and an invasion force of their Viking allies. At the end of that fateful Good Friday Brian had won, and the threat of foreign domination was destroyed.

-- "Ireland, A Graphic History," M. Llywelyn & M. Scott.

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