07 March 2014

A tour through the battlefields of Clontarf

The tide was out at the Bull Island and Clontarf at mid-day today (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

Patrick Comerford

I am working throughout the weekend with students who are on a residential weekend, and I had spent time with my GP on Thursday evening, going through the results of a blood tests and a hospital check-up and receiving another injection for my B12 deficiency.

When my B12 levels run down and my sarcoidosis symptoms play up as I face tough working demands, no matter how pleasant, the physical symptoms can be quite demanding and trying. So it was good to get the opportunity to head off after this morning’s service in the institute chapel, and to spend some time taking photographs for a magazine feature I am writing for next month, marking the 1,000th anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf on Good Friday 1014.

There are many questions to ask about the Battle of Clontarf and the myths that surround out, including why it has come to be regarded as an Irish victory over the Vikings when Brian Boru was slain on the battlefield, the O’Brien dynasty eventually lost its grip on the Irish monarchy, and the Vikings prospered, seeing Dublin prosper as a city and staging a major invasion of England.

The towers and turrets of Clontarf Castle under blue skies today (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

Indeed, the battle was fought on a far wider landscape than Clontarf, and my photographic tour took me through Phibsboro, Glasnevin, Finglas, Drumcondra, Fairview, Clontarf and Dollymount.

It was a beautiful sunny, spring morning, with clear blue skies, and an ideal day for concentrating on photography. The tide was out at Fairview, Clontarf and Dollymount, but it all added to the beauty of the locations for my photographs.

Later two of us headed further north to Howth, which is still associated with King Sitric, the Viking King of Dublin. We walked along the West Pier before having lunch in Il Panorama, a crowded and delightful Italian-style café and bistro.

By the time it came to returning to work, I felt refreshed and ready to go again.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Given the maps 1600 and further back no battle could have taken place in the muddy salt marshes of the area. Both sides would have sunk. It is a given that landings were possible but any battle with thousands of men lined up on both sides had to have happened in wider firmer plains of such as Glasnevin/ Finglas. The Fairview area at that time seems to have been a similar uncontrolled widespread marshy area. So it is refreshing to hear you include these areas. The dead in their thousands are buried somewhere but nowhere is known.Except those nobles who were taken to Kilmainham they say. What do you know from your research?