The Legend of Brian Boru

As the last High King of Ireland, Brian Boru is a key figure in Irish legend and history. Brian Boru or to use his Irish Gaelic name Brian Borumha mac Cennetig, ruled Ireland from 1002 to 1014.

Brian Boru was born in the early 10th Century, in the ancient Irish Kingdom of Kincora, near the town of Killaloe on the banks of the River Shannon in County Clare. Boru’s father was the King of Thomond and his mother was the daughter of the King of Connacht.

From the 9th Century, Ireland was under constant attack by Vikings, who ransacked churches and villages in the east and began to establish settlements in what later became the cities of Dublin, Waterford and Limerick. When he was still only a child, Brian Boru’s mother, father and elder brother were killed by Vikings and Boru became king of the province of Munster.

In 1002, Brian Boru established himself as High King of Ireland after successfully challenging the reigning king to the title and defeating him in battle at the Hill of Tara. As King, Brian Boru sought to rebuild the churches plundered by the Vikings and reorganize the church in Ireland with the Armagh Cathedral at its head. Boru managed to do what no other High King of Ireland had done, he established himself as King of Ireland in more than just name, by forcing all other challengers to swear allegiance to him during a ten-year campaign.

But Boru faced rebellion from a Leinster king based around Dublin. By both land and sea, Boru set out to attack the rebels in Dublin, who were bolstered by Viking mercenaries from Orkney, the Western Isles and the Isle of Man. On Good Friday 1014, the two armies met at the Battle of Clontarf. Boru’s forces greatly outnumbered those of the rebels and after a daylong battle, the rebels were routed.

But the victory was short lived, for as Brian Boru was praying in his tent, he was murdered by a group of retreating Vikings. According to the annals, the losses of the Battle of Clontarf were very heavy. 6,000 Vikings and rebels were killed, including all their leaders, while Irish losses were around 3,000. But the greater loss to the Irish was that of Brian Boru and his sons, with them passed the last High King of Ireland.


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Great Irish Band #11 – The Frames

irish rock bands, the frames, lt corner pub, irish pub

The Frames in Dublin

The Frames are an Irish rock band from Dublin and are a part of the remnants of the Dublin rock scene of the early 90’s. They’ve done 6 albums and have been very influential on the European music scene and are another band that never got their due.

Founded by Glan Hansard in 1990, the band got its name from his hobby of fixing bicycles. His house was littered with the frames of bicycles and his neighbors referred to it as “the house with the frames”.  The band has had many members over the years including people from Thin Lizzy and Kila, two other great Irish Bands.

The band is also known for interspersing snippets of songs by other artists into their own as a form of homage; notable examples are “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley, “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash, “Lilac Wine” by James Shelton (as made popular by Jeff Buckley / Elkie Brooks) and “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’.

In 1991, Hansard came to public attention after taking the part of “Outspan” Foster in the film The Commitments. However, Hansard regretted this role as he felt it distracted from his music career. Mac Con Iomaire also had a cameo in the movie as a violinist auditioning for the band. Bronagh Gallagher, one of Hansard’s colleagues, can be seen wearing a Frames T-shirt in her appearance in the film Pulp Fiction. Hansard appeared on screen as the principal character parodied by Irish music comedy Web site and in 2007 as the lead in the movie Once which featured his songs.

See what we mean about influential?

The band is still together, although the original lineup is not. Like most bands, some have come and gone and others have passed away. But the work is there and its great work. Here we feature a great song by The Frames called “Falling Slowly”. Enjoy…



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