Brian Boru

Ireland's Greatest King?
by Maire Ni Mhaonaigh
EUR24.99 ($27.99)
The first-ever biography of the most famous of Ireland's High Kings. Brian Boru king of Munster, was among the most successful of all medieval Irish monarchs. Succeeding to the kingship of Dal Cais on the death of his brother Mathgamain in 976, he managed in the course of his long reign, by a combination of military skill and political astuteness, to enforce his authority over much of the country. In so doing, he became the first ruler outside the Ui Neill to make a bid for the overlordship of Ireland, thereby indicating that the high kingship was in fact a prize to be won by the most powerful claimant. Brian fought Vikings, subdued other Irish kingdoms too, but was finally slain at the battle of Clontarf in 1014. His power largely died with him. Nevertheless, his descendents continued for generations to bask in his glory. How and why Brian acquired the legendary reputation he did in the thousand or so years following his death is the first step in understanding one of Ireland's great heroes, allowing us to come closer to the historical Brian.
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