The battle of Clontarf story and Gortnaclea

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Title: The battle of Clontarf story and Gortnaclea
Authors: Ní Úrdail, Meidhbhín
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Date: Nov-2014
Online since: 2019-04-01T07:41:48Z
Abstract: One of the most popular texts among eighteenth- and nineteenth-century scribes in Ireland is a literary re-enactment of the historical battle at Clontarf in 1014 called Cath Cluana Tarbh (hereafter CCT). To its eighty-nine extant manuscript sources described in my recent edition of the text, one more is now to be added which came to light in 2012 and was subsequently purchased by the Royal Irish Academy where it is now preserved as MS 12 K 50. There are two principal reasons for the popularity of CCT: firstly, at the heart of its message is the fact that the battle itself amounted to Brian Bóraimhe’s victory over centuries of Viking heathen oppression in Ireland; secondly, rather than being a record of events, the historical battle at Clontarf in 1014 is presented as a story in which ‘heroes shine and villains play their sinister parts and dramatic incidents are invented or exaggerated for the benefit of the reading public’. These two reasons are not exceptional in the case of CCT, of course, as the same holds true for the earliest literary account we have in Irish concerning the battle of Clontarf, namely that in the early-twelfth century Irish text known as Cogadh Gáedhel re Gallaibh (hereafter CGG) or the ‘War of the Gaels against [lit. ‘with’] the Foreigners’.
Type of material: Journal Article
Journal: Laois Heritage Society Journal
Volume: 7
Start page: 131
End page: 135
Keywords: Battle of ClontarfCath Cluana TarbhVikingsGortnaclea
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Irish, Celtic Studies and Folklore Research Collection

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