Boru, Brian Boru's Fort, Killaloe, Co. Clare
Boru's fort is located in a very serene and spectacular setting
- overlooking Lough Derg on the River Shannon, just one mile north
of the picturesque village of Killaloe. Beal Boru, as it is more
commonly known, stands on a spur of land which commands the point
where the lake narrows into the River Shannon.
There is a serene beauty and loneliness amidst the tree-surrounded
ring fort which was once the fort of Brian Boru.
Boru (Bórumha, bóraimhe, meaning a cattle tribute)
was either born or reared at this mystical location, according to
folklorist Daithi O hOgain, and the placename, Béal Bóramha,
means the 'port of the cattle tribute'. Boru was high-king of Ireland
from 1002 until his death in 1014AD. His headquarters was the nearby
Ceann Cora (in English Kincora) which is located one mile from here
in the picturesque village of Killaloe. His death came during the
battle of Clontarf against the Norsemen, a battle which was to claim
Boru's life, but which he won nonetheless.
fort can be found by taking a trek down a half-mile grassy pathway
from the Killaloe-Scarrif Road, through a mostly wooded area, and
the place feels detached from the modern world when the trees are
in full leaf. The site is impressive in the height of the outer
side of the banks, and is fairly expansive in size. Apart from a
small amount of litter, the site is in good condition.
ancient times cattle designated as tribute for the Dalcassian chiefs
were driven across the river at this point.
800 stone implements, including stone axes, hammer stones and perforated
stone sinkers for lines and nets, have been found in the immediate
neighbourhood. Ten stone axes were found within the fort in 1936.
So it is quite possible that a Stone Age settlement occupied the
site of Beal Boru because of its position on the river, which could
be forded at this point or used as a safe harbour by craft. In 1961
Professor O'Kelly's excavations revealed an early ring fort which
had been inhabited, abandoned and later built over. The larger structure
was never completed, nor does it appear to have been occupied. The
first habitation dated from the eleventh century until, possibly
1116 when Turlough O'Connor destroyed Boroma and Kincora. In 1207
the Normans tried to build a castle here, probably a motte and bailey
type, but were driven off. Geoffrey de Marisco, the Lord Justice,
eventually succeeded in building a castle in Killaloe in 1216.
Except for some filling in of the ditch and the planting of trees
at the start of the nineteenth century, the fort looks very much
as it did during the thirteenth century. Two Hiberno-Norse coins,
minted between 1035 and 1070, were found here as well as a decorated
piece of local slate, five bronze pins, a tangled stud, 25 large
nails, two small shreds of pottery, animal and bird bones and a
considerable amount of musket balls.
steep-sided outer bank of Beal Boru.
stone revetment at the outer base of the bank.
of Brian Boru's sword
repilca of the sword believed to have been carried by Brian Boru
has been created. There will only be 400 swords made. The blade
features a round tip as with most huge swords from that time period,
since they were for hacking instead of stabbing. The long wide fuller
starts about 9" below the hilt and runs for some 30" ytowards
the tip. A leather backstap is also included with the sword.
of Brian Boru - Surrounded by his Dalcassion Knights, Brian marched
into Leinster at the head of about thirty thousand men in the beginning
of April 1014, in three divisions, and was there joined by Malachy
II., King of Meath. He encamped, as he had done the year before,
in the war against Maelmordha, near Kilmainham. After both armies
had viewed each other it was agreed to determine the fate of Ireland
by a general battle on the plain of Clontarf. Brian offered the
Danes battle on Palm Sunday, which they declined; but on Good Friday,
they signified, by their dispositions, that they were about to open
felt much grieved that a day so sacred to the Christians should
have been destined for the work of death; but with dauntless spirit
and a calm and confident exterior he issued orders for arranging
his troops in order for battle.
ranks had been formed before daylight, and as the sun rose, Brian
rode through the lines of his soldiers with a crucifix in one hand,
and a drawn sword in the other; he reminded them of the day selected
by the pagan invader to offer battle, and exhorted them to conquer
or die. Standing in the centre of his army, and raising his powerful
voice, his speech was worthy of so great a king and so good a man:
"Be not dismayed my soldiers, because my son Donough is avenging
our wrongs in Leinster; he will return victorious, and in the glory
of his conquests you shall share. On your valor rests the hopes
of your country today; and what surer grounds can they rest upon?
Oppression now attempts to bend you down to servility; will you
burst its chains and rise to the independence of Irish freemen?
Your cause is one approved by Heaven. You seek not the oppression
of others; you fight for your country and sacred altars. It is a
cause that claims heavenly protection. In this day's battle the
interposition of that God who can give victory will be singnally
manifested in your favor. Let every heart, then, be the throne of
confidence and courage. You know that the Danes are strangers to
religion and humanity; they are inflamed with the desire of violating
the fairest daughters of this land of beauty, and enriching themselves
with the spoils of sacrilege and plunder. the barbarians have impiously
fixed, for their struggle, to enslave us, upon the very day on which
the Redeemer of the world was crucified. Victory they shall not
have! from such brave soldiers as you they can never wrest it; for
you fight in defense of honor, liberty and religion-in defense of
the sacred temples of the true God, and of your sisters, wives and
daughters. Such a holy cause must be the cause of God, who will
deliver your enemies this day into your hands. Onward, then, for
your country and your sacred altars!" . . .
thanks to Clare Library for granting me permission to use copyrighted
material about Beal Boru from the Clare Library website. For more
information, visit www.clarelibrary.ie
or see more about the Killaloe area at this