|Brian Bóruma mac Cennétig|
I read that he was the first king of united Ireland. Then I read that the Ui Neill dynasty had been claiming the high kingship of Ireland for about six hundred years before Brian staked his claim.
I read that he drove the Vikings from Ireland. Then I read that the Danes who settled in Ireland had been assimilating for a couple hundred years before Brian's reign. The Vikings might have invaded, but they never conquered the island, so they could not be overthrown or driven from it. In fact, Brian's home territory of Munster had many Hiberno-Norse settlements in it; Brian's army is believed to have benefited from the superior weapons and ships introduced by the Norse.
|57 Center Street, Portland Maine|
So why does this guy have one of Portland's finest pubs named after him? And why is he considered a beatus? The answer has two parts.
|Where are these places you're talking about?|
Brian chose to go on the offensive against his wife's ex-husband. Invading Meath in 1002, he defeated Mael Sechneill and forced him to acknowledge that he, Brian, was the new High King of Ireland.
|King Mael Sechniall of Meath|
Epilogue: Brian didn't hold the High Kingship very long. Mael Morda, king of Leinster, enlisted a horde of Danes from the Isle of Man and the Orkney Islands, and raised an insurrection. Brian and his sons (and their army) met the rebel force on Good Friday (April 23, 1014), at Clontarf, just north of Dublin. It was a Pyrrhic victory for the High King. He won the battle but lost his life, leaving his old rival Mael Sechniall to reclaim the high kingship. Ireland slid back into its balkanized condition of perpetual border wars. But, for one brief shining moment...