A Fantastic June Lecture on Brian Boru and the Vikings



A full house again at our stunning venue (thank you Wood and Bell Café!) last Wednesday evening as locals and visitors alike crowded in to hear Professor Howard Clarke explain the nature of medieval kingship as it related to Brian Boru. With an attendance of just under sixty, we were just about good for chairs!

Professor Clarke posed the initial question of whether Brian Boru ‘saved’ Ireland from a ‘Viking conquest’. He then carefully broke down each part of that question so that we understood just what Ireland looked like at that period in time, and what role Brian Boru played in it. He gave a detailed and illustrated picture of both England and Denmark from the same period, so that we could compare Brian to his colleagues there. We also heard about some fascinating characters such as Sitric Silkbeard and the coins he minted, a couple of which are in the photo above. The lecture concluded with the answer of ‘no’, but the journey we took with Professor Clarke to reach that conclusion was both entertaining and educational. If you missed the lecture, you can catch up on some of the arguments in this Irish Times article.

Professor Clarke’s book on the subject unsurprisingly sold out on the night, but you can buy it online for a great price at this link. The book contains a lot of local information about Brian Boru and Killaloe-Ballina too. Some genealogical questions were raised in the audience after the talk, and you can find a custom guide to tracing your roots in the Killaloe-Ballina area by local genealogist Paddy Waldron here.

A huge thanks to Professor Clarke for travelling to give us this lecture, and to Kincora Guesthouse for providing him with free accommodation on behalf of the society. Our venue for the night was also provided free of charge by Wood and Bell Café. Without the support of these generous local businesses, we would not be able to showcase such wonderful scholarship, so please do support them.

The July lecture is very early in July – check out all the details here!


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