In 1002 A.D.,
the chieftain of an obscure Irish clan rose to claim the High Kingship
of Ireland. Brian Boru united Ireland's warring tribes under one
leader for the first and only time in Irish history. A scholar as
well as a warrior, King Brian rebuilt churches, encouraged education,
repaired roads and bridges, and roused the country to rise against
the Norse invaders who had been ravaging Ireland for centuries.
On Good Friday in 1014 A.D., Brian's
army challenged a host of Vikings and their allies on the plains
of Clontarf. Though his troops were victorious, Brian's son and
grandson perished in the battle. Brian himself died as he prayed
in his tent, murdered by fleeing Vikings who stumbled upon his camp.
Many historians have speculated that
Ireland would be a different place today if Brian Boru and his heirs
had survived the Battle of Clontarf. A Band of Roses presents one