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Brian Boru
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    (941-1014)
    Born in Kincora, Killaloe, County Clare, Munster
    Brian Bóruma mac Cennétig (Old Irish); Brian Bóramha (Modern Irish)
    King of Munster (c. 978 - 1014); High King of Ireland (c. 1002 - 1014)
    Founder of the O'Brien dynasty; son of Cennétig mac Lorcain, and younger brother to Mathgamain
    Ended the domination of the Irish High Kingship by the northern Uí Néill
    Gained control of a majority of southern Ireland; formally acknowledged as High King at Athlone in 1002
    Campaigned against the northern Uí Néill, when they refused to accept his claims, against Leinster, where resistance was frequent, and against the Norse-Gaelic Kingdom of Dublin
    Authority was challenged when his ally Máel Sechnaill was attacked by the Cenél nEógain king Flaithbertach Ua Néill, with the Ulstermen as his allies, the Dubliners and the Leinstermen, in 1013
    Killed along with his son, Murchad, in the bloody Battle of Clontarf, near Dublin, on Good Friday (1014); power was usurped by previously dethroned Máel Sechnaill
    Body was taken to Swords Co Dublin for last rites and interred (allegedly) near the north wall at St Patrick’s Cathedral in the city of Armagh
    He is the namesake for an innumerable lot of Irish pubs.
    He inspired a bizarre (genuinely creepy) 1959 live action Disney movie, 'Darby O'Gill and the Little People.'
    He was regularly referenced in promos for pro-wrestler Sheamus as part of his WWE 'King Sheamus' character.
    His 'last king of Ireland' crown was the subject of a Relic Hunter episode (even though he wasn't the last, just the most popular).
    The popular image of him as a unifier of Ireland stems from a 12th-century book, 'The War of the Irish with the Foreigners,' which remained the undisputed source into the 1970s.
    Contrary to the myth, he did not free Ireland from a Viking occupation, because it was never conquered by the Norse Vikings, in the first place (rather, many intermarried and assimilated into Irish society).
    Colm Meaney's Miles O'Brien claims to be a direct descendant of his in an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
    The news of the exhumation of his remains in a 'learned' article turned out to be an elaborate April Fools' Day practical hoax-joke (April 1, 2014).
    Artists rarely depict him without his harp, although there is little to no historical record ever to back this up.
    He is so associated with his mythical harp that a harp displayed at Trinity College Dublin has long been claimed as 'The Brian Boru Harp,' even though it dates to a period centuries after his own reign.
    He was recognized by the lesser kings as the supreme ruler of Ireland.
    Ireland's traditional repertoire 'Brian Boru's March,' remains a staple among Irish musicians and military marching bands.
    He became High King after defeating the Ui Neill ('O’Neill') dynasty, which had ruled Ireland for generations.
    He made a journey around the whole of Ireland, in 1005.
    He known for being a generous benefactor and strong supporter of the Irish church.
    He lived into his seventies; which was considered a ripe age in the early Medieval period.
    His 'harp' remains a national symbol in Ireland, and is the insignia for Trinity College in Dublin.
    Almost as significant; the 'Brian Boru harp' became the insignia for the famous Irish dry stout brewery, 'Guinness.'
    He avenged the murder of his brother by killing the Norse ruler of Limerick.
    Some historical accounts claim he refused to fight during the Battle of Clontarf because it meant spilling blood on Good Friday.
    While reports vary as to exactly how he was killed, the most enduring legend claims he was stabbed in the back by fleeing mercenaries while he was praying in his tent.
    Historical depictions may show him with a harp to draw comparisons to the biblical King David, who played the harp strings (which might give an indication as to how crucial he is to the Irish identity).
    He is memorialized in a famous 13th-century Irish ballad: 'On Good Friday Brian was killed/Defending the hostaged Irish/Just as Christ without sin was killed/Defending the children of Adam.'

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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