tively succinct) article published on the subject just recently. Here's an excerpt:
One thousand years ago this week, Brian Boru, High King of all Ireland, defeated NorseKing Sitric Silkenbeard of Howth at the Battle of Clontarf. Brian Boru is a hero to many Irish people and widely revered for his great achievements.
Historical records tell us that, among other things, he ended the Uí Néill clan’s 500-year reign as high kings of Ireland, and also, through his victory at Clontarf, kicked theVikings out of Ireland. However, we have an independent record of the past in our genes. We can look to patterns of genetic variation here to ask if Brian Boru was effective on both of these counts.
The Uí Néill clan trace their origins to the perhaps mythical Niall of the Nine Hostages. Niall was supposed to have lived 500 years before the Battle of Clontarf. Using genetics it is possible to trace Niall’s DNA and measure his legacy in terms of how many descendants he left. We can’t go back to AD 500 for a DNA sample, but we can look at modern O’Neills.
Ireland has one of the oldest surname traditions in the world. Also, whereas in other countries names reflect professions or townlands, Irish surnames refer to ancestors. Traditionally, surnames are passed from father to child. Barring adoption and other cases, the handing-down of this outward symbol of family is mirrored exactly by the genetic transmission of Y-chromosomes from fathers to sons. This genetic inheritance forms an unbroken chain from the past to the present.
You can read the rest of the article here.…
the point man of this battle, I have a great account of this event, and his death was said to have happened in his tent, not long after he learned of the death of his son during the battle. I will try to put this account here in the near future.
BTW, I do remember seeing a magazine article online many years ago, and if I remember correctly it stated that the O'Brien clan chief had in his possession Brian's sword. He kept it in his apartment. It was stolen not long after this magazine article (1960). I thought it a shame this sword was not kept in a museum and now it's lost to us except for that image. Here is a bit on this including a plea for the return of the sword:
8, in Loughgall (he spelled it "Lochgall"), county Armagh, kingdom of Ultonia. Working as an army surgeon, Dr. O'Kelly did the 1699 campaign against the last Mayan Kingdom of Peten Itza. In the Archive of the Indias in Seville, we found his account of the garrison's ghastly condition. We come 10 generations after him.
So far, we have not been able to tie him to his family in Ireland. I went to Ireland last year, and I am still thanking our good Lord for the chance to meet so many wonderful persons. When a young man working for the Armagh City Museum heard this story, he urged me to visit King Brian Boru's resting place. He went on to describe the battle of Clontarf in detail as if it had happened a year ago. I understood then that history is so alive in Ireland that the span of 10 generations is an eye's flicker. JP…