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Family History Ireland

Historian and Author

Visitors to my website may be interested to know that 2014 is the 1,000th anniversary of the famous Battle of Clontarf, fought on Good Friday 23rd April 1014. The battle is the subject of my new book 'The Battle of Clontarf, Good Friday, 1014', published in 2013 by Four Courts Press. Many thanks to FCP for publishing my book 999 years to the very day after this famous battle was fought. Throughout April 2014 I gave a series of talks to schools and local history and heritage societies to help commemorate this very important event in Ireland's medieval history.

This is the extract that appears on the back cover of the book:

'The story of the Battle of Clontarf, fought a thousand years ago, on 23 April 1014, is an inspiring one. It is a tale of ambition, determination, courage and sacrifice. Although the history of the battle has often been misrepresented, it is without doubt one of the most important events to have taken place in medieval Ireland. The battle was not just influential in Irish history; it also had a major impact on the subsequent history of the jarldom of Orkney - a Scandinavian power that lay to the north and west of medieval Scotland. Brian Boru emerges from the pages of this illustrated book, not as the great reforming high-king of legend, but as a highly ambitious and intelligent monarch, whose steely resolve led his army to victory on the Clontarf battlefield that Good Friday in 1014'.

My book was launched by Joe Duffy of RTE at a very enjoyable book-launch held in the Gutter Bookshop, Cow's Lane, near Dublin City Hall and Temple Bar, on a very sunny June evening (5th June 2013). Many thanks to Joe, Bob of the bookshop, the staff at Four Courts Press, Ambassador Niels Pultz the Danish Ambassador to Ireland, Grete Ødegaard the Chargé d'Affaires of the Norwegian Embassy and to all my family and friends and the many others who also attended.

This is what Howard Clarke one of my old lecturers from UCD had to say about the book: 'This is an example of an expert book written by a self confessed non-expert - and it is a resounding success. ... McGettigan's book is full of details and insights, referenced to the primary sources. One of its strengths is a sense of Irishness: time and again we are given the Irish text accompanied by a translation. Another is the remarkable selection of illustrations ... the 32 images amount to an eclectic mix of artefacts, illuminated manuscripts, photographs, prints and maps. This is a book from which there is much to learn and in which there is much to enjoy'. History Ireland magazine, March/April 2014. (Thanks v.much Professor Clarke!).


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