BRIAN BORU - high king of Ireland (940-1014)

Boru was born into a Munster family in about 940 A.D. and grew up to be a brilliant warrior and tactition. In 968 he retook Cashel from the Danes and restored it as the seat of the Kings of Munster. On the death of his brother in 976 Boru became King of the province and by 984 had gained supremacy over the whole of the south of Ireland. In 1002, after series of battles with Malachy (who ruled the northern provinces from Tara), he gained control of the whole country and was crowned 'Ard Ri' or High King of Ireland. For the first time the country was united under one leadership and from this it prospered with many of the war damaged monasteries being repaired and extended. However in 1040 the Danes staged a rebellion in Dublin. Boru met the rebel army on the shores of Clontarf only to be slain at the moment of victory. The battle ended Viking hopes of ruling the country and firmly established the supremacy of the Celtic High Kingship of Ireland. Brian Boru has become a national hero who successfully united his own people and defeated the foreign invaders.