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One thousand years ago, two armies gathered on the outskirts of Dublin in what would become one of the most celebrated events in Medieval Irish history. The Battle of Clontarf would decide the fate of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland, and involved leaders from across Ireland and around the Viking world. This April, dozens of events will be held in commemoration of this event. Here at Noho, we are working with Dublinia—Ireland’s leading Medieval Museum—to create two audiovisual pieces for their exhibition on the Battle of Clontarf. The first short video will deal with the battle itself: what we know happened on that day, and the outcomes of the battle. We are building a 3D computer model of Dublin at this time, as well as using animations of the armies coming together from around the region. As with all medieval events, it is often difficult to separate truth from legend. Popular accounts claim that the Battle of Clontarf took place on Good Friday, and that the High King was triumphant and threw the Vikings out of Ireland, although Brian Boru himself was treacherously slain in his tent where he was observing Easter prayers. There are elements of truth in this story, although some parts are, perhaps, later attempts to idolize Brian and set him up as a Christian martyr. The idea that Brian threw the Vikings out of Ireland also glosses over the fact that there were Irish and Viking warriors on both sides of the battle, and that Vikings continued to play a part in Irish history for many generations after 1014, particularly in Dublin where Sitric Silkenbeard was King. The second video deals directly with these historical complexities. We are creating a character vignette of the author of the Cogadh Gaedhel re Gallaibh—the history of the “War of the Irish and the Foreigners,” which is the source text for much of what we know about Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf. The account was written approximately 100 years after the battle, and was commissioned by the King, who was either Brian’s grandson or great-grandson. This video will deal with the subjectivity of history, and how our ideas are shaped by the identities of the authors. We are well underway with the script writing and preliminary graphics work for both pieces. The exhibition opens in April, so look forward to updates from us on our progress! (Also, if you happen to be in Dublin for Easter weekend, there’s quite a lot you can look forward to: http://www.brianborumillennium.ie/)
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