Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Ad Multos Annos Your Eminence

To His Eminence, Raymond Leo, Cardinal Burke,  Cardinal Patron of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Prefect Emeritus of the Apostolic Signatura, Cardinal Deacon of S. Agata dei Goti, we wish a very happy birthday!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

A History of St. Laurence O'Toole - Part 1

From Lanigan's An Ecclesiastical History of Ireland (1822, vol. iv, chapt. xxviii, p. 172ff.):

The see of Dublin being now vacant several competitors started for it but the electors fixed their eyes upon the holy abbot of Glendaloch Laurence O'Toole who for a long time resisted their proposal and wishes but at length was forced to submit and was consecrated archbishop in the cathedral of Dublin by Gelasius the primate accompanied by many bishops. (44) This was in the year 1162 (45) The original name of this great and good man was Lorcan (46) and he was of the illustrious house of the O Tuathals being the youngest son of Muriartach O Tuathal prince of Imaly or Imaile in the now county of Wicklow. (47) His mother was of the equally great family of the Hy Brins now usually called Byrne. (48) Lorcan or Laurence remained with his parents until he was about ten years old when he was given as a hostage by his father to the king Diermit. (49) This wicked king bore a great hatred to Muriartach and sent the boy to a barren district where he was treated with great cruelty. His father on being apprized of it seized upon twelve of Diermit's soldiers and threatened to put them to death unless his son was restored to him Diermit alarmed at this menace and knowing that Muriartach's territory was impregnable and could defy all his power thought it adviseable to dismiss Laurence and sent him not to his father but to the bishop of Glendaloch under the condition of getting back his twelve soldiers. The good bishop kept Laurence with himself for 12 days placing him under the care of his chaplain who treated him very kindly and instructed him in the principles of the Christian doctrine Laurence who was at that time 12 years old then returned to his father's residence. (50)

After some days his father taking Laurence with him paid a visit to the bishop of Glendaloch and proposed to him to inquire by casting lots which of his sons he should dedicate to the ecclesiastical state. Laurence on hearing this is reported to have laughed and said Father there is no necessity for casting lots if you allow me I will embrace it with pleasure. The father smiled and the bishop and others present were rejoiced to find that a boy of such high lineage should offer himself for the service of the Church. His father then consenting with joy and taking him by the right hand offered him to God and St. Coemhgen the patron of Glendaloch recommending him to the care of the bishop for his instruction in learning and piety. Under his tuition and protection Laurence made great progress in the religious duties and acquirements necessary for a clergyman but after some years he lost this worthy friend and master who was carried off by death. (51) Yet he still persevered in his pious pursuits and continued to improve in virtue so that after some time he was when 25 years of age elected abbot of the monastery of Glendaloch which was distinct from the bishopric. (52) This abbey was very rich and it had been the custom to choose for its abbots men of the highest families who might be able to protect the adjacent country Laurence made the best possible use of the wealth of the monastery distributing it among crowds of distressed and poor persons who were afflicted by a dreadful famine that raged throughout all that district for four years. (53) He used to provide them by means of his monks with corn and other necessaries and his liberality was so extensive that at length the riches of the abbey not being sufficient for the wants of the poor he distributed among them a treasure which his father had left with him in deposit. He was however as great and holy men usually are reviled by certain false and envious brethren but who with all their malignity could not find any thing in his conduct deserving of reproach. By dint of prayers he cleared the country from some powerful robbers who were overtaken by the divine vengeance. Towards the end of the first four years of his administration tranquillity was restored and a very abundant harvest ensued yet Laurence still continued his largesses to the poor and set about building churches. About this time the then bishop of Glendaloch died and every one called out for Laurence as his successor. But he refused to accept of the appointment excusing himself on his not having as yet reached the age required for a bishop. (54) Some years after these occurrences Gregory archbishop of Dublin died and Laurence was as we have seen appointed his successor. (55)

In the same year 1162 Gelasius of Armagh held a synod at Clane in the now county of Kildare which was attended by 26 bishops many abbots and other clergymen. After enacting several decrees relative to Church discipline and morals it was ordered with the unanimous consent of the synod that for the future no one should be admitted a Fer leghinn that is a professor or teacher of theology in any church in Ireland unless he had previously studied for some time at Armagh. (56) When returned to his diocese Gelasius did not remain idle but immediately made a visitation of it exerting himself most strenuously to correct whatever abuses fell in his way. (57) To said year 1162 is assigned the death of Cathasac, a scholastic of Derry. (58)

Notes in Lanigan
(45) Four Masters ap. Tr. Th. p 309. Ware Archbishops of Dublin at Laurence O Toole
(46) Four Masters ib. Lorcan was latinized into Laurentius. In the quoted Life cap. 2 there is a ridiculous story about his having been called Laurentius from laurus laurel
(47) In said Life cap. 1 his father is called Muriartach O'Toheil and is made king of Leinster. This is a mistake for the O'Tuathal country was far from comprizing all that province. In Butler's Life of St. Laurence at 14 November the principality of Muriertach or Maurice is said to have been in the vicinity of Dublin But Imaile or as usually called the Glen of Imaile is several miles from Dublin lying to the SW of Glendaloch and stretching to near the town of Donard.
(48) The author of the Vit. S.L. says cap. 1 that the saint's mother was called Inian Ivrien that is as he adds daughter of a prince. But this is not the meaning of the words which ought to be translated daughter of Hy Brin or O'Brin from the Irish Ingean pronounced like Inian a daughter and Ivrien that is Hy Brin. It is strange that Harris did not see into this when quoting Archbishops of Dublin at Laurence 8 c. the passage of that author. In a note to the Life in Butler I find instead of Hy Brin or O Brin alias Byrne the name written O Brian. This is wrong for the O Brians were a quite distinct family being of the Dalcassian princes of Munster whereas the O Brins were originally a Leinster house supposed to be descended from the celebrated king Brandubh who was killed about the year 602.
(49) This Diermit is usually and I think justly supposed to have been the famous Dermod Mac Morough king of Leinster although Usher Syllog. Not. ad No. 48 makes him a different person. But I believe he was mistaken Mac Morough was king of Leinster at the time that St. Laurence was ten years old.
(50) Vit. S.L. cap. 3 The then bishop of Glendaloch was apparently the immediate predecessor of Gilla na Naomh Laignech who assisted at the council of Kells but his name is not known.
(51) ib. capp. 4, 5.
(52) In Butler's Life this matter is not stated correctly. In it we read Upon the death of the bishop of Glendaloch who was at the same time abbot of the monastery. Laurence though but 25 years old was chosen abbot and only shunned the episcopal dignity by alleging that the canons require in a bishop thirty years of age. Now in the first place there is no authority for saying that the bishop was also abbot of the monastery. What the Latin Life has is merely that there were in the church of Glendaloch both an episcopal see and an abbey but it does not state that any bishop possessed them both together. On the contrary it constantly represents them as quite distinct and informs us cap. 6 that the abbey was far more wealthy than the see. Nor had Butler any reason for supposing that it was upon the death of the bishop that Laurence was chosen abbot and probably a considerable time elapsed between said death and Laurence's promotion to the abbacy. Next comes a great mistake in Butler's imagining that the bishop after whose death Laurence shunned the episcopal dignity was the same as the one by whom he had been instructed and after whose death he became abbot as if the appointment to the abbacy and the offer of the bishopric had taken place at the same time Laurence was as will be soon seen abbot for four years before he refused to accept of the see that became vacant at the end of them by the death of the bishop who consequently was not the one who had been his master but his successor.
(53) I do not know why Butler has four months instead of four years for in Messingham's edition of the Latin Life four years are mentioned in cap. 6 and cap. 9 54 Vit. S.L. cap. 10 Laurence was then only 29 years old having been appointed abbot at the age of 25. That foul mouthed liar Ledwich gives Antiq. etc. p. 48 as the reason of Laurence not having accepted of the see of Glendaloch that his ambition aspired to an higher dignity the pall and the see of Dublin and he soon attained them. But he did not soon attain them for some years intervened before he became archbishop of Dublin. What idea could he have had at that time of his ever being chosen to govern the Danish city of Dublin he a Tuathal an O'Toole. It is as clear as day light that instead of having an eye to that situation he was forced to submit to it the proposal relative to it having come without his knowledge from the electors of Dublin. The fact is that Laurence did not wish to be a bishop at all. Many a conscientious man may agree to being made abbot but holy men do not aspire to bishoprics Harris was much more honest who says Archbishops of Dublin at Laurence that he could not have the opportunities of exerting his strong disposition to charity when bishop of Glendaloch as he had when abbot because the revenues of the bishopric were infinitely inferior to those of the abbacy. The bishop in whose stead it was proposed to appoint Laurence was I am sure Gilla na Naomh mentioned above Note 50. In what year he died I do not find but it must have been between 1152 and 1161 the year of the death of Gregory of Dublin.
(55) Butler is wrong in stating that St. Laurence was only thirty years of age about the time of Gregory's death. This cannot agree with the Latin life which states cap. 10 that a no short time "non breve tempus" elapsed between the time of Laurence's refusing the see of Glendaloch and that of the death of Gregory. Now Laurence was 29 years old when he made that refusal and in Butler's hypothesis only one year would have passed between it and said death. But surely so short a space would not have been called a "non breve tempus" or how could the author of said Life have said cap. 33 that he died full of days plemts dierum if he was only about thirty when he became archbishop of Dublin. For in this case he would not have outlived the age of fifty whereas his incumbency began in 1162 and he died in 1180. Accordingly Harris was right ib. in reckoning some years between his refusal of the see of Glendaloch and the death of Gregory.
(56) Thus the Life of Gelasius cap. 23 and the 4 Masters ap. Tr. Th. p. 309. But according to certain anonymous annals quoted by Harris (Bishops at Gelasius) the decree was, as he explains it, that they should have been fostered or else adopted by Armagh. As to fostered it means that they must have studied at Armagh conformably to the phrase alumnus which is used for a student in a university or college thus "ex c. alumnus universitatis Parisiens" signifies a student of the university of Paris. But the words adopted by Armagh indicate a class of persons who had not actually studied there but who should be approved of by to use a modern technical term the faculty of Armagh and authorized by it to teach theology publicly in the same manner as in our times degrees and diplomas are taken out at universities and in many of them are granted after previous examination to persons who had studied elsewhere. It is very probable that the decree of Clane did not require that all those who might afterwards be appointed public professors of theology should have actually studied at Armagh and that it was sufficient that on their capability being ascertained they had been approved of by the president and doctors of that distinguished school. It is difficult to think that while there were several other great schools in Ireland "ex c. Lismore Clonmacnois Clonard &c" persons of aspiring genius bent on improving themselves in theology would have been forced to repair from all parts of the island to Armagh to prosecute their studies there. It was a sufficiently high compliment to its school or university to grant it the exclusive privilege of approving of and authorizing persons to become public teachers. The decree understood in this manner was a very wise one inasmuch as it served to uphold uniformity of doctrine.
(57) Life &c. cap. 25
(58) Tr. Th. p. 632

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Election for Prior General, Institute of Christ the King

The following communiqué was issued from the General House of the Institute of Christ the King:
On the feast of St. Charles Borromeo, November 4, 2014, and in accordance with Article 20 of the Constitutions of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, the General Chapter gathered in the presence of Monsignor Patrick Descourtieux of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei at the Motherhouse in Gricigliano in order to elect the Superior General.
The vote elected Monsignor Gilles Wach as Superior General for the next six years.
Let us render thanksgiving to Divine Providence while invoking the intercession of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception so that the Institute may be ever faithful in the service of God’s Holy Church.
Rev. Canon Gilles Guitard
It is available here from the General House's website and here from the website of the United States Province.

Félicitations Monseigneur!

Saturday, 22 November 2014

A great day in Dublin!

With the permission of His Grace the Archbishop of Dublin and the Very Reverend Canon O'Reilly, Adm., St. Laurence's Catholic Heritage Association organised a pilgrimage to the Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, today, to honour the feast of St. Laurence O'Toole, Patron of the Archdiocese, and to venerate his relics enshrined there.

The sacristy staff honoured us by laying out for use at the Mass the vestments made for the High Mass in the Phoenix Park at the 1932 Eucharistic Congress in Dublin and the chalice given as a gift by the People of Ireland to St. John XXIII, gifted by him back to the Pro-Cathedral, and used by St. John Paul II at the Mass that he celebrated in the Phoenix Park when he visited Ireland in 1979.

From Dublin: The City Within the Grand and Royal Canals and the Circular Road by Christine Casey, p. 126 ff:

Marlborough Street

Of 1814-25.  A large and remarkably ambitious metropolitan chapel whose style and scale provided an exemplar for Catholic church building in the city for over half a century.  In all but name, this is the Roman Catholic cathedral of Dublin.  It is the parish church of the archbishop and since its dedication in 1825 it has played a central role in national religious ceremony.  The remains of Daniel O'Connell, Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera lay here in state; John Henry Newman was inaugurated here as the Rector of the Catholic University; and in 1903 John McCormack began his career here with the renowned Palestrina Choir, founded in the previous year.  At 4,734 square ft (1,320 square metres), it was the largest church built in Dublin since the Middle Ages.  The model was French, in particular the basilican church of St Philippe du Roule in Paris (1764-84), a Neoclassical design with a nave, apse and ambulatory... The Pro-Cathedral design is more fastidiously primitif in its employment of Greek Doric throughout, modulated to Tuscan in the tripartite windows of the s elevation.  'Sublimely Greek by any standards' concluded J.M. Crook, 'pedantic' and 'dogmatic' counters Michael McCarthy, both seeing through the many accretions to the original heroic concept.  While substantial C19 and C20 alterations have considerably reduced the potency of the original design, the Pro-Cathedral still ranks among the most powerful Greek Revival church interiors in these islands...

Sunday, 16 November 2014

The Battle of Clontarf, 1014 (Walsh)

From Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy: With the Monasteries of Each County, Biographical Notices of the Irish Saints, Prelates, and Religious, 1854, c. xliv, pps. 420ff:

Clontarf is in the barony of Coolock and at the mouth of the river Liffey. The Danes were defeated at Clontarf and their power annihilated by the victory which Brian Borumhe gained over them on Good Friday the 23d of April 1014.

On that day the pious monarch of Ireland would have avoided fighting but left no alternative as the Danes insisted he resolved on the defence of the rights of his country and religion. Holding a crucifix in his left hand and a sword in his right the monarch rode through the ranks with his son Moragh encouraging his army to terminate forever the oppressions of those tyrants and usurpers who had committed so many cruelties and sacrileges in Ireland so that the memorable day on which Christ shed his blood on the altar of the cross in expiation of our sins should be the last of their power in the kingdom and declaring his readiness to sacrifice his life in so holy and righteous a cause.

As soon as the engagement began Maelseachlin with his men of Meath withdrew and continued as mere spectators of the battle Notwithstanding their inactivity and defection Brian and his faithful troops who heroically fought from sunrise until the close of the day gained a complete victory which shall be ever memorable in the annals of Ireland.

According to one account the Ostmen or Danes between killed and wounded lost thirteen thousand men and the people of Leinster who joined the Danes three thousand. The thousand Danes who wore coats of mail are said to have been cut to pieces with their leaders Charles and Henry Dolat and Conmaol. Among the slain were also Brodar and two Danish princes of Dublin with Maelmurry king of Leinster.

The victory however was dearly purchased for besides a great number of the Irish forces Brian the monarch Morogh his son and Turlogh his grandson fell in this memorable contest together with many chieftains of Munster and Connaught. The monarch was slain in the 88th year of his age and Morogh in the 63d.

Friday, 7 November 2014

A First Friday Mass

This evening at 7.30 p.m., a First Friday Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart was celebrated in the Church of the Miraculous Medal, Bird Avenue, Clonskeagh, Dublin 14.  It was the first time that Mass had been celebrated in this Church in the Gregorian Rite since the liturgical changes.

The magnificent mosaic in the apse of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal is by Ludwig Oppenheimer Ltd., of Manchester.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Mankind was never so happily inspired...

"I never weary of great churches. It is my favorite kind of mountain scenery. Mankind was never so happily inspired as when it made a cathedral," said Robert Louis Stevenson. 

Over the last few weeks our Association has been privileged to make pilgrimages to three of the great Cathedrals of Ireland, to Carlow, to the first Cathedral built after Catholic Emancipation, to Enniscorthy, to AWN Pugin's second great Irish Cathedral, and to Cork, to the North Cathedral that has grown over two centuries from a penal Chapel.  We look forward to honouring our patron, St. Laurence O'Toole, in the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin next month.

Latin Mass in Carlow Cathedral
May, 2014
Latin Mass in Enniscorthy Cathedral
September, 2014

Latin Mass in the North Cathedral, Cork
October, 2014

Friday, 10 October 2014

The Battle of Clontarf, 1014 (Sullivan)

The following is taken from A.M. Sullivan's The Story of Ireland, chapter xiii:


Brian soon became fully aware of the scheme at which the Danes all over Europe were laboring, and of the terrible trial approaching for Ireland. Through all the autumn of that year 1013, and the spring months of the year following, the two powers, Danish and Irish, were working hard at preparations for the great event, each straining every energy and summoning every resource for the crisis. Toward the close of March, Brian's arrangements being completed, he gave the order for a simultaneous march to Kilmainham,[1] usually the camping ground and now the appointed rendezvous of the national forces. By the second week in April there had rallied to the national standard a force which, if numerically unequal to that assembled by the invaders, was, as the result showed, able to compensate by superior valor for whatever it lacked in numbers.

The lords of all the southern half of the kingdom—the lord of Decies, Inchiquin, Fermoy, Corca-Baiskin, Kinalmeaky, and Kerry—and the lords of Hy-Manie and Hy-Fiachra in Connaught, we are told, hastened to Brian's standard. O'More and O'Nolan of Leinster, and Donald, Steward of Mar, in Scotland, continues the historian, "were the other chieftains who joined him before Clontarf, besides those of his own kindred," or the forces proper of Thomond.[2] Just one faint shadow catches the eye as we survey the picture presented by Ireland in the hour of this great national rally. The northern chieftains, the lords of Ulster, alone held back. Sullen and silent, they stirred not. "They had submitted to Brian; but they never cordially supported him."

The great Danish flotilla, under Brodar, the admiral-in-chief, entered Dublin Bay on Palm Sunday, the 18th of April, 1014. The galleys anchored, some of them at Sutton, near Howth, others were moored in the mouth of the river Liffey, and the rest were beached or anchored in a vast line stretching along the Clontarf shore, which sweeps between the two points indicated. Brian immediately swung his army round upon Glassnevin, crossed the Tolka at the point where the Botanical Gardens now stand, and faced his line of battle southward toward where the enemy were encamped upon the shore. Meantime, becoming aware that Maelmurra, prince of Leinster, was so eager to help the invader that he had entered the Danish camp with every man of his following, Brian secretly dispatched a body of Dalcassians, under his son Donagh, to dash into the traitor's territory and waste it with fire and sword. The secret march southward of the Dalcassians was communicated to Maelmurra by a spy in Brian's camp, and, inasmuch as the Dalcassians were famed as the "invincible legion" of the Irish army, the traitor urged vehemently upon his English allies that this was the moment to give battle—while Brian's best troops were away. Accordingly, on Holy Thursday, the Danes announced their resolution to give battle next day. Brian had the utmost reluctance to fight upon that day, which would be Good Friday, thinking it almost a profanation to engage in combat upon the day on which our Lord died for man's redemption. He begged that the engagement might be postponed even one day; but the Danes were all the more resolute to engage on the next morning, for, says an old legend of the battle, Brodar, having consulted one of the Danish pagan oracles, was told that if he gave: battle upon the Friday Brian would fall.

With early dawn next day, Good Friday, 23d of April, 1014, all was bustle in both camps.[3] The Danish army, facing inland, northward or northeast, stretched along the shore of Dublin Bay; its left flank touching and protected by the city of Dublin, its center being about the spot, where Clontarf castle now stands, and its right wing resting on Dollymount. The Irish army, facing southward, had its right on Drumcondra, its center on Fairview, and its extreme left on Clontarf. The Danish forces were disposed of in three divisions, of which the first, or left, was. composed of the Danes of Dublin, under their king, Sitric, and the princes Dolat and Conmael, with the thousand Norwegians already mentioned as clothed in suits of ringed mail, under the youthful warriors Carlus and Anrud; the second, or central division, was composed chiefly of the Lagenians, commanded by Maelmurra himself, and the princes of Offaly and of the Liffey territory; and the third division, or right wing, was made up of the auxiliaries from the Baltic and the Islands, under Brodar, admiral of the fleet, and the earl of Orkneys, together with some British auxiliaries from Wales and Cornwall. To oppose these the Irish monarch also marshaled his forces in three corps or divisions. The first, or right wing, composed chiefly of the diminished legions of the brave Dalcassians, was under the command of his son Morrogh, who had also with him his four brothers, Tiege, Donald, Conor, and Flann, and his own son (grandson of Brian), the youthful Torlogh, who was but fifteen years of age. In this division also fought Malachy with the Meath contingent. The Irish center division comprised the troops of Desmond, or South Munster, under the commander of Kian, son of Molloy, and Donel, son of Duv Davoren (ancestor of The O'Donoghue), both of the Eugenian line. The Irish left wing was composed mainly of the forces of Connaught, under O'Kelly, prince of Hy-Manie (the great central territory of Connaught); O'Heyne, prince of Hy-Fiachra Ahna; and Echtigern, king of Dalariada. It is supposed that Brian's army numbered about 20,000 men.[4]

All being ready for the signal of battle, Brian himself, mounted on a richly-caparisoned charger, rode through the Irish lines, as all the records are careful to tell us, "with his sword in one hand, and a crucifix in the other, exhorting the troops to remember the momentous issues that depended upon the fortunes of that day—Religion and Country against Paganism and Bondage. It is said that on this occasion he delivered an address which moved his soldiers, now to tears, and anon to the utmost pitch of enthusiasm and resolution. And we can well imagine the effect, upon an army drawn up as they were for the onset of battle in defence of "Faith and Fatherland," of such a sight and such an appeal—their aged and venerable monarch, "his white hair floating in the wind, "riding -through their lines, with the sacred symbol of Redemption borne aloft, and adjuring them, as the chronicles tell us to "remember that on this day Christ died for us, on the Mount of Calvary." Moreover, Brian himself had given them an earnest, such perhaps as monarch had never given before, of his resolve, that with the fortunes of his country he and his sons and kinsmen all would stand or fall. He had brought "his sons and nephews there," says the historian, who might have added, and even his grandchildren, "and showed that he was prepared to let the existence of his race depend upon the issue of the day." We may be sure a circumstance so affecting as this was not lost upon Brian's soldiers. It gave force to every word of his address. He recounted, we are told, all the barbarities and the sacrileges perpetrated by the invaders in their lawless ravages on Irish soil, the shrines they had plundered, the holy relics they had profaned, the brutal cruelties they had inflicted on unarmed non-combatants—nay, on "the servants of the Altar." Then, raising the crucifix aloft, he invoked the Omnipotent God to look down upon them that day, and to strengthen their arms in a cause so just and holy.

Mr. William Kenealy (now of Kilkenny) is the author of a truly noble poem which gives with all the native vigor and force of the original, this thrilling "Address of Brian to his Army."

"Stand ye now for Erin's glory! Stand ye now for Erin's cause!
Long ye've groaned beneath the rigor of the Northmen's savage laws.
What though brothers league against us? What, though myriads be the foe?
Victory will be more honored in the myriads' overthrow.  

"Proud Connacians! oft we've wrangled in our petty feuds of yore;
Now we fight against the robber Dane upon our native shore;
May our hearts unite in friendship, as our blood in one red tide,
While we crush their mail-clad legions, and annihilate their pride!

"Brave Eugenians! Erin triumphs in the sight she sees to-day—
Desmond's homesteads all deserted for the muster and the fray!
Cluan's vale and Galtees' summit send their bravest and their best—
May such hearts be theirs forever, for the Freedom of the West!

"Chiefs and Kernes of Dalcassia! Brothers of my past career,
Oft we've trodden on the pirate-flag that flaunts before us here;
You remember Inniscattery, how we bounded on the foe,
As the torrent of the mountain bursts upon the plain below!

"They have razed our proudest castles—spoiled the Temples of the Lord—
Burned to dust the sacred relics—put the Peaceful to the sword—
Desecrated all things holy—as they soon may do again,
If their power to-day we smite not—if to-day we be not men!

"On this day the God-man suffered—look upon the sacred sign—
May we conquer 'neath its shadow, as of old did Constantine!
May the heathen tribe of Odin fade before it like a dream,
And the triumph of this glorious day in our future annuals gleam!

"God of heaven, bless our banner—nerve our sinews for the strife!
Fight we now for all that's holy—for our altars, land and life—
For red vengeance on the spoiler, whom the blazing temples trace—
For the honor of our maidens and the glory of our race!

"Should I fall before the foeman, 'tis the death I seek to-day;
Should ten thousand daggers pierce me, bear my body not away,
Till this day of days be over—till the field is fought and won—
Then the holy mass be chanted, and the funeral rites be done.

"Men of Erin! men of Erin! grasp the battle-ax: and spear!
Chase these Northern wolves before you like a herd of frightened deer!
Burst their ranks, like bolts from heaven! Down, on the heathen crew,
For the glory of the Crucified, and Erin's glory too!"

Who can be astonished that, as he ceased, a shout wild, furious, and deafening, burst from the Irish lines? A cry arose from the soldiers, we are told, demanding instantly to be led against the enemy. The aged monarch now placed himself at the head of his guards, to lead the van of battle; but at this point his sons and all the attendant princes and commanders protested against his attempting, at his advanced age, to take part personally in the conflict; and eventually, after much effort, they succeeded in prevailing upon him to retire to his tent, and to. let the chief command devolve upon his eldest, son Morrogh.

"The battle," says a historian, "then commenced; 'a spirited, fierce, violent, vengeful, and furious battle; the likeness of which was not. to be found at that time,' as the old annalists quaintly describe it. It was a conflict of heroes. The chieftains engaged at every point in single combat; and the greater part of them on both sides fell. The impetuosity of the Irish was irresistible, and their battle-axes did fearful execution, every man of the ten hundred mailed warriors of Norway having been made to bite the dust, and it was against them, we are told, that the Dalcassians had been obliged to contend single-handed. The heroic Morrogh performed prodigies of valor throughout the day. Ranks of men fell before him; and, hewing his way to the Danish standard, he cut down two successive bearers of it with his battle-ax. Two Danish leaders, Carolus and Conmael, enraged at this, success, rushed on him together, but both fell in rapid succession by his sword. Twice Morrogh and some of his chiefs retired to slake their thirst and cool their hands, swollen from the violent use of the sword; and the Danes observing the vigor with which they returned to the conflict, succeeded, by a desperate effort in cutting off the brook which had refreshed them. Thus the battle raged from an early hour in the morning—innumerable deeds of valor being performed on both sides, and victory appearing still doubtful, until the third or fourth hour in the afternoon, when a fresh and desperate effort was made by the Irish, and the Danes, now almost destitute of leaders, began to waver and give way at every point. Just at this moment the Norwegian prince, Anrud, encountered Morrogh, who was unable to raise his arms from fatigue, but with the left hand he seized Anrud and hurled him to the earth, and with the other placed the point of his sword on the breast of the prostrate Northman, and leaning on it plunged it through his body. While stooping, however, for this purpose, Anrud contrived to inflict on him a mortal wound with a dagger, and Morrogh fell in the arms of victory. According to other accounts, Morrogh was in the act of stooping to relieve an enemy when he received from him his death wound. This disaster had not the effect of turning the fortune of the day, for the Danes and their allies were in a state of utter disorder, and along their whole line had commenced to fly toward the city or to their ships. They plunged into the Tolka at a time, we may conclude, when the river was swollen with the tide, so that great numbers were drowned. The body of young Turlogh was found after the battle 'at the weir of Clontarf,' with his hands entangled in the hair of a Dane whom he had grappled with in the pursuit.

"But the chief tragedy of the day remains to be related. Brodar, the pirate admiral, who commanded in the point of the Danish lines remotest from the city, seeing the rout general, was making his way through some thickets with only a few attendants, when he came upon the tent of Brian Borumha, left at that moment without his guards. The fierce Norseman rushed in and found the aged monarch at prayer before the crucifix, which he had that morning held up to the view of his troops, and attended only by his page. Yet, Brian had time to seize his arms, and died sword in hand. The Irish accounts say that the king killed Brodar, and was only overcome by numbers; but the Danish version in the Niala Saga is more probable, and in this Brodar is represented as holding up his reeking sword and crying: 'Let it be proclaimed from man to man that Brian has been slain by Brodar.' It is added, on the same authority, that the ferocious pirate was then hemmed in by Brian's returned guards and captured alive, and that he was hung from a tree, and continued to rage like a beast of prey until all his entrails were torn out—the Irish soldiers thus taking savage vengeance for the death of their king, who but for their own neglect would have been safe."[5]

Such was the victory of Clontarf—one of the most glorious events in the annals of Ireland! It was the final effort of the Danish power to effect the conquest of this country. Never again was that effort renewed. For a century subsequently the Danes continued to hold some maritime cities in Ireland; but never more did they dream of conquest. That design was overthrown forever on the bloody plain of Clontarf.

It was, as the historian called it truly, "a conflict of heroes." There was no flinching on either side, and on each side fell nearly every commander of note who had entered the battle! The list of the dead is a roll of nobility, Danish and Irish; among the dead being the brave Caledonian chiefs, the great Stewards of Mar and Lennox, who had come from distant Alba to fight on the Irish side that day!

But direst disaster of all—most woeful in its ulterior results affecting the fate and fortunes of Ireland—was the slaughter of the reigning family: Brian himself, Morrogh, his eldest son and destined successor, and his grandson, "the youthful Torlogh," eldest child of Morrogh—three generations cut down in the one day upon the same field of battle!

"The fame of the event went out through all nations. The chronicles of Wales, of Scotland, and of Man; the annals of Ademar and Marianus;[6] the saga of Denmark and the Isles, all record the event. The Norse settlers in Caithness saw terrific visions of Valhalla 'the day after the battle.'"[7] "The annals state that Brian and Morrogh both lived lived to receive the last sacraments of the Church, and that their remains were conveyed by the monks to Swords (near Dublin), and thence to Armagh by the Archbishop; and that their obsequies were celebrated for twelve days and nights with great splendor by the clergy of Armagh after which the body of Brian was deposited in a stone coffin on the north side of the high altar in the cathedral, the body of his son being interred on the south side of the same church. The remains of Torlogh and of several of the other chieftains were buried in the old churchyard of Kilmainham, where the shaft of an Irish cross still marks the spot."[8]

[1] The district north and south of the Liffey at this point—the Phoenix Park, Kilmainham, Inchicore, and Chapelizod—was the rendezvous.
[2] "Under the standard of Brian Borumha also fought that day the Maermors, or Great Stewards of Lennox and Mar, with a contingent of the brave Gaels of Alba. It would even appear, from a Danish account, that some of the Northmen who had always been friendly to Brian, fought on his side at Clontarf. A large body of hardy men came from the distant maritime districts of Connemara; many warriors flocked from other territories, and, on the whole, the rallying of the men of Ireland in the cause of their country upon that occasion, as ouch as the victory which their gallantry achieved, renders the event a proud and cheering one in Irish history."—Haverty.
[3] Haverty says: "The exact site of the battle seems to. be tolerably well defined. In some copies of the Annals it. is called ' the Battle of the Fishing-weir of Clontarf:' and the weir in question must have been at the mouth of the Tolka, about the place where Ballybough Bridge now stands. It also appears that the principal destruction of" the Danes took place when in their flight they endeavored to cross the Tolka, probably at the moment of high water, when great numbers of them were drowned; and it is expressly stated that they were pursued with great slaughter 'from the Tolka to Dublin.'" I, however, venture, though with proper diffidence, to suggest that the 'Fishing-weir' stood a short distance higher up the river, to wit, at Clonliffe, directly below where the College of the Holy Cross now stands. For there is, in my opinion, ample evidence to show that at that time the sea flowed over the flats on the city side, by which Ballybough Bridge is now approached, making a goodly bay, or wide estuary, there; and that only about the point I indicate was a fishing-weir likely to have stood in 1014.
[4] Abridged from Haverty.
[5] Haverty.
[6] "Brian, king of Hibernia, slain on Good Friday, the 9th of the calends of May (23d April), with his mind and his hands turned toward God."—"Chronicles of Marianus Scotus."
[7] M'Gee.
[8] Haverty.