The event took place at Clasac, on Alfie Byrne Road in Clontarf. Its purpose was to celebrate, take stock of, and close the programme of events which took place during 2014 and commemorated the millennium of the Battle of Clontarf.
There were some artifacts on display and a range of books and booklets were on sale.
A series of panels recalled the various events that were staged during the year, and they were many, and the panels also featured the series of postage stamps issued by the Isle of Man (Viking sympathisers!) for the occasion. These were beautifully produced and put our own efforts to shame.
I don't think this was Brian Boru's guardian angel but it is coming up to Christmas and she was at the top of the tree in the foyer. So a Happy Christmas to one and all while we're at it.
And then down to the business of the evening which was introduced by Collette Gill, without whom none of what happened this year would have happened at all. Not only was she the major driving force, pulling it all together, but she did a mountain of work at the coalface itself (if that's not too much of a mixed metaphor).
The idea for this night was to have a number of people, who had been involved in organising some of the events of the year, give a brief account of what they had done and how it had gone.
This turned into a litany of unbelievable successes during the year, which included:
- a once in a lifetime re-enactment of the Battle of Clontarf
- a permanent heritage trail along the prom
- a series of excellent lectures
- acquisition and exhibition of a priceless painting of the Battle
Clontarf Historical Society, along with Raheny Heritage Society, were central to many of the year's events. In particular they organised a series of high quality lectures around the themes of the Vikings, Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf. Many of these presented the results of new research and, at one of them, Pete St. John's new composition, "March for Brian Boru", was launched.
Residents of the area not only pitched into the organisation of events but supported them in large numbers. The year contributed enormously to cultivating a spirit of community across the area.
The involvement of the Business Association and its members in the year's activities has contributed to a greater sense of cooperation and community in the area.
Clontarf now has a permanent presence on a very nice website as a result of cooperation undertaken during the year.
Dublin City Council has been very much to the fore in the years events. A particular success was the Battle of Clontarf in St. Anne's Park which the Council made available and managed. [The Battle itself was organised by the Fingal Living History Society and was ten years in the making.] The Council was also involved in the setting up of the Heritage Trail on the Promenade.
Raheny Heritage Society, as mentioned above, worked with the Clontarf History Society on the lecture series. This was a busy year for Douglas who is deeply involved in the Bram Stoker Festival and is also attempting to complete the longstanding study of the Howth Road.
Anne Louise reminded us of the excellent Millennium Art Exhibition in Clontarf Castle, and while we're at it, I would mention also the more general exhibition in St. Anthony's Hall which included a set of very interesting old maps as well as an ubiquitous Viking who threatened me with beheading, were it not for the presence of his young daughter.
A number of classes in the boys school participated in a variety of competitions held during the year. It is refreshing to see young people getting involved in community/local history activities. I'm a past pupil of Belgrove Junior NS myself having spent my first year of schooling on the premises.
Apart from a number of scouting activities, the movement has struck a special badge for the year and there is already huge demand for copies of this including from collectors abroad.
The girls were not behind in their participation in a number of events.
As Bruder and his allies came by sea, it was appropriate for the Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club to stage a number of events during the year. These involved cooperation with other seagoing organisations including those from outside the immediate area.
An ecumenical Ciminio type walk was organised, including the marking of cards and provision of a final certificate.
The Tennis Club organised a tennis marathon to go from 10:14 (am) on the day to 20:14 in the evening. Participation exceeded all expectations and the marathon continued way beyond its intended completion time.
The Minister had opened the commemoration in January and it was fitting that he turned up to close it, arriving just in time.
Collette, without whom none of this would have happened, retook the stage to wind up the retrospective, and rightly got a standing ovation from those present.
She went on to introduce the musicians who were to play us out for the rest of the night.
Despite some great spirited music, I didn't see anyone take the floor. Well there were lots of tables and chairs in the way and no small quantity of mulled wine had been consumed by then.
Among the politicians attending (all in the back row) were: Councillor, and former Lord Mayor, Naoise Ó Muirí, FG, (second from left); Senator Averil Power, FF, (centre); Minister Richard Bruton, FG, (third from right); and Minister of State Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Lab, (extreme right). I saw Councillor Seán Haughey, FF, present earlier in the night.
Below are links to posts on some of the 1014 related events I attended during the year.
Talk: Pat Wallace - February 2014
Talk: Cathy Swift - March 2014
Talk: Colm Lennon - April 2014
Exhibition - 30 March 2014
Eve of Battle - 18 April 2014
Round the Field - 19 April 2014
The Battle - 20 April 2014
Rose Festival - 21 July 2014
Creative Writing Competition - 15 December 2014