Group release Boru commemoration album ahead of Battle of Clontarf Anniversary

11 Apr 2014 - 11 Apr 2014 Clasac centre, Alfie Byrne Road, Clontarf

The Boroimhe Project is made up of a group of singers and musicians from Dublin, Mayo and Limerick, who came together over a shared love of music and history. Studying events through contemporary annals and more recent academic studies into the famous battle, the group has put together this album featuring nine specifically composed songs which form a narrative of events preceding, during and after the battle, and incorporating the perspectives of many of the characters who were involved; not merely the battle’s leaders.

Paul Dolan, of East Wall, is the Project Leader and has been involved in a number of projects relating to the Battle of Clontarf and Brian Boru over the years. He set out to capture this most important historic event in song and music, resulting in this album. The CD itself is dedicated to the late Joe Teeling, local East Wall hero who founded the East Wall Water Sports Centre, where Paul is the current Chairman.  As a result of Joe’s relentless determination to develop a recreational watersports  amenity in the Clontarf estuary, a community has been established where thousands of young people come to enjoy watersport activities in the famous waters where the Battle of Clontarf itself took place.

Paul Dolan commented, "The Boroimhe Project was born out of a desire to mark the millennium anniversary of this landmark event – the Battle of Clontarf and all that it means for the area. It is in huge part a dedication to the late Joe Teeling, whose tireless efforts have made the East Wall Watersports Centre the vibrant community success it is today. Joe was fascinated by the stories and the history of the estuary, and passed this interest on to myself and many other young people who had the chance and fortune to be involved in the projects he ran. He inspired us and today through the work of the East Wall Water Sports Group, we continue to carry on that legacy and keep children and the community connected to a very important part of our local heritage and our connection to the water.”

Dolan added “While this album celebrates the anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf, it equally celebrates the vibrant water sport community we have in the area – and the ongoing future of the project – which is great testimony to the living legacy that exists here. I was delighted to be able to mark the event through compiling a CD for the occasion, and it means a great deal to me as someone who has gained so much from it to in some small way mark the celebrations and give something back to the community that has meant so much to me.”

The CD showcases the musical talents of the Donnellan family, a well known traditional Irish music family from Mayo, (ably assisted by their cousin Tommy O’Hora), whose influences stem from their father's origins in the county Clare. For Kevin Donnellan, who has taken a leading role in creating much of the album’s music, the Boroimhe Project was a chance to explore and experiment with a fusion of different musical influences.

According to Kevin Donnellan, "This isn’t just another traditional Irish album about Brian Boru. It’s a foray into the various musical skills and influences that exist in the group. As a result, the songs and tunes on the album each have a unique feel-be that rock, trad, folk, blues, classical or jazz. In some ways the diversity of musical influences somehow reflects the various sides of the battle, and the many factions competing for supremacy in Ireland at that time, that are so integral to the story itself. The album explores the story of the Battle of Clontarf from the perspective of people who haven’t been heard of in the discussion before; for example, the young soldier who is battle-weary and doesn’t want to go to war again, or the famed beauty Gormlaith, Boru’s wife, with whom he had quite a tempestuous relationship. It’s telling the story of before, during and after the battle, through the eyes of some of the different players involved-and importantly, it asks the listener to think twice about the role of the Vikings, both in the battle, and in the wider context of Irish history.”

?The CD will be launched on Friday 11th April in the Clasac centre, (CD price on the night €10.00) Alfie Byrne Road, Clontarf, at 8pm. 

The CD costs €15 and will be available to purchase at: Celtic Note of Nassau Street; HMV on Grafton Street; Glasnevin Museum; and online at The Boroimhe Project’s website:

You can also follow the group online at Facebook: and Twitter:

The Boroimhe Project will be gigging at a number of upcoming festivals around Ireland this summer, Project updates are available at the above sites.

The Boroimhe Project: Song List

  1. Game Changer:  Brian Boru lets it be known throughout his kingdom that he is still in charge and will not tolerate anyone who dares to try to bring him down.
  2. Don’t Wanna Go to War:  After Boru became the High King in 1002, a period of relative peace reigned in Ireland, and many of his soldiers settled back into normal life. This is the story of one of those soliders, a Dalcassian, who has had enough of going to war and plots a way to avoid the Battle of Clontarf.
  3. The Ruse
  4. Brian Boru’s March:  This song is based on an account of the battle recorded in the historic annals. Brodar, a Viking from the Isle of Man, and his fleet of ships, tricked the forces of Boru by sailing out of sight the night before the battle, only to return under cover of darkness to set up camp on the Clontarf coastline. The song leads into Brian Boru's March, a traditional Irish tune with a new interpretation.
  5. Gormlaith:  Gormlaith was Brian Boru's wife but she was also intimately connected with his enemies. She was in fact the mother of Sitrius Silkenbeard, leader of the Dublin Vikings, and sister of Maelmaordha, King of Leinster. This song explores Gormlaith's relationship with Boru. 
  6. Hell at High Water:  An unknown survivor of the Battle gives a first-hand account of the bloody scene that unfolded before him on Friday 23rd 1014. The instrumental piece which follows portrays the tide carrying the bodies of the fallen from both sides out to sea. 
  7. The Tolka / Tom and Timmy’s:  ‘The Tolka Jig’ was composed by Kevin Donnellan one fine day, looking out over the Tolka estuary as it flowed along by Clontarf. He composed ‘Tom & Timmy's’ in memory of both of his grandfathers.
  8. Bring the Men Home: After the battle, the surviving Dalcassians, weak and weary, had a long and treacherous walk back to Kincora in Killaloe, Co. Clare.
  9. Walking with Brian Boru:  A chance encounter with the ghost of  Brian Boru at Clontarf in 2014 inspired a man and his dog to write this song.
  10. Think about your Name: This song invites the listener to think about their heritage; who they are,  where they came from, and whether or not they could be a distant relation of Brian Boru or a  Viking.