Battle of Clontarf Mentioned By Queen Elizabeth During Presidential Visit

09 Apr 2014

It is big news at the moment, the Presidential visit of President Michael D. Higgins to England. 

While there President Higgins and his wife Sabina met with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. In a very nice address to the President Higgins the Queen mentioned the Battle of Clontarf in reference to Windsor Castle:

“And a thousand years ago this very month, across the Irish Sea, Brian Boru, the most celebrated of Ireland's High Kings, lost his life at the battle of Clontarf. Yet, despite ten centuries of intervening history, Windsor Castle has had to wait until today to see a formal visit to this country by a Head of State of Ireland.”

Michael D Higgins in his address also made an interesting observation in relation to our closest neighbour:

“Your Majesty: You famously used some words of Irish during your State Visit to Ireland. Today I would also like to draw from the oral tradition of our ancient language a seanfhocal, or wise saying, often applied to the mutuality of relationships. It observes simply: “ar scáth a chéile a mhairimíd.”  

Because scáth literally means shadow, this phrase is sometimes translated as – “we live in the shadow of each other.” However, there is a more open and more accommodating meaning. Scáth also means shelter. “

It would seem that this state visit is proving successful and very note worthy for Clontarf during it Battle of Clontarf Millennium year.