Celebrate a turning point in Medieval Irish history

23 Apr 2014

Isle of Man Stamps and Coins Marks the Millennium Anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf.

On Good Friday, 23 April 1014, a fierce battle was fought just outside the key trading port of Dublin, between Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland and the Norse, who controlled Dublin and wanted to extend their territory. 

The Battle of Clontarf is a story of gritty determination, courage and bloodshed after two centuries of hostility, thwarted alliances and treaties between the Vikings and the Irish Kings. It was a savage and bloody battle, leaving thousands dead on both sides, including Brian Boru and his heir, but it was a key event which helped extinguish Norse ambitions to conquer Ireland.

Capture and celebrate this monumental event in Medieval Irish history with the Isle of Man Post Office’s eye-catching issue of six stamps commemorating the millennium anniversary of this battle. The stamps feature the striking and dynamic paintings of Victor Ambrus, who has also been an illustrator for the Channel 4 archaeology series Time Team. 

Ambrus’s images reproduced on the stamps use watercolour and ink to portray the brutality and ferocity of the Battle of Clontarf, with each image showing a key figure associated with the battle, or scenes depicting this historic event. Portraits include Brodir the Warrior and Earl Sigurd’s mother Eithne. 

Dr Howie Firth, writer and broadcaster from Orkney, provides an account of the dramatic events leading to the death of Brian Boru, in the sheet that accompanies the stamps. Commenting on this powerful commemorative issue, he says: “It’s tremendous that the Isle of Man Post Office is marking the 1000th anniversary of an event that has resonated through the centuries in stories and sagas. The battle affected the lives of so many people and communities, from Ireland and Man to Orkney and Iceland. The stamps capture the swirl of the battle when the two armies clashed on the land between the Liffey and the Tolka.”

To view the Battle of Clontarf stamps and to pre-order please click here

Image: Battle of Clontarf Millennium 1014-2014 set of 6 stamps


Illustrations: Victor Ambrus

Text: Dr Howie Firth

Printer: BDT 

Stamp Size: 28.45 x 42.58mm 

Colours: 4 

Process: Offset Lithography

Perforations: 14 per 2cms 

Paper: 110 gms PVA Gummed 

No. of Stamps: 6 

Format: Sheets of 15 

Issue Date: 15th April 2014


Set of stamps: £6.24

Presentation pack: £6.99

First day cover: £6.94