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Activity relating to the commemoration of the 1000th year anniversary of Brian Ború’s death following the Battle of Clontarf has significantly ramped up in recent days with the launch of the Brian Boru Programme 2014 at Trinity College Dublin.

Coordinated by Clare County Council, the programme has developed into an All-Ireland initiative with strong co-operation evident between Clare, Dublin, Tipperary County Council and the Armagh City & District Council.

The programme features a series of commemorations in the four main locations with connections to the life and High Kingship of Ireland’s best known historical figure; namely Cashel where Brian was crowned High King of Ireland, Killaloe/Ballina which was the seat of Brian’s High Kingship of Ireland (1001-1014AD), Clontarf where Brian was killed following his victory over the Viking rulers of Dublin at the Battle of Clontarf, and the City of Armagh where Brian is buried.

The extent of the initiative was evidenced recently by the hosting of a meeting by the North South Ministerial Council in Armagh, attended by both Joint Secretaries of the Council as well as the Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Chief Executive of Armagh City and District Council.

“The overall process has been led by Clare County Council in an effort to ensure that the Brian Ború millennial anniversary is established as an important cultural and tourism activity which lays the platform for further cultural and tourism development in future years,” commented Mayor of Clare Joe Arkins.
 
“The energy and passion around this initiative is fantastic to see,” the Mayor added, continuing: “There is no doubt that there is a very strong desire to build a quality programme on an all-island basis and the North South Ministerial Council and Armagh City & District Council are more than willing to fully participate in this. There is a huge amount of work being done by voluntary groups, not only in Killaloe-Ballina but in Cashel, Clontarf and Armagh, and the local authorities have joined forces to co-ordinate this activity and ensure it is brought to national stage.”

Gerard Dollard, Director of Services, Clare County Council said that contact is also being maintained with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland, as well as other agencies and organisations.

He added: “There is no doubt that if the strong support from the national agencies and tourism bodies can be brought to bear on this initiative, it will pay dividends from a tourism and cultural perspective.”

“Locally, we have been delighted to receive funding through the Clare Local Development Company under the Leader programme and by pooling the resources of all local authorities, we have been able to mount a quality programme for 2014 but there is much more that can, and should, be done. Regular meetings of the group will continue during 2014 and we look forward to liaising with the North South Ministerial Council on this and other initiatives,” concluded Mr. Dollard.

As the birthplace of Brian Ború, Ballina Killaloe takes centre stage for the majority of events taking place during 2014.

At Thursday’s Programme launch, students of St. Anne’s Community College in Killaloe performed The Kincora Call – a New Zealand style Hakka with a distinctive Irish and Brian Ború slant.  The Transition year students performed in front of an audience that included Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan T.D., Dublin Lord Mayor Oisín Quinn, and the 18th Baron Inchiquin, Conor O’Brien who is a direct descendent of Boru.

Local events scheduled to take place during 2014: Artists in Schools Programme, Killaloe Ballina (- 31 Mar), Puppet Show, Killaloe Ballina (6 Mar), Killaloe Ballina St Patrick’s Festival (15-17 Mar), Kincora Traditional Weekend, Killaloe Ballina (4–6 Apr), Film on the life of Brian Ború, Newmarket-on-Fergus (18 Apr), A Welcome to the Vikings, Killaloe Ballina (19–20 Apr), Our Native Woodlands as known to Brian Ború, Tuamgraney (20 Apr), The Bóroimhe Suite, St. Flannan’s Cathedral (23 Apr), The Big Pink Gig, Killaloe Ballina (24 Apr), Whitegate May Bank Holiday Festival (2-5 May), Choral Celebration & Gala Concert, St Flannan’s Cathedral (3 May), Fleadh Nua, Ennis (18-26 May), Tuamgraney Community Weekend (29 May-2 Jun), Killaloe Pink Ribbon Walk (8 Jun), Killaloe Music Festival (13–15 Jun), Clare Fleadh Cheoil, Killaloe (17- 22 Jun), Brian Ború Inauguration Re-enactment, Quin (21 Jun), Brian Ború Challenge Cup, East Clare Golf Club (Date tbc), Celebrate Scattery Island (July tbc), Féile Brian Ború, Killaloe Ballina (3-6 Jul), Inland Waterways Lough Derg Rally, Killaloe Ballina (11-12 Jul), Xterra World Series Off-road Triathlon, Killaloe Ballina (19-20 Jul), Doonbeg Seafood Festival (19– 20 Jul), Kilrush Traditional Music & Set Dancing Festival (6- 10 Aug), Brian Ború Tri Challenge, Twomilegate (9 Aug), Brutal O’Brien Pageant, Mooghaun Hill fort (24 Aug), Brian Ború Conference, Killaloe Ballina (Date tbc), Killaloe Water Festival (Date tbc), East Clare Walking Festival, Tuamgraney (19–21 Sep), Our Native Woodlands as known to Brian Ború, Tuamgraney (5 Oct), Féile Eile, Killaloe Ballina (10- 19 Oct), Ború3Peaks (11–12 Oct), Killaloe Festival of Light (24–25 Oct), and Killaloe Ballina New Years Eve Festival (31 Dec–1 Jan). The website www.brianborumillennium.ie will host the full programme of events and will go live on January 31st.