Stamps mark battle’s 1,000th anniversary

Conor O'Brien, a descendant of Brian Boru High King of Ireland, with Maxine Cannon from Isle of Man Stamps and Coins

Conor O'Brien, a descendant of Brian Boru High King of Ireland, with Maxine Cannon from Isle of Man Stamps and Coins

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The Isle of Man Post Office has launched a special commemorative set of stamps, marking the millennium anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf.

The postal service has also produced a first day cover edition of the stamps which are post marked with the anniversary date, limited to 1,000 editions.

The stamps feature six distinctive designs, which were created by artist Victor Ambrus, an archaeologist on Channel 4’s Time Team.

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

The resulting victory for the Irish marked a key turning point in the history of Ireland and stemmed the power of the Norse.

The stamps range in price and are a limited edition range signed by the artist, all with a unique and individual design.

Dr Howie Fifth of Orkney and a stamp expert said: ‘It’s tremendous that the Isle of Man Post Office is marking the 1,000th 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 battle, when the two armies clashed on the land between the Liffey and the Tolka.’

He added: ‘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.’

The artist’s images are reproduced on the stamps using 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.

As part of the events commemorating the battle, the original illustrations of the stamps were on display at the Clontarf Castle Hotel in Dublin on Thursday.

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