The Battle of Clontarf, Good Friday 1014
‘This is an example of an expert book written by a self-confessed non-expert – and it is a resounding success … McGettigan’s book is full of details and insights … One of its strengths is a sense of Irishness: time and again we are given the Irish text accompanied by a translation. Another is the remarkable selection of illustrations … This is a book from which there is much to learn and in which there is much to enjoy', Howard Clarke, History Ireland (March/April 2014).
‘Darren McGettigan tells the story of one of the most important events in Irish medieval history … For those who want to know more about the battle and its hero, Brian Boru, this slim volume should make for an enjoyable read', Scolaire Staire (July 2013).
‘Darren McGettigan’s The Battle of Clontarf addresses some of the popular preconceptions about Brian Boru’s clash with Norse and Leinster forces at Clontarf on Good Friday 1014. It does so in an engaging and colourful manner, distilling many of the recent scholarly insights about the battle, and indeed Ireland more generally in the late tenth and early eleventh centuries, into a form palatable to non-specialists … [it has] many high-quality colour illustrations … this is an enjoyable, affordable and attractive book that serves well as an introduction for non-specialist readers to early 11th-century Ireland and the battle of Clontarf as the millennium of that famous clash nears’, Sparky Booker, Studia Hibernica (2013).
‘By sifting such evidence and looking for consistent themes the author puts forward a sequence of events for the battle which represents a strong claim to being as near to credibility as a lapse of a thousand years will allow … insights into the colourful life and times of the leading figures from the Viking era make the book an accessible overview of the years when Irish and Norse made war and made peace almost a thousand years ago', Liam Kenny, Leinster Leader (May 2013).
‘In this study Darren McGettigan provides a detailed account of the defeat of the Norsemen by Brian Boru at Clontarf on Good Friday 1014 … The author sets the scene by describing the Ireland of that time … this study significantly increases our knowledge of the battle of Clontarf and as well the real, as distinct from the legendary, Brian Boru', J. Anthony Gaughan, Irish Catholic (July 2013).
‘McGettigan delivers the hand-to-hand combat in stunning detail as King Brian’s Munster warriors and South Connacht fighters engaged the better-equipped, but smaller army of Scandinavian warriors and Leinstermen … The narrative relies on ancient Icelandic and Irish manuscripts as well as bountiful primary and secondary sources … McGettingan’s book expertly delivers the downtempo pace of travel and communications across that ancient world – concepts alien to our expectations of instant everything. Yet after 1,000 years, the Battle of Clontarf still resonates with people, thanks to volume like this one that delineate the eternal importance of alliances and resources – prime factors that figure in every war, everywhere', The Celtic Connection (November 2013).
‘The attractive layout of McGettigan’s volume and its clear illustrations will ensure that the book has widespread appeal. The visual evidence he presents pertaining to the period is highly effective, and in his focus on circumstances prevailing prior to the battle, he rightly sets the encounter in its broader context’, Máire Ní Mhaonaigh, Irish Literary Supplement (Spring 2016).