Monday, April 21, 2014

Collateral damage

Not everybody in attendance at the Battle of Clontarf 2014 went away unwounded.

Some got badly fatigued on the retreat to the city when Dublin bus sent its fleet back from the battle stop full of people.

They were then unable to pick up stragglers on the five kilometre march back to town, though unarmed people waved in vain at the passing ships of the road.

It had been 1,000 years since Brian Boru and his Irish army defeated a heap of Norsemen and their Irish supporters in the area of Clontarf.

Many re-enacters arrived from all corners of the globe from Texas to New Zealand, Denmark and Ballymun to pretend to kill one another in front of thousands of people come to see a re-enactment in scorching sunshine.

There was the nub.

Sunshine on Irish skin is more dangerous than any amount of vaux Vikings roaring their heads off.

The glaring sunshine took many of us by surprise.

Including myself.

I had been chatting to the warriors before they assembled to march into battle.

I became trapped among the marching Dublin warriors and could not escape from within a funnel of people newly opened up to allow the column of fighting men through to the battle ground.

Before long I found myself at the corner of the killing ground where I stayed as my new friends walked on.

I was soon surrounded by several million spectators.

Grand so.

But I could not retreat from the beating sun, no hat, nor sun cream was to hand.

That's how I got my battle burns.

Standing in an Irish park in the broiling sun watching a re-run of a thousand year old battle.

Brian Boru was killed that day, though his army won the savage confrontation.

Nobody ever says whether anyone was sunburnt though.

Storytelling here


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