Battle of Clontarf Millennium Commemoration
Dublin City Council
2013 - 2014
As experts in the field of historical and cultural events, running the annual JORVIK Viking Festival for 30 years and recently developing the Yorkshire Medieval Festival, alongside running seasonal programmes of events for our five heritage attractions in York – we are the natural place to come for advice and help in planning, developing and delivery of engaging, historical events.
In early 2013 we were approached by Dublin City Council for an initial advisory discussion relating to an idea they had had about marking the millennium of the Battle of Clontarf with a large-scale outdoor Viking event to take place over Easter weekend 2014 outside Dublin. Following this initial discussion we were engaged to deliver a presentation to the Council working group for the event, demonstrating how JORVIK Viking Festival is developed and delivered, to conduct a site visit of the proposed event location, and engage in discussions to ascertain what the event objectives were, what the event would look and feel like, and advise how content could be presented to the audience – in particular exploring the myth, legend and reality surrounding the main protagonist Brian Boru, widely cited as the last High King of Ireland.
After Dublin City Council’s decision to proceed with development of the event, we were engaged in a planning and development advisory role. Phase one of the project for us was to undertake research into how DCC might go about developing this event, who would be involved and what it would look like, then to present findings for the purposes of furthering plans for the commemoration. This research process included gathering information, establishing levels of interest and determining skills available from various Viking-era re-enactment groups, companies and individuals. This was done by contacting and meeting with groups/individuals within our own professional network, those known to DCC, by targeting new groups based on recommendation from trusted sources and investigating groups in locations relevant to the Battle of Clontarf (Isle of Man, Orkney, and Highlands)
Information on the background to the Battle of Clontarf, historical context, outline vision for the event and details of what was being sought in the way of skills and experience, was circulated to the above and was also the subject of an article we wrote for re-enactor publication Skirmish Magazine. An expression of interest form was also provided, to ensure submissions followed a consistent format and to allow us to follow up on references for quality control purposes.
Phase two of the project involved meeting with the working group to discuss findings, at which we put forward an outline plan for the event; a living history weekend encampment based at St Anne’s Park, and consisting of a variety of battle displays, craft activities, specialist demonstrations, storytelling, falconry and horse-mounted Viking displays. DCC were also provided with a written report of the findings at this stage.
Phase three, the final phase of our engagement, was the development of a full site plan for the event, considering all active participants, essential services (toilets, first aid, catering providers etc) and needs of specialists such as falconry. As part of the final phase we were also asked to present on staging ideas for the site and submitted a report of ‘set dressing’ suggestions alongside the site plans – this included ideas for dressing the various zones of activity as authentically as possible to the period whilst also adhering to safety guidelines.
The final phase then concluded with a handover meeting with DCC’s event manager for the commemoration at the event site. All research, background information, site plans and reports were discussed and passed on for successful delivery of the event.
The event went ahead over Easter weekend 2014 and vast amounts more than the estimated 20,000 attended, with over 40,000 visitors on the first day; the park looked fantastic and all involved had a wonderful time marking this hugely special and interesting period in Ireland’s history.
We couldn’t have planned the Battle of Clontarf event without Danielle, we found her to be extremely professional, helpful and well connected and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her to anyone looking for similar guidance. Dublin City Council