After a pause of 1009 years the Battle of Clontarf was headline news once again in Sway Bowmen's very own battle re-enactment. Eight clans fought for the dominion of Ireland, settling their differences on 10 x 12 grids at 20yds playing Archery Battleships. The first clash was little more than a warm up, combining four Irish and four Viking Clans into a field of two Irish and two twin-horned Norse clans of larger size. High King Brian Boru (Jem Mason) was quickly made a vassal by a new king, his son Murdach (Ed Batchelor) whilst Brian's Grandson Toidlbach (Andy Nossum) bent the knee to Gormlaith, Queen of the Irish (Hannah Diffey). Meanwhile down the other end Gormlaith's Uncle Sygrydd Silkbeard (Mick Hayman) was humbled by Sigurd the Stout (Dave Errington) and next door Viking Commander Brodir (Matt Cooper) roaring and beating loudly on his shield with every hit (yes really, every single time!) combined forces with Mael Morda (Peter Yates). Appreciating now the double jeopardy that the more times your opponents hit you the fewer the arrows you have for the next engagement, the warriors girded their loins for the semi-final knockout. The Irish Crown changed hands yet again from Murdach to Gormlaith, while Sigurd the Stout continued to bear down on his fellow Vikings until victorious. A brief break in battle for some Mead recharged the battle weary warriors. The final showdown between Gormlaith's gaggle and Sigurd's hoard saw the curse of the Crown continue and the Vikings rewrote history (a history in which St James's gate presumably now serves Carlsberg rather than Guinness). It was a lot of fun, thank you to all the Chieftains and to our photographer John Clarke who captured the action (check out the gallery here). Well done to all the lower ranking warriors who although not individually named, have earned their place in Sway Bowmen History.
There was no gold on offer today, but the victors celebrated with chocolate instead.
We had a great morning and the weather was kind to us. The Battle of Clontarf and Archery Battleships was a new format for us. It was great fun and proved that it doesn't really matter what the rules of the game are, nothing is better than shooting arrows with friends on a Sunday Morning, especially if you get to do it wearing fake fur, an inflatable crown or an iron helmet.