An account of the High King of Ireland, Brian Boru’s stirring speech given to his army before battle against the Danes on Good Friday 1014:
“Their ranks had been formed before daylight, and as the sun rose, Brian rode through the lines of his soldiers with a crucifix in one hand, and a drawn sword in the other; he reminded them of the day selected by the pagan invader to offer battle, and exhorted them to conquer or die. Standing in the centre of his army, and raising his powerful voice, his speech was worthy of so great a king and so good a man: ‘Be not dismayed my soldiers, because my son Donough is avenging our wrongs in Leinster; he will return victorious, and in the glory of his conquests you shall share.
“On your valor rests the hopes of your country today; and what surer grounds can they rest upon? Oppression now attempts to bend you down to servility; will you burst its chains and rise to the independence of Irish freemen? Your cause is one approved by Heaven. You seek not the oppression of others; you fight for your country and sacred altars. It is a cause that claims heavenly protection. In this day’s battle the interposition of that God who can give victory will be singly manifested in your favour.
“Let every heart, then, be the throne of confidence and courage. You know that the Danes are strangers to religion and humanity; they are inflamed with the desire of violating the fairest daughters of this land of beauty, and enriching themselves with the spoils of sacrilege and plunder. The barbarians have impiously fixed, for their struggle, to enslave us, upon the very day on which the Redeemer of the world was crucified. Victory they shall not have! from such brave soldiers as you they can never wrest it; for you fight in defence of honor, liberty and religion – in defence of the sacred temples of the true God, and of your sisters, wives and daughters.
“Such a holy cause must be the cause of God, who will deliver your enemies this day into your hands. Onward, then, for your country and your sacred altars!’.” (From Annals of Innisfallen, Mooney, p436)