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Brian Boru Board Game

Brian Boru Board Game

“To the ancient Celts, the Morris Square was sacred: the centre considered a symbol of regeneration; and emanating out from it, the four cardinal directions, the four elements and the four winds.” (Simonds, 1997)


Brian Boru was the last High King of Ireland. Brian was born in Killaloe, Co. Clare. He defeated the Vikings at Battle of Clontarf in 1014, but was killed by a fleeing Viking named Brodir. He was laid out under a Yew tree at the Battle site.

Brian Boru’s chess, also called Three Men’s Morris, is an ancient game, dating back to Egyptians & Roman records. Boards were cut into cathedral cloister seats throughout Medieval England, including Westminster Abbey. In China the game was called LukTsutk’I and dates back to at least the time of Confuscius (Bell, 1995).

Timbers handcrafted for the game:

The mainboard is chestnut. Pieces are made from yew, one of the mythical timbers of Ireland, the ‘tree of life’. The black pieces are made from bog oak, 5 thousand year old wood, formed by glacial action on timber buried in Irish bogs.


  1. Starting with the board empty, the opening player places one of his pieces on any square.
  2. The second player then places one of his pieces on a square of his choice.
  3. The game continues until all pieces are on the board.
  4. When all six pieces are on the board, the opening player moves one of his pieces onto an empty square, and the other player does likewise.
  5. The first player to have all their pieces in straight file or diagonal wins.


  1. Each player starts with their three pieces beside each other, on the same row closest to him.
  2. The starting player moves one of their own pieces to a square beside it, and the second player does likewise.
  3. Play continues with each player taking it in turns.
  4. The first player to have their pieces in a straight line, but not the row they started on, wins.