Wednesday, May 18, 2011

History: Dublin Vikings

The Vikings, those hoary Scandinavians who legend tells us stood well over six feet tall and wore heavy helms encrusted with horns, were some of the most successful sea raiders of all time. They combined the swift and merciless attack strategies of buccaneers with the organized mercantile machinery of privateers. But, for many of the same reasons that saw their figurative descendants leave freebooting behind, the Viking penchant for piracy eventually went by the wayside.

What set the Vikings apart was their commitment to colonization as well as raiding, and one of their favorite places to settle down and put their doubtless enormous feet up by the fire was Ireland. Around my house, we hold a fond belief that Scandinavian men just really liked Irish girls but that’s speculation on our part.

It is no surprise then, but certainly a delight, to hear that a new Viking settlement has been discovered in the Temple Bar area of Dublin, Ireland. This article from Archaeology Daily and this one from Irish Central report that, while building retractable canopies over Meeting House Square, workers discovered a timber structure. Work stopped and archaeologists were brought in.

So far two Viking buildings dating from the 10th or 11th century have been found as well as pottery shards which are probably from a later era. Active excavation is underway now and the planned Temple Bar 20th Anniversary celebration set for this July will probably be postponed or moved to keep from disturbing the area.

Because Viking settlements were often built entirely of timber with thatched roofing, many of them are no longer available for study. This makes the Dublin find all that much more exciting. I’ll surely be checking back on this one, and will update when new information is available.

Header: Viking Village via


Timmy! said...

Ahoy Pauline! I think they liked French girls too, but then, who doesn't?

Pauline said...

Ahoy, Timmy! Exactly!

Isis said...

I hope you don't mind me pointing out that the the horned helmets are just a myth. The vikings wore plain helmets. But they may very well have liked the Irish girls, because there were too few women in Scandinavia to go around. :)

Pauline said...

Ahoy, Isis! Right you are; those helmets would have been useless in battle. And given that the famous Irish red hair comes from Scandinavian genes, you have to think there's something to the theory. I hope your spring has sprung in the Viking homeland.

Isis said...

The Swedish vikings went to Russia and the Danish and Norwegian to France and Britain, so they sure spread out. :)

Of course I knew I had Viking as ancestors- kind of hard not to when you are Swedish, but I learned last year that I can count the Danish king Harals Bluetooth as an ancestor, right at the height if the Viking age.