Episode 2 sees the Vikings enter Irish History. Were the Vikings really blood thirsty? In this show we hear what it was like to experience a Viking attack, why the attacks started, what did the Gaelic Irish make of these people when they first appeared and how they dealt with these raids.

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The Vikings (part 1)

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Below is a map that highlights the various places mentioned in the show

[googlemaps http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&t=h&hl=en&msa=0&msid=103101166614936650601.00048537e19cb065e61be&ll=69.534518,-29.091797&spn=13.749873,66.862796&output=embed&w=425&h=350]

Glossary of names and places

Charlemagne (meaning Karl Magnus or Charles the Great) 742 -814 – He was crowned king of the Franks (inhabitants of modern France) in 768. He was the most powerful man outside of Muslim Europe in the late eight and early ninth centuries. In the late 8th century he launched several campaigns into modern Holland and Northern Germany destabilising the area. This was one of the factors that lead to Viking raids. He famously executed thousands of Saxons on one day who refused to convert to Christianity. He was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 800 by the pope.

Fedhlimid Mc Crimthainn (pronounced Fedelemid Mac Crim-han) was a 9th century Eoganacht  king. He dominated politics in Ireland from the 820’s-840’s. He died sometime in the mid 840’s.

Eoganacht (O-gawn-act). Kingship which was based around Cashel in Munster. It’s traditional borders lay within the province of Munster. It declined and its supremacy of munster was taken by the Dal Cais who most famous son was Brian Boru.

O Neill’s. The O Neill’s came from relative obscurity in the 6th century and grew to be the most powerful dynasty in Ireland. The family was split into two branches – A northern branch and  a southern branch. The northern sept of the family ruled Ulster whilst the Southern branch dominated Northern Leinster. A high king or over king ruled their lands both North and South. This kingship, often mistaken as high king of Ireland, alternated between the Northern and Southern O Neills.

Skellig Micheal. A monastery positioned on a craggy outcrop in the Atlantic. Its one of the most remarkable Monastic sites in Ireland. How people managed to survive here is baffling.

Further Reading

Mac Samhrain, Ailbhe (2002) The Vikings and illustrated history Wolfhound press, Dublin.

Great introduction to the Vikings from an Irish perspective. Moves very fast through some periods

Wooding, Jonathan (1998) The Vikings Lansdowne Publishing, Sydney

Average. Runs through almost every aspect of Viking life in every area so its hard to get to grips with anything – a good starter as on over view to the Viking world.

Richter, Michael (2005) Medieval Ireland Gill & Mc Millan, Dublin.

Great book Chapters 6 and  8 are relevant to episode 2

Ryan Michael (1997) Irish Archaeology Illustrated Country house, Dublin.

Good pages 153-170 are relevant. Good overview.

Here is a selection of some of the  articles I used in the show

Clarke, Howard (1995)The Vikings in Ireland: A Historian’s Perspective,  Archaeology Ireland, Vol. 9, No. 3, The Wordwell Ltd.

Frank, Roberta  (1984) Viking Atrocity and Skaldic Verse: The Rite of the Blood-Eagle,  The English Historical Review, Vol. 99, No. 391 pp. 332-343. Oxford University Press

Kurrild-Klitgaard, Peter and Svendsen, (2003) Gert Tinggaard Rational Bandits: Plunder, Public Goods, and the Vikings Public Choice, Vol. 117, No. 3/4, Essays in Memory of Mancur Olson  pp. 255-272

Downham,  Clare  (2009) The Viking Slave Trade: Entrepreneurs or Heathen Slavers? History Ireland, Vol. 17, No. 3 pp. 15-17, Wordwell Ltd.

Thanks to John, Denise and Dermo for their help.

0 comments on “The Vikings (part I)

    • Irish History on

      Hi Matthew I am glad you enjoyed the show. I am vaguely familiar with the rune stone. I am very skeptical to be honest. There is no Viking evidence that far west or along the Missipippi river which would have been the access route presumably. As to what it might be I have no idea. You?


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