Press release: The Vikings are coming!

Sea Stallion under sail in the Irish Sea, 2007. Photo: Werner Karrasch/Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde
Sea Stallion under sail in the Irish Sea, 2007. Photo: Werner Karrasch/Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde

‘Sea Stallion from Glendalough’, the world’s largest Viking ship reconstruction sails again!

‘Lock your doors, hide your silver and guard your maidens!’ You can almost imagine the shouts when the warning, ‘The Vikings are coming!’ was heard 1,000 years ago, as wily warriors crept along the coast in their much-feared longships.

However, the population living along the coast of Sjælland have no need to take the same kinds of precautions when ‘Sea Stallion from Glendalough’ sets sail from Korsør at 11:00 on 1st August, on its way to Copenhagen. On board the 30 meter long ship are a total of 55 crewmembers, who are only looking forward to sailing and testing their strength with the large Viking ship, assures project co-ordinator for the voyage, Ivan Jakobsen, ‘Sea Stallion is sailed by a boat guild, a group of nearly 60 volunteer crewmembers who have chosen to spend their summer holiday on board the Viking Ship Museum’s famous longship, which sailed from Roskilde to Dublin and back again in 2007-8. Some of the crew have sailed with the ship since then, while others are just beginning their first adventure with the longship’.

Since 21st July, Sea Stallion has sailed as a part of the cultural and historical festival, ‘TOGTET – the RAID’, which has taken the ship to five different harbours on Sjælland, where the focus has been set on new ways of telling the story of Denmark’s Viking and Middle Ages.

‘It’s been fun and we’ve spoken with thousands of people who have been on board and heard stories about the ship’s many exciting voyages’, continues Ivan Jakobsen. ‘But the ship has also been subject to a tight schedule, where we’ve had to arrive and depart at specific times. This was good in terms of our outreach work, but not so good for the sailing itself, as we couldn’t sail as the weather dictated and set out to sea with a good wind, for example!’

Course set for Copenhagen

So for the next nine days, the ship can sail where the wind and weather take it, before they once again have to make a fixed deadline: arrival at Nordre Toldbod in Copenhagen at 11:00 on Saturday the 10th August. This will be the first visit to Denmark’s capital for Sea Stallion, after visits to Ireland, Scotland, England, Holland, Norway, Sweden and Germany in previous years. Last year the ship sailed to several Danish harbours and to Slesvig in North Germany, where more than 15,000 people came on board to view the ship over just one weekend.

‘We’ve been invited to sail to Copenhagen with Sea Stallion many times. This year, a great opportunity came up because the National Museum have chosen to set the focus on the Viking Age and Viking ships’, tells Louise Kæmpe Henriksen, curator at the Viking Ship Museum and outreach co-ordinator on board the ship. The National Museum is running a special exhibition, ‘VIKING’, where many fantastic finds are on display, including the world’s longest original Viking ship, Roskilde 6. The impressive longship is 7 meters longer than Skuldelev 2, the wreck Sea Stallion is based on. This is the first time that Roskilde 6 is on exhibit, following its discovery in 1997 during the extension of the Museum Island at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde.

Warm reception and ‘Welcome on board’!

When Sea Stallion arrives to Copenhagen at 11:00 on Saturday, 10th August, it will be received by the Lord Mayor Frank Jensen, at Nordre Toldbod. From 11:00 onwards, there will be Viking activities for all those who come to bid the ship and crew, ‘Welcome to the capital’.

From Sunday 11th until Thursday 15th August, the crew invites everyone to ‘open ship’, giving the public a chance to get close to life on board and to experience first-hand the ship that undertook the dramatic sailing to Dublin and back again in 2007 – 8. The ship will also carry an exhibition, exciting stories about the ship’s journeys and information about Denmark’s past as well as historical experiences and a range of ‘try-it-yourself’ Viking activities for children.

Viking market in the heart of Copenhagen

After five days with Sea Stallion at the forefront of the tourist attractions, the ship will move to Frederiksholm Canal at 09:00 on the 16th August, where history will once again be in focus. The ship will take part in the National Museum’s large Viking market in the streets around the Frederiksholm Canal from the 17th – 18th August. We will hold ‘open ship’ and together with the other ‘Vikings’, be part of a range of activities including music, food and merchants stalls and Viking warriors.

At 10:00 on 16th August, Sea Stallion will be towed under Knippelsbro and under Christians Brygge at ca. 10:30, before continuing on to moor at Frederiksholm Canal.

Follow us on the website

You can follow Sea Stallion’s summer voyage online at the Viking Ship Museum’s website and get updates on the ship’s current position, read the travel blog from the ship, see the ships course and speed and get masses of background information about Viking ships. Curator and crewmember on Sea Stallion, Louise Kæmpe Henriksen, will be writing a travel blog about life on board. So stay tuned – maybe we’ll come to a harbour near you!

» Follow the voyage online at…

» Get press photos of Sea Stallion here…

There are a small number of places reserved for press on board the Viking Ship Museum’s following vessel. To be accredited as a photographer, you must have made an expression of interest by 12:00 on Friday 9th August at the latest.

For press accreditation contact:
Ivan Jakobsen
Project co-ordinator for Sea Stallion’s voyage
Press and communication
Telephone: +45 46 300 261
Mobile: + 45 41 27 02 10

Sea Stallion’s background:

Sea Stallion from Glendalough was built at the Viking Ship Museum’s boatyard between 2000 - 04 and with a length of 30 meters is the world’s longest Viking ship reconstruction. The longship became world famous when it sailed to Dublin in 2007 and home again to Roskilde the year after.

Sea Stallion is based on the original Skuldelev 2 longship., which was excavated in 1962 and which can be seen today at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde. Skuldelev 2 was built by Scandinavians in Dublin in the year 1042, but after many years service it ended its days as part of the fjord barrier built to protect Roskilde, the royal seat in Viking Age Denmark.

It took four years and 10.5 million kroner to build an exact reconstruction. The ship was built using replica Viking tools and using the same methods the Vikings did. In all, 300 oak trees, 7,000 iron nails, 112 square meters of sail and 2,000 meters of rope went into building the 30 meter longship, which will sail from Korsør with 55 crewmembers at 11:00 on Thursday 1st August.

The longship is the essence of the Viking Age. The ships brought war and instability, but also order and political power. During the 1000’s, it was longships like Skuldelev 2 that made it possible for the Danish kings to gain a foothold in England and Ireland and allowed them – in a very short space of time – to use their superior strength to unite Denmark, Norway, Southern Sweden and England as Canute the Great’s North Sea empire. 

Sea Stallion from Glendalough is the closest thing to an original longship we modern people can experience and the ship represents the high point of Viking Age technology and the incredible maritime skills of the Vikings themselves.

At the same time, the ship and its voyages are also part of an archaeological experiment. This summer’s voyage adds yet another chapter to our knowledge about the travel speed and seaworthiness of longships, making it possible for us to understand the practicalities of Viking Age expansion.