The Vikings in Ireland

When the Vikings came to Ireland in AD 795 they encountered a country and a population that had been Christian for more than 350 years. In the first instance, the Vikings' targets were the wealthy monasteries with their church treasures. But Viking history in Ireland is about much more than robbers and bandits. In the following we have collected some exercises about Ireland. Many of these can also be found through other links on this website

  • Why did the Vikings go to Ireland in the first place? Did this situation changing during the Viking Age? How?
  • Was Ireland a united kingdom?
  • Were the Vikings a united group in Ireland?
  • How did the Vikings organise themselves in a country consisting of many petty kingdoms?
  • Which role did the Vikings play in internal conflicts?
  • What did the Viking presence mean for Ireland? Were the Irish peoples' encounters with the Vikings only negative as, for example, described in the Irish Annals?
  • Which sources do we have concerning the Viking presence in Ireland? Do they all give the same impression of the Viking character? Why/why not?
  • Discuss whether there are differences concerning Viking integration in Ireland and England - and why?
  • What is a ”Longhport”?
  • Compare and contrast Dublin with Viking towns in England and Scandinavia.
  • What significance did Dublin attain in Ireland – for international trade, for the local area and for royal power?
  • Imagine living in the Viking Age and being a monk in the monastery at Glendalough. Write a page in your monastery annals about the day the Vikings came. Consider the information it is important for you to record for posterity. Would you write the same if it was your own private diary?