Dublin as a Longphort

The word Longphort arose when an Irish monk wanted to describe the settlement we refer to today as Dublin. Longphort means ship harbour and is compounded of the Latin navis longa, which refers to the longships, and portus, which means harbour.

A Longphort was a Scandinavian base or winter camp in Ireland. It was a fortified camp and harbour located at the mouth of a river where the ships could lie with access to the open sea. The camp was fortified with an outer wall in a muddy, boggy area, which was difficult to attack, and with a circular inner wall, which resembles the ring fortiforcations seen in Denmark.

A few Longphorts only existed for a single winter, others lasted for more than 60 years. Finds of silver, balance weights and coins show that some Longphorts developed into actual settlements with trade.

The first and most famous Longphort mentioned in the Irish annals was An Dubh Linn (Dublin), located in the area of bog known as "the black pool" on the south bank of the river Liffey, possibly near its confluence with the river Camac and close to the site of the early Scandinavian style cemeteries at Islandbridge and Kilmainham.

Finds of houses, warrior graves, swords and coins show that the camp was an important Scandinavian base. The Longphort now known as Dublin existed for more than 60 years and lay in a Scandinavian occupied area, but in AD 902 the Vikings were driven out of the area for a while. The Ulster Annal state that:

Quote:The pagans were driven from Ireland, from the longphort of Dubh Linn; and they abandoned a good number of ships and escaped half dead, after they had been wounded and broken.

By: Louise Kæmpe Henriksen