Sea Stallion from Glendalough was built at the Viking Ship Museum’s boatyard from 2000 – 2004 and with a length of 30 meters is the world’s largest Viking ship reconstruction. The longship became world-famous when it sailed to Dublin in 2007 and home again to Roskilde the following year.
Sea Stallion is based on the original Skuldelev 2 longship, which was excavated in 1962 and can today be seen at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde. Skuldelev 2 was originally built by Scandinavians in Dublin in the year 1042 but after many years in service, it ended its days as a part of the fjord barrier constructed to protect Roskilde, which was the king’s base in Denmark.
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 that 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 a 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.