Insider Tips

Viking History in Dublin

By Visit DublinDublin's Official Tourism SiteBIO
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You may not arrive in Dublin on a Viking warship, but that won’t stop you from following in the footsteps of those legendary conquerors during your visit. Dublin is a city steeped in heritage and its Viking history is just waiting to be uncovered...


Imagine the glass citadels and modern office blocks stripped away as you picture the wonders of Dublin's Nordic past. Viking warships cruising into Dublin Bay – the sights and sounds of the silver and gold markets; the aromas of exotic spices. For visitors to Dublin, that history is waiting to be explored with a series of superb historical attractions.
 
No less than two Viking settlements have been uncovered in the city, one at Wood Quay and the other at Christ Church Cathedral; originally a Celtic Christian church founded circa 1028. Vikings ruled with an iron fist for almost three centuries, before finally being defeated in 1014 by the Irish High King Brian Boru in the Battle of Clontarf.
 
Last year marked the 1000th anniversary of that battle and the launch of the second season of the Natural History Channel’s Vikings (filmed in nearby Wicklow), making 2015 the perfect time to explore the history of Vikings in Dublin. Here are our top picks to get you started on your Viking adventures...

Clontarf Viking Festival

Taking place every year in April in St Anne’s Park, the Clontarf Viking Festival is an unforgettable celebration of Viking history. The festival features a Viking village, with interactive displays and demonstrations of Viking life and skills such as weaponry, storytelling, blacksmithing, leather working, pole lathing, coin striking, silversmithing, hnefatafl (Viking chess), an archery display, Viking ships and falconry!

Viking History in Dublin
Viking History in Dublin

The Brazen Head

Stop off in The Brazen Head to sample some of the city’s best hospitality and soak up the historic surroundings. The Brazen Head is said to be one of Ireland’s oldest pubs, dating back to 1198 when Norman mercenaries and Viking merchants gathered here. It makes the perfect pit stop on your journey around Viking Dublin.

Viking Splash Tour

Hopping on board a Viking Splash Tour is a great way to see the sights of Dublin – both on land and by water! Travel on an amphibious World War II vehicle (DUKWs), and be taken on a spellbinding tour of Dublin. The Viking Tour Guides ensure you not only hear about Viking Dublin, but also see sights such as Christ Church and St Patrick’s Cathedral, Trinity College, government buildings and Georgian Dublin.

Viking History in Dublin
Viking History in Dublin

Dublinia

A visit to Dublinia takes you right back to Viking times in Dublin! See for yourself what life was like onboard a warship. Learn of their long and challenging voyages, their weaponry and the skills involved in being a Viking warrior. Try on authentic clothes, become a slave (watch those heavy chains) and stroll down a noisy street. Visit a smoky and cramped settlement, learn the ancient runic alphabet and hear their poetry and sagas. Discover facts, enjoy the mythology of the old Gods and learn of the mysteries surrounding the Viking legacy.

National  Museum of Ireland – Archaeology

The National Museum of Ireland is home to a unique exhibition – 'Viking Ireland' – documenting the Viking age in Ireland from c.800 AD to c.1150 AD. It represents the finest collection of excavation finds from an early medieval urban centre, anywhere in Europe. The exhibition features swords, jewellery, toys, board games and wooden bows, all of which were discovered in the Wood Quay excavation.

Viking History in Dublin
Viking History in Dublin

Dublin Castle and the Dubh Linn (Poddle)

No visit to Dublin would be complete without a visit to the beautiful Dublin Castle, or at least a spring stroll in the Dubh Linn Gardens. The original medieval structure was built in 1171 and has stood watch over the city for hundreds of years. Under the castle, the River Poddle flows through a large brick tunnel, which you can walk though with restricted access. This river – all but invisible throughout most of the City – helped to inspire the name of Ireland’s capital. Named “Dubh Linn” in Irish, which means ‘black pool’, the river rises in the Cookstown area North of Tallaght and flows into the River Liffey in Central Dublin.

The Steine of Long Stone

The Steine of Long Stone (or Ivar the Boneless’ Pillar) is a replica of a carved pillar, erected by the Vikings in the 10th or 11th century. Located at the junction of Pearse Street and College Street, the original Steine stood 12 to 14 feet high and was designed to prevent longships from running aground. Today’s sculpture was carved by Clíodhna Cussen and erected in 1986.