Dublin City is famous for its unique history particularly regarding its links to the Vikings. Two Viking settlements have been uncovered in Dublin, one at Wood Quay and the other one at Christ Church Cathedral, which was built on the site of a Viking Church.
Vikings ruled Dublin for almost three centuries, but were finally defeated by the Irish High King Brian Boru in the 1014 Battle Of Clontarf. This year marks the 1000th anniversary of the Battle and the airing of the second season of the Natural History Channel’s ‘Vikings’, filmed in nearby County Wicklow, making it a great year to discover the history of Vikings in Dublin. Here are some of our top picks to get you started on your Viking adventure.
Clontarf Viking Festival
Taking place annually in April in St. Anne’s Park, the Clontarf Viking Festival is an unforgettable celebration of Viking history. The festival features a Viking village, which contains static and interactive displays of Viking life and demonstrations of Viking skills and crafts such as weapons displays, storytelling, blacksmith, leather working, pole lathe, coin striking, silversmith, hnefatafl (Viking chess), archery display and Viking long boat, falconry displays & mounted Viking displays.
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.
Viking Splash Tour
Viking Splash Tours is a great way to see the sights of Dublin - both on land and bywater! Travelling on board the amphibious World War II vehicles (DUKWs), you are 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 St Patrick’s and Christ Church cathedrals, Trinity College, government buildings and Georgian Dublin.
A visit to Dublinia takes you right back to Viking times in Dublin! See for yourself what life was like onboard a Viking warship. Learn of their long and challenging voyages, their weaponry and the skills of being a Viking warrior. Try on Viking clothes, become a slave (watch those heavy chains) and stroll down a noisy street. Visit a smokey and cramped Viking house, learn the Viking runic alphabet and hear their poetry and sagas. Enjoy the myths and learn of the mysteries surrounding the Vikings and their legacy.
National Gallery of Ireland - Archaeology
The National Gallery of Ireland is home to a unique exhibition documenting the Viking Age in Ireland from c.800 AD to c.1150 AD, representing 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.
To help you find your way around all the key locations, you can download our Viking and Medieval Dublin iwalk tour here.