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Dublinia – Viking Dublin Experience

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Dublinia – Viking Dublin Experience

Dublinia is an historical exhibition of Viking Dublin situated beside Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin 8.  It is one of the city’s more popular tourist attractions. It takes one back to the sights and smells of Viking period Dublin.  You will learn about the Vikings arduous journeys on the infamous longboats, and the skills and weapons they used in battle. The level of interactivity is what makes this attraction such a pleasure as adult and child alike are provided with the clothes of the period (they’re not comfortable!).  The visitor is also invited to visit the smoke filled houses where they lived, and taught the Viking runic alphabet.

The National Museum of Ireland has kindly provided Viking and medieval artefacts, which include a skeleton of a Viking woman.  St Michael’s Tower is Dublinia’s 17th century tower, which belonged to the Church of St Michael, the Archangel.  This has recently been renovated to that of an original medieval tower.  There are 96 steps to climb to reach the top, where you will see a beautiful scenic view of Dublin city, provided you’re fit enough.


Dublinia Opening times:

10:00 am to 6:30 pm (last entry 5:30pm) March to September

10:00 am to 5:30p pm (last entry 4:30pm) October to February

Dublinia’s gift shop sells an extensive range of gifts including: jewellery, postcards, children’s costumes, books and gifts from the medieval and Viking period.  Their coffee shop provides palatable cakes and refreshing tea/coffee.


Upcoming events in Dublinia

Saturday October 24th – Saturday 31st October (midterm break)

12pm -1pm and 2pm -4pm – Creepy Cures and Ridiculous Remedies’

Watch and listen to this staged production by the Deilg Inis Living History Theatre Company, about the alternative methods of healing from disease, which were used in Dublin during the medieval times.

A Short History of the Vikings

The Vikings first landed in Lambay Island, Dublin in 795.  Before their arrival, the Gaels (influenced by the Celts) were the main inhabitants of Ireland.  The Vikings continued to invade and attack Ireland for more than two centuries but they began to settle in Dublin arguably first at Islandbridge but definitely at where Ushers Island quay currently stands.  “Viking” is derived from Old Norse ‘vikingr’ meaning “pirate” or “sea rover”.   They were Teutons, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish fishermen, sea-merchants and farmers.  During the eighth century they had attacked most of the world, including one of their tribes, the Rus, giving their name to Russia. Allegedly, they made as far as America, North Africa and Constantinople.  According to historians, there were two groups among the Vikings, the Lochlainn, or Norwegians, and the Danair, or Danes.  The Norwegians were fair and the Danish were dark.

Before 830 AD, the Norwegians ruled Ireland, and their raids were chaotic and unpredictable.  After 830 AD the raids grew in scale, and involved the use of fleets of long ships.  This caused the Vikings to move inland.  They began to plunder churches and monasteries because their wealth appealed to them.  This is when the Vikings fortified settlements.  The Danes dominated the military and trading post of Dublin from the Norwegians, under their King, Olaf, and founded the Danish Kingdom of Dyflin, a bastardisation of the Gaelige Dubh Linn, which referred to the black pool of the river Poodle where the Irish originally settled.

This lasted over three hundred years until the start of the Anglo-Normans (themselves descendants of French Viking settlements).  The Vikings continued to consolidate their power up until the mid tenth century.  In 1014 Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland defeated the Vikings in “The Battle of Clontarf”.  It is said that Brian Boru’s encampment was actually where the Bully’s Acre currently stands on the Royal Hospital grounds. Although Brian was killed in this battle, the Vikings retreated and their power in Ireland thereafter, dwindled.

For more information of the origins of Dublin Click here

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