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The seafaring Viking raiders are probably the most popular maritime topic in both Irish scholarship and popular imagination. There has been long-standing interest in the impact of Viking settlement on Ireland, informed by findings from archaeological excavations since the 1970s in Dublin, Waterford, Wexford and Cork, and more recently at the Cloghermore Cave burials and the Woodstown viking age settlement in County Waterford. There are a wide range of general accounts of the impact of the Vikings in Ireland (e.g. Bradley 1995, Clarke 1995, Doherty 2001 Valante 2008) as well as accounts of topics such as their infamous raids on Irish churches (Etchingham 1996, Smith 1999), Viking ships and the longphort (Kelly & O’Donovan 1998), and their impact on society, language and landscape (Ní Mhaonaigh 2001, O’Cuiv 1988). The network of Atlantic trading routes used and/or perhaps developed by the Vikings, and the relationships between ports and towns in the Irish sea, Scandinavia and along the western seaboard of Europe mean that researchers also often need to consult works on Vikings, including general works (Rosedahl & Wilson 1985, Forte et al 2005, Logan 2005, Arnold 2006, Smith 2007), and the Viking presence in the Isle of Man (Wilson 2008), Scotland (Graham-Campbell & Batey 1998), and Iceland (Sigurdsson 1988). Mary Valante’s (2008) The Vikings in Ireland: Settlement, Trade and Urbanization provides the most useful introduction to the subject for researchers seeking source material relevant to Ireland, as this work contains historiographies for each section, as well as detailed references to annals, histories and archaeological excavations, and a very useful bibliography of primary and secondary source material.

There is a wealth of archaeological work on maritime aspects of Viking culture, including sea trade (Crumlin-Pedersen 1972), ship types (Brogger & Shetelig 1971,Christensen 1972, Crumlin-Pedersen 1991, Liebgott 1995, Marsden 1995), shipyards (Madsen 1991, Godal 1995), coastal Hiberno-Norse settlements (O’Kelly 1956 & 1961, Sheehan 2001), and the slave trade (Holm 1986). Much of the scholarly work on the Vikings in Ireland has focused on urban settlement in the Viking towns of Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Wexford and Limerick. These often include discussion on maritime aspects of the Vikings including ship and boat timbers (McGrail 1997c, Halpin 2000, O’Sullivan 2000), fishing (Wallace 1998) and ….

The above extract is taken from ‘Exploring the Maritime Archaeology of Ireland’ which is available here. This research was funded by The Heritage CouncilHERITAGECOUNCILlogo

The Heritage Council also published an overview Ireland’s maritime archaeology: our ancient coastal landscapes which is free to download.

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