Dublin in the Viking Age

How 10th Century Dublin Would Have Looked

In 841 the first Viking longphort was established in Dublin (one was also built in Annagassan in Co. Louth). This was a naval encampment which allowed Vikings to stay in Ireland for longer period, and through harsh winters they could repair and prepare their fleets.

The longphort in Dublin is thought to have been at the current site of Dublin Castle, as it overlooked the Black Pool (Dubhlinn) which served as a natural harbour for the new town. The deep waters of the River Liffey and the River Poddle offered a place of shelter from which to access a densely forested Ireland, where wood was a vital resource for these intrepid ship-builders. Dublin, strategically placed as it was on a prime trading route to Europe, was to become the largest port in Europe of its time.

The settlement or longphort was located on raised ground where the River Poddle joined the Liffey. It would have been surrounded by an embankment of gravel, earth and mud topped by a wooden fence or enclosure replaced later by a stone wall, from within which King Sigtrygg of Dublin would have probably observed the Battle of Clontarf in 1014.

The remains of about two hundred houses dating from the 9th to the 11th centuries have been found here, including roofing materials, bedding materials and ash remains. Each house was rectangular and would have been thatched with straw (as in the image above), the rooves supported by wooden interior posts. 

Five different house-types have been identified by Wallace, the most common consisting of a floor section divided into three parts, with a door at each end, and the fire placed in the centre aisle which also had raised bedding areas on each side. These beds would have been used as seats during the day.

It appears to have been an orderly settlement as the walls and interior divisions did not much change. The streets would have been lined with gravel or stones, split logs or mats made of wattle. Plots were marked by post or wattle fences.

Evidence of a 'thingmote' has also been discovered in Dublin, which was a raised mound, 40 foot high and 240 foot in circumference, where the Norsemen assembled and made their laws. It stood on the south of the river, adjacent to Dublin Castle, until 1685.

Viking Locations to Visit in Dublin

Viking Locations to Visit in Dublin

Visiting Dublin today is to visit a city founded by Vikings in the 9th century! Walking along the streets means following in the footsteps of these intrepid seafaring people. Apart from these streets and sites we can recommend places to go to complete you Viking experience in Dublin. ...read more

The Founding of Viking Dublin 841AD

The Founding of Viking Dublin 841AD

The arrival on the Liffey of the large fleet of Viking longships in 837 signalled a change in Viking Age Ireland. By 841 the vikings had built their longphort and settled here.....read more