END HOMEMENUThe Viking age in Ireland: 795 – 11thcenturyFrom raiding to settlement
END HOMEMENUThe first Viking attack – monastery on Rathlin Island, 795Ireland became filled with immensefloods, and countless sea-vomiting ofships, and boats, and fleets.Click here for simple timelineUniversity brooch
END HOMEMENUAt first the Vikings raided Irishmonasteries and returned toScandinavia with their treasure.The Vikings attacked themonasteries because they were richin land, stock and provisions.They also took valuable objects butthis was not their primary concern.The Vikings inspired fear.One monk wrote:Since tonight the wind is high,The sea’s white mane a fury,I need not fear the hordes of HellCoursing the Irish Channel.Viking Raids
END HOMEMENULinkIreland – an easy target ? Rich monasteriesWhen they were first set up around500 AD, Irish monasteries were notworth attacking.Later many grew in size, formingsmall monastic towns, withagricultural dependants, craftsmen,and traders, forming.They also became very rich andproduced beautiful and valuablemetalwork.
END HOMEMENUArtist’s impression of anearly Irish monasteryArtist’s impression of anIrish monastery in Viking times
END HOMEMENUWere you listening…..• What were early monasteries like?• Name some monasteries.• Why did the Vikings attack monasteries?
END HOMEMENUThe round towerRound towers in monasteries were firstand foremost bell houses.They were five stories high.Each storey had a wooden floor,reached by a ladderThe top storey had four to six windows,from which a small hand-bell would havebeen rung.Round towers were also used for defenceagainst attack – a refuge for people andpossessions.Their chimney-like form meant they werenot ideal for such defence – fire could easilyspread.In 1097, for example, the tower ofMonasterboice was burned ‘with its booksand many treasures’.Templeoran monastic site, Co.Westmeath
END HOMEMENUTreasuresMoylough Belt ShrineArdagh chalice O’Donnell Battle Book
END HOMEMENUWere you listening…• Tell me about round towers.• Name some famous treasures.
END HOMEMENUPagans versus ChristiansThe Vikings were pagans.The Irish were Christians.Christians worshipped one God.The Vikings believed in severalgods.The most powerful was Odin.Others included Thor, the God ofThunder, and Freya, goddess oflove.Christians had a symbolicsacrifice in the mass.Vikings made sacrifices ofanimals and people. Theybelieved that this kept their godshappy.ThorOdinFreya
END HOMEMENUViking gods - ThorIn Norse mythology, Thor was the god of thunder.He produces thunder with his hammer, called Mjolnir, which means ‘The Destroyer’.This hammer was made by dwarfs, and would magically return to Thors hand whenever he needed it.Thor is depicted as a tall, muscular man with red hair and a beard.His magic belt could double his incredible strength, while his iron gloves protected his hands.Click here to return to original page
END HOMEMENUViking gods - FreyaIn Norse mythology, Freya is a goddess of love and the most beautiful and propitious of the goddesses.She is the patron goddess of.She loves music, spring and flowers, and is particularly fond of the elves (fairies).Freya lives in the beautiful palace Folkvang (‘field of folk’), a place where love songs are always played.Click here to return to original page
END HOMEMENUWere you listening…• What religion were the Vikings?• Name some of the gods the Vikingsbelieved in.• Tell me about Thor.• Tell me about Freya.