More than 1,200 years ago hordes of bloodthirsty Viking raiders descended on Ireland, pillaging monasteries and massacring the inhabitants. Yesterday, one of their more mild-mannered descendants stepped ashore to apologise.More
The Danish culture minister, Brian Mikkelson, who was in Dublin to participate in celebrations marking the arrival of a replica Norse longboat, apologised for the invasion and destruction inflicted. "In Denmark we are certainly proud of this ship, but we are not proud of the damages to the people of Ireland that followed in the footsteps of the Vikings," Mr Mikkelson declared in his welcoming speech delivered on the dockside at the river Liffey. "But the warmth and friendliness with which you greet us today and the Viking ship show us that, luckily, it has all been forgiven."
The Havhingsten (Sea Stallion) sailed more than 1,000 miles across the North Sea this summer with a crew of 65 men and women in what was described as a "living archaeological experiment".
The reconstructed longboat was based on a ship found at the bottom of the Roskilde Fjord, south of Copenhagen. The original vessel was believed to have been built in Dublin - then a Viking city - in 1042 and to have sunk 30 years later.
The wreck was discovered in 1962 and tests on the timbers enabled archaeologists to trace the wood to trees from Glendalough, County Wicklow.
The first Viking raiding parties arrived in Ireland in 795, targeting wealthy monasteries on outlying islands such as Rathlin, County Antrim and Inishmurray, County Sligo. By 841, Vikings were over-wintering in fortified settlements such as Dublin, Wexford and Waterford and over the next two centuries these cities were gradually absorbed into local Irish kingdoms.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Danes say sorry for Viking raids
~Well, first there were the cannibals apologizing for eating Methodist missionaries, now the Danes are apologizing for the Viking raids on Ireland.