The Vikings in ninth-century Ireland: Sources and settlements

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Purcell, Emer
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University College Cork
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Archaeological excavations, particularly those of the last fifty years, have greatly advanced our understanding of Viking settlement in Ireland, and this study sets out to present a complementary analysis of the historical sources. Increasingly, evidence suggests that Viking occupation encompassed a more diverse range of settlement types than previously acknowledged. Major urban excavations such as those carried out in Dublin and Waterford, are now complemented by small scale excavations and studies of sites such as: Cherrywood, Co Dublin, a rural settlement; Beginish, Co Kerry, a maritime haven; Truska, Co Galway, a possible farmstead; longphort-settlements at Dunrally, Co Laois and Athlunkard, Co Limerick; and significant Viking settlements at Woodstown, Co Waterford and at Annagassan, Co Louth. This thesis sets out to examine patterns of Viking settlement in ninth-century Ireland; an interdisciplinary approach is adopted that attempts to combine evidence from both the extant primary sources and the archaeological evidence. It is argued that the Vikings had bases in Ireland even in the earliest period of activity 795-836, traditionally characterised as the ‘hit-and-run’ phase. The downturn discernible in Viking-related annalistic entries occurs at a time when there are increased references to Viking settlements in the Irish annals; therefore, it is proposed that this change in the ninth-century recorded pattern of Viking activity reflects their increased involvement in trade and settlement. To support this hypothesis, the evidence for settlement, settlement patterns and trade at Dublin and Waterford in the ninth century is then discussed.
Vikings , Settlement , Annals , Lonphoirt , Patterns of settlement , Concordance
Purcell, E. 2014. The Vikings in ninth-century Ireland: Sources and settlements. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.