The Vikings in Ulaid

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Bracken, Patrick James
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University College Cork
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The majority of archaeological research undertaken on the Viking Age in Ireland concerns Dublin and the south-east. We have, therefore, constructed an image of Scandinavian settlement in Ireland that centres on Dublin and locations further south such as Waterford. The Viking Age in the north of Ireland has not been the specific subject of previous archaeological research despite the amount of Scandinavian burial sites and silver finds on record form the region. An assessment of the Viking Age archaeology of the kingdom of Ulaid, which encompassed the territory of the modern counties of Antrim and Down, inevitably, challenges the notion that Scandinavian settlement in Ireland during the Viking Age was exclusively focused in the southern half of the island. The purpose of this thesis is to outline and analyse the evidence for the Scandinavians in the territory of Ulaid during the Viking Age (c.800-c.1100 AD). The chapters of the thesis are divided in order to convey the various forms this evidence takes. A historical background chapter will outline the documentary evidence for Viking activities in Ulaid. A chapter on Viking bases and longphuirt is intended to convey the archaeological evidence for the modus operandi of the Vikings in Ulaid. A chapter dedicated to silver finds will assess each Scandinavian silver hoard and isolated find of precious metal on record from Antrim and Down and, thereby, demonstrate the commercial impact of the Scandinavians on Ulaid. A chapter dedicated to discoveries of Norse burials in Antrim and Down will assess the evidence for Scandinavian settlement in the coastal areas of Ulaid. The data and analysis presented in these chapters aims to provide an overall picture of the consequences of the Viking Age on the north-east of Ireland. Particular focuses will include the corresponding late ninth/early tenth century date applicable to the vast majority of the finds and the evidence for the connections established between the Norse and the Kindom of Dál Fiatach. Study undertaken in the Ulster Museum, Belfast and the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin as well as visits to sites discussed in the thesis has significantly aided research undertaken for this project.
Bracken, P. J. 2020. The Vikings in Ulaid. MRes Thesis, University College Cork.
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