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Vikings say sorry for Irish massacres

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Irish History Forum Discussion:     Vikings say sorry for Irish massacres

The first Viking raiding parties arrived in Ireland in 795, they targeting wealthy monasteries on outlying islands such as Rathlin, County Antrim and Inishmurray, County Sligo. The Vikings came seeking treasure and by many accounts Irish slaves, especially our women. By 841, Vikings were over-wintering in fortified settlements on the mainland of Ireland in Dublin, Wexford and Waterford and over the next two centuries these cities were gradually absorbed into local Irish kingdoms. Today you would not know a Norse from a North sider.
But Brian Mikkelson, the Danish culture minister, who was in Dublin to participate in celebrations marking the arrival of a replica Norse longboat - The Sea Stallion of Glendalough, felt it necessary to make an apology for the invasion and destruction inflicted upon the native Irish all those years ago.
"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, 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 (The Sea Stallion of Glendalough) 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 journey back to Ireland on the replica ship proved to be a difficult task.
Diarmuid Murphy, 34, from Bantry, Co Cork, one of the sailors on the ship, admitted he almost gave up at the outset.
"About 18 hours into it I was just so cold and wet and I said there's no way I'll do this," he said. The crew survived on a diet of dried food and had to sleep in the exposed and cramped conditions of an open boat for six weeks - with occasional respite on a support vessel. There was cold, lashing rain on some days from the morning until the following morning," the ship's project manager, Prieben Rather Sorensen, said. "We did not have the time that the Vikings had as we had to be here today. That was one of the challenges."

Final preparations are underway today for the lifting of a replica Viking ship from Dublinís River Liffey.
The Sea Stallion of Glendalough, the biggest reconstruction of a Viking long ship in the world, sailed into Dublin yesterday after a six-week voyage from Denmark.
More than 60 oarsmen rowed the long ship 1,000 nautical miles from the Danish port of Roskilde, via Norway, the Orkney's and the North of Ireland.
At 11pm tonight the 30m-long Sea Stallion will be lifted by crane from the quayside to Croppies Acres and over the Luas line in to Collins Barracks at the National Museum of Ireland.
Tomorrow, the longship will be put in place in Clark Square, where it will remain on show to the public as part of a special Viking-themed exhibition until June next year.
The Viking longboat is due to make the return voyage next summer.
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