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Linn Duachaill Viking settlement site Ireland Irish Vikings.

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Sceala Irish Craic Forum Discussion:     Linn Duachaill Viking settlement site Ireland Irish Vikings.

Some updates on Linn Duachaill the Irish Viking settlement in Louth.
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First some background information on the Viking site itself
Linn Duachaill Viking settlement in Ireland.
The remains of the legendary Viking fortress Linn Duachaill have been discovered in northeastern Ireland, 45 miles north of Dublin. "Historians and archaeologists have been trying to locate Linn Duachaill for more than 200 years," says Eamonn Kelly, Keeper of Antiquities with the National Museum of Ireland, who led a lengthy research and targeted excavation effort that resulted in the discovery of the infamous Viking base.

Linn Duachaill was founded in A.D. 841, the same year as Viking Dublin. The fortress was used as a center by the Vikings to trade goods, organize attacks against inland Irish monasteries, and send captured Irish slaves abroad. For more than 70 years, Linn Duachaill rivaled Dublin as the preeminent Viking holding on the east coast of Ireland before it was eventually abandoned.

The discovery of Linn Duachaill will finally allow archeologists to compare the actual site with medieval documents. The names of leaders of the garrison are recorded, along with extensive accounts of attacks they carried out. The site is often referred to as a longphort, a term used to describe a fortification built by the Vikings to protect their ships.

A defensive rampart has already been excavated at the site and examples of Viking silver and ecclesiastical metalwork looted from native Irish sites have also been recovered. "We are excited to learn what insights into medieval times Linn Duachaill will reveal," says Kelly.

Linn Duachaill Viking settlement site Ireland Irish Vikings.
Linn Duachaill is the name of a Viking longphort near the village of Annagassan, County Louth, Ireland. The settlement was built in 841 AD, the same time as the settlement of Dúbh Linn, today's Dublin. In contrast to Dublin, the settlement was abandoned, possibly because it lacked continuous access to the sea; the river tides would have made access to the water impossible for a number of hours per day.

History of Linn Duachaill Viking settlement site Ireland Irish Vikings.
The longphort of Linn Duachaill is first mentioned in Irish annals of the 840s. A certain Tergeis or Turgesius, as he is called in the annals, is said to have founded forts at Dúbh Linn and Linn Duachaill, from which the "surrounding territories and churches were plundered and preyed." This Turgus was a colorful figure: he apparently brought the north of Ireland under his rule and enthroned his wife on the high altar of the cathedral at the monastery of Clonmacnoise, but was taken prisoner in 843 by Máel Sechnaill mac Máele Ruanaid and drowned in Loch Nar.

Discovery of Linn Duachaill Viking settlement site Ireland Irish Vikings.
The site was discovered in 2010, on a flat area on the River Glyde, after a team of archeologists and a geophysicist had searched from 2005 to 2007 and found a pattern of straight ditches, unlike the usually circular forts built by the native population. The initial drive for the excavation came from a local filmmaker, Ruth Cassidy, member of the local historical society. The announcement that the finds were identified as Linn Duachaill was made in September of 2010. Since the site is on agricultural land, it is very well preserved.

Three test trenches were dug. The team, headed by archeologist Mark Clinton, excavated a "defensive rampart, consisting of a deep ditch and a bank." This wall would have protected the fort on one side, while the other sides would have been protected by the River Glyde and the Irish Sea. Objects found include "Viking ship rivets, cut-up Viking silver and looted Irish metalwork," besides "part of a human skull, a whorl for spinning thread and a brooch pin."

'Lost' early Viking site in Co Louth one of 'most important' in world
Annagassan in Co Louth is home to one of the world’s most important Viking sites, a local curator has claimed.
The Vikings over-wintered in two places in Ireland: one would become Dublin, the other was believed to have been lost in time. Not any more.
A year after test trenches were dug on the “virgin” site, the results of radio-carbon testing on some of the artefacts recovered have confirmed that “Linn Duachaill” exists and is perfectly preserved underneath farmland.
According to Brian Walsh, curator of the County Museum in Louth: “This site is mind-blowing. It is untouched, there is no motorway going through it and it is basically virgin territory. It has been husbanded and farmed for the last few hundred years and is unspoilt.” He said believed it to be one of the most important sites of its kind in the world.
The keeper of antiquities at the National Museum, Dr Ned Kelly, said the site was “intact”.
“It has not been trashed by a road and is a greenfield site. Linn Duachaill is enormously important because it is of the very earliest period of Viking settlement in Ireland.
“It was founded in 841 and the annals [of Ulster] tell us it was used over the next 50 years continuously,” he said.
“Radio carbon dating has conclusively shown we are dealing with a site of early Viking age. It is exactly what we thought it was and it is of such significance that an international conference is being held to discuss it.”
Linn Duachaill is beside the river Glyde some 60km north of Dublin and is just south of Dundalk bay.
It was here the Vikings brought their long ships or longphorts to be repaired. According to the Annals of Ulster, a 15th-century account of medieval Ireland, the Vikings used this base to raid inland as far as Longford and up to Armagh.
The poor tides and shallow waters of Dundalk bay meant the Vikings eventually chose Dublin as a location to repair their ships.
However, Linn Duachaill was also a large trading town, exporting Irish slaves and looted goods.
Among the artefacts going on display later this month to coincide with the conference is a slave chain made of iron and a whet stone that was used to sharpen small implements.
Dundalk Democrat

ARCHAEOLOGISTS say that even more discoveries could be made at the site of a major viking settlement which has been uncovered at Annagassan.

l Looking at the Viking Settlement map in Annagassan were Brian Rogers Chairman Annagassan Heritage society Dermot Ahern MInister for Justice and Law REform Mark Clinton Site Director and Ruth Cassidy of the Annagassan Heritage committee.
A fortress, believed to be almost 1170 years old, has been located at Lynns after five years of research. The archaeological dig has been taking place for the past three weeks.

Dr Mark Clinton is leading the excavations and says that even more discoveries could be made.

"It's the hope of what might come up next but given the range of finds we've had in three weeks in three relatively small trenches you'd have good expectations that an expanded site would produce more nice surprises."

The find has been described as one of the best preserved Viking settlements in Europe.

It dates from 841, the same year Dublin was founded, and is believed to have been the previously unidentified fortress of Linn Duchaill  one of two locations, along with what would become Dublin, chosen by the Vikings when they decided to winter in Ireland.

Director of the excavations, Dr Clinton said: "In 841 the Vikings over-wintered for the first time instead of raiding and leaving. The annals said they over-wintered here and in Dublin and this location was elusive. Until now.

"Finds of Viking ship rivets, cut-up Viking silver and looted Irish metalwork also appears to be amongst the excavated material," said Dr Clinton.

The excavations, which began earlier this month, have so far uncovered part of a human skull, rivets used to build and repair ships, silver used for weighting and exchanging, a spindle whorl for spinning thread and a broach pin.

A defensive rampart, consisting of a deep ditch and a bank, was excavated and while, the results of radio carbon tests are awaited to confirm the date, it "has all the appearance of the main fortification of the Viking fortress," he said.

Dr Clinton described the defensive ditch at Annagassan as "massive" and said it was clear the Vikings had built it across an inlet on the river, some 200m from the Irish sea.

The extensive site was uncovered following an excavation by Archer Heritage Planning, directed by Dr Clinton in collaboration with archaeologist Mr Kelly and local historian Michael McKeown, under the aegis of the Annagassan and District Historical Society.

Those involved believe the archaeological work will continue at the site for years to come.

Some history and fanciful videos about Vikings in Ireland
A short documentary detailing what life might have been like for Viking settlers coming to Ireland.

Irish Community Video

A brief history of the Vikings in Ireland

Irish Community Video

Irish Community Images
Irish Books on Vikings
The Vikings in Ireland: Settlement, Trade and Urbanization

Vikings sites in Ireland links
Ancient Vikings burial ground uncovered in Ireland

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