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Saturday 23 August 2014

The Return Viking ship to set sail again

Published 23/06/2007 | 00:00

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ONE of the Viking warships that struck terror into the hearts of thousands of Europeans has been recreated for the first voyage of its kind in almost 1,000 years.

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A replica of the battleship 'Sea Stallion' (pictured) will make the journey across the North Sea from Denmark next month. Built in 1042, it was one of the greatest seaborne weapons used by Ireland's bloodthirsty Viking invaders to fight battles at home and abroad.

A mainly Danish crew of 65 - which includes Irish sailor Triona Nicholl (24) from Leixlip, Co Kildare - will sail the vessel.

Triona, a UCD archaeology student, has been in training for the voyage for the last two years and will embark on the unique voyage from July 1. No one has manned a ship like it in over 900 years. The crew ranges in age from 16 to 64. The ship was a masterpiece of shipbuilding design when it was first unveiled.

It was reconstructed after the original was unearthed on the bed of the Roskilde Fjord in Denmark, along with four other ships built by the Scandinavian warriors.

The longship, originally known as the Skuldelev 2, held 60 men at the oars and could travel at high speeds and handle strong currents.

Sea Stallion was the largest of five Viking-age ships found during excavations at the bottom of the Roskilde Fjord in 1962.

Historians believe it ended up in Roskilde at the end of the Viking age, when the Danes lost their supremacy in England.

Following the Battle of Hastings in 1066, the ship is believed to have returned to Roskilde.

"The warships had enormous importance," said a museum spokesperson. "In using them the Vikings were able to retain control over a large and geographically dispersed area."

When it arrives, it will be welcomed during a ceremony at Custom House Quay in August before going on display at the National Museum in Collins Barracks.

ANNE-MARIE WALSH

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