Viking invasion ends as longship sails home
THE last Viking longboat is on the way home.
The 'Sea Stallion from Glendalough', a replica Viking longship, began its six-week return voyage to Roskilde in Denmark yesterday afternoon.
Hundreds of people gathered around the Sean O'Casey bridge on Custom House Quay, Dublin, for the farewell ceremony.
"It's a celebration of the departure after a long number of weeks here of the Sea Stallion Viking replica ship. It was on show at the National Museum and attracted over 300,000 visitors," said Paul Maloney, chief executive of Dublin Docklands Authority.
A year ago, thousands of Dubliners gathered to welcome the crew of the Sea Stallion as they arrived in the city.
"Once again, we acknowledge the crew and all those involved with this magnificent longship, which has been such a wonderful asset to our city," Mr Maloney added.
Arts Minister Dr Martin Mansergh said the ship symbolised the shared history of Ireland and Denmark.
"I would be surprised if there was an Irish person here who wasn't an ancestor of Brian Boru or descendants of the Vikings of Dublin," he told the crowds.
A ship similar to the Sea Stallion reputedly sailed from the Viking settlement at Wood Quay, Dublin, after the Battle of Hastings, carrying King Harold's daughter, Gytha, to the safety of the court of King Svein in Roskilde.
As part of a 'living archaeological experiment', the Sea Stallion sailed 1,257 nautical miles to Dublin last summer.