Saturday 24 February 2018

600 jet-lagged Vikings descend on Clontarf for battle

Joyce Fegan

Joyce Fegan

Six hundred Viking re-enactors from more than 15 countries will come to Ireland to take part in four battles this weekend in a Dublin park for the millennial commemoration of the Battle of Clontarf.

Men and women have travelled from Russia, New Zealand, Canada, America, the Czech Republic, Australia and Iceland as well as several European countries.

The Viking re-enactors have been living in St Anne's Park in authentic tents and sleeping on sheepskin rugs since last Tuesday. They are eating roasted pig from a spit for dinner and drinking mead from bone cups.

Hanna Agren (27) from Sweden travelled here with several kilos of Viking jewellery to sell at this weekend's celebrations. "I filled my pockets with five kilos of jewellery as I don't want to put it in my check-in luggage. I once spent an hour going through security at an airport," she explained. Single pieces of the jewellery are valued at up to €450.

Clinton Dale travelled from Texas to fight in the battles and even though he was an electrician he has now spent the last nine years of his life making his living from making replica Viking leather items and lives in his workshop.

The four battle re-enactments will take place at 1pm and 4pm this Saturday and Sunday and, according to Barry Gaynor, a leading expert in Viking history, no one will play Brian Boru, as he never fought on the day but spent it praying in his tent.

Meanwhile, Mr Gaynor, who has organised the Viking element of the event, believes artefacts from the Battle of Clontarf could still be found in Glasnevin Cemetery.

"As we know there are no physical remains from the battle one thousand years ago, but there could be lots of weapons buried in Dublin in various sites," said Mr Gaynor, who co-founded Fingal Living History 16 years ago.

He cited locations along the River Tolka as possible excavation sites.

The event is hosted by Dublin City Council.

Irish Independent

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