VADRARFJORDR A REPLICA VIKING LONGBOAT [WATERFORD]

REPLICA VIKING LONGBOAT

VADRARFJORDR

This ship takes its name from the original Norwegian Viking name for Waterford.

There are references to Viking encampments or settlement in the Waterford area in the years 860, 892 and 914, and the foundation of Waterford is generally dated to 914. There are several foundation myths concerning Waterford, one frequently repeated story of Waterford's origins is that it was established by a Viking-chieftain named Sitric in 853. This account is based on an account by Gerald of Wales, repeated by 18th-century writer Charles Smith in his history of Waterford. Another myth, found in the 13th-century Ystoria Gruffudd ap Cynan, the Norwegian king Harald Finehair (c. 850 – c. 933) founded Dublin and gave Waterford to his brother.

The Ostmen or Danes as they are more commonly called, persuaded by the rigours of their own inhospitable clime, had taken to the high seas in search of plunder. During the first half of the 9th century the shores of south-east Ireland were ravaged time after time by Danish expeditions, Ardmore and Lismore being the subjects of a number of raids. At the outset, these bellicose incursions took place only during the summer months, the raiders returning home with their spoils at the onset of winter, but later the Vikings built a permanent encampment. A number of factors influenced the choice of the site. The place provided a splendid anchorage. It was the lowest point at which the river could at that time be forded. Above all, the site could easily be defended. It was protected on three sides by water; in front by the Suir; on the east and at rear by St. John's River and the marshes flanking it. St. John's River did not then, as now, flow neatly between regular banks. Rather, its tortuous and uncontained stream meandered over much of the ground now occupied by Lombard Street, William Street, the People's Park, Catherine Street, and Parnell Street, turning this entire area into viscous marshland. These marshes also extended westwards round the back of the site of the old town. Only on the west itself were substantial fortifications necessary. This was Waterford in its infancy, a Danish stronghold, subject to constant harassment by the Irish outside the walls, who broke in on more than one occasion to lay waste the foreign colony.

Among the most prominent Kings of Waterford was Ivar of Waterford (d. 1000).

During the late 10th and early 11th centuries, the rise of Brian Bóruma saw Waterford and a number of other Viking ports being brought firmly under the control of the O'Brien dynasty. Control of these Viking ports was significant for would-be Irish High Kings as it granted greater access to international trade and manpower.

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