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A visit to the National Museum of Ireland

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History of Dublin

The Vikings in Ireland

Dublin's landmarks

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The first Viking raids on Ireland were in 795. The raids became more frequent and fleets of Viking ships appeared on the major rivers such as the Shannon and the Liffey. Their first temporary encampments date from 840. Some encampments, such as Dublin and Waterford, later became towns.

In this early period, the principal targets were the monasteries which were the main centres of wealth and gold.

This grave was uncovered in 1934. It is the burial of a warrior accompanied by his sword and dagger.

Viking burials from the later 9th/early 10th centuries near Dublin, contained the personal possessions of the dead. Warriors were buried with weapons including fine swords. The presence of weights, scales, purses, tongs and hammers suggests that some of the dead were merchants and craftsmen.

The Vikings built their first fortified encampment in Dublin in 841. The archeological research show the presence of weapons, tools and brooches. The cemetary outside Dublin is the largest Viking cemetary outside of Scandinavia.

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Kitchen utensils and tableware were made almost entirely of wood and pottery.

Ironworking was particularly important as most agricultural tools were of iron.

Fishing and hunting were also important sources of food.

There wasn’t a lot of silver and gold in Ireland. But the Viking traded with Muslims and Western Asia to make ornaments. Ornaments were made with silver from melted coins.

The Vikings made a great variety of brooches and arm rings with the metal.

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In the 17th century, Dublin was ruled by the Protestant English minority and became the capital of the Kingdom of Ireland. By 1700, Dublin was the second-largest city in the British Empire with a population of 60,000. Many houses were constructed for merchants, doctors, lawyers and bankers.

After the Anglo-Norman invasion in 1170, Dublin became the capital of Ireland. As a result, it was populated by people from England and Wales.

Dublin was founded by the Vikings. They founded a new town on the south of the Liffey in 841. It was called Dubh Linn, which means black pool. The new town of Dublin was fortified with a wooden palisade. In the late 11th century, stone walls were built around Dublin.

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Dublin Castle

From 1204 until 1922 it was the seat of British rule in Ireland. The Castle was built as a medieval fortress under the orders of King John of England. It remained intact, but in April 1684 a major fire caused damage. Thankfully, parts of the medieval and Viking structures survived and can be explored by visitors today.

Trinity College Dublin

Trinity College Dublin was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I. It is Ireland's oldest university. Famous Irish writers such as Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift and Samuel Beckett all studied at Trinity. Trinity was not always a place of accessible learning; women were not permitted to study there until 1904.

St Patrick's Cathedral

The cathedral is 800 years old. It was built in honor of Saint Patrick who probably stayed in Dublin in the 5th century. He is famous for bringing Christianity to Ireland. Today, he is a legendary figure. One legend says that he took all the snakes out of Ireland and put them into the sea.

The Ha'penny Bridge

It was the first pedestrian bridge built over the river Liffey in 1815. Before the bridge, people took ferries to cross the river. The ferries were in bad conditions, so the city decided to build a bridge. For the first 100 years, people had to pay half a penny to cross the bridge.