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Viking Kings of Britain and Ireland: The Dynasty of Ívarr to AD 1014
, by Clare Downham just published, November 2007..

Description: Vikings plagued the coasts of Ireland and Britain in the 790s. Over time, their raids became more intense and by the mid-ninth century Vikings had established a number of settlements in Ireland and Britain and had become heavily involved with local politics. A particularly successful Viking leader named Ívarr campaigned on both sides of the Irish Sea in the 860s. His descendants dominated the major seaports of Ireland and challenged the power of kings in Britain during the later ninth and tenth centuries.

In 1014, the battle of Clontarf marked a famous stage in the decline of Viking power in Ireland whilst the conquest of England in 1013 by the Danish king Sveinn Forkbeard marked a watershed in the history of Vikings in Britain. The descendants of Ívarr continued to play a significant role in the history of Dublin and the Hebrides until the twelfth century, but they did not threaten to overwhelm the major kingships of Britain or Ireland in this later period as they had done before.

This book provides a political analysis of the deeds of Ívarr’s family from their first appearance in Insular records down to the year 1014. Such an account is necessary in light of the flurry of new work that has been done in other areas of Viking Studies. Recent theoretical approaches to the subject have raised many interesting questions regarding identity, material culture and structures of authority. Archaeological finds and excavations have also offered potentially radical insights into Viking settlement and society. In line with these developments Clare Downham provides a reconsideration of events based on contemporary written accounts. It will appeal to a wide range of people who are curious to know more about the history of Vikings in Britain and Ireland.

The author Dr Clare Downham is a lecturer in Celtic in the School of Language and Literature of the University of Aberdeen. She worked previously at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.

Distribution: Dunedin Academic Press, c/o Turpin Distribution, Pegasus Drive, Stratton Business Park, Biggleswade. SG18 8TQ , UK

ISBN: 978-1903765-89-0 Price: £25; €40.00; US$49.95

VIKING AGE DUBLIN (paperback) by Dr. Ruth Johnson, Dublin City Archaeologist. Part of the Irish Treasures series by Town House Books, this is a short and informative overview. It is well illustrated in black-and-white and colour. Price is €12.99 Website.

"This fascinating book gives a synopsis of the most recent finds in Dublin and its surrounding suburbs. Wonderfully illustrated, it paints a vivid and enlightening picture of life in Viking Dublin."

A New History of Ireland, Volume I, Prehistoric and Early Ireland.
Edited by Dáibhí Ó Cróinín . Price: £130.00 (Hardback). 1301 pages, numerous black and white plates, line illustrations and maps. Part of the New History of Ireland series. Website.

Includes the following chapters:
F. J. Byrne: The Viking Age
Nancy Edwards: The Archaeology of Early Medieval Ireland, c.400-1169: Settlement and Economy
Patrick F. Wallace: The Archaeology of Ireland's Viking-Age Towns
F. J. Byrne: Ireland Before the Battle of Clontarf

Medieval Dublin I - VI
Proceedings of the Friends of Medieval Dublin Symposia 1999-2004

Published by Four Courts Press.

The Friends of Medieval Dublin is a study group whose aim is to increase knowledge about, and promote public interest in, medieval Dublin. The first of a proposed series of annual public symposia was held in Trinity College, Dublin, in April 1999, with the general object of bringing together experts and enthusiasts, professional and amateur alike, who share an interest in the archaeology of medieval Dublin, the artefacts retrieved as a result of excavation, and the history of the city and its hinterland. The more specific object is to provide a forum for dissemination of the results of recent important excavations in and around the medieval city.


Lastest volume published is Medieval Dublin VI
Contents include:
Linzi Simpson - Viking warrior burials in Dublin: is this the longphort?
Cathal Daly - Beyond Valhalla: the conservation of a group of Viking grave-goods from Dublin
David Dunville - Old Dubliners and new Dubliners in Ireland and Britain: a Viking-age story

Hardback: ISBN: 1-85182-884-2 Price: €45/£40/$55 Paperback: ISBN: 1-85182-885-0 Price: €24.95/£19.95/$30 pbk
Also available: Medieval Dublin I, Medieval Dublin II, Medieval Dublin III, Medieval Dublin IV

The port of medieval Dublin-archaeological excavations at the Civic Offices, Winetavern Street, Dublin by Andy Halpin.

Published by Four Courts Press, hb £39.50, pb £24.95.

This book deals not with fortified wine (as a hasty reading of the title might suggest) but with the type of port where ships anchor. The excavations took place at Wood Quay in an area sandwiched between the lines of the twelfth- and thirteenth- century town walls. Andy Halpin's investigations recovered the twelfth-century revetments and the remains of a thirteenth-Century structure which, on the basis of historical references, may have been a Tholsel or Guildhall.

Among the specialist reports which dominate the book are chapters on dendrochronology (David Brown), historical background (Linzi Simpson), and analysis of the carpentry and woodland management involved in the construction of the revetment and analysis of the ship timbers recovered (Aidan O'Sullivan). The excavation results should be of particular interest to those concerned with urban archaeology, and ships, ports and trade in the medieval period.
from "Book News" by Tom Condit in Archaeology Ireland, Volume 15, No. 1 (Spring 2001).

Life in Viking Times Samantha Skyrme.
Published by Colourpoint. Web Site.
An attractive and colourful primary school book on the theme. It included questions and activities. 64pp £6.25.
An Irish language version is also available.

Ireland and Scandinavia in the Early Viking Age.
edited by Clarke, Ni Mhaonaigh and O Floinn, ISBN 1-85182-235-6.
Four Courts Press, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8, Tel.: (Int+353-1) 453 4668, Fax.: (Int+353-1) 453 4672,
E-mail: Web site

Archaeological excavations at Patrick, Nicholas and Winetavern Streets, Dublin describes an excavation along the walls and defences of medieval Dublin. Archaeologist Claire Walsh details the result of a campaign of excavation along the southern walls and defences of medieval Dublin. Published by Brandon Books, Dingle, Co. Kerry, Ireland. Price IR£24.99. ISBN 0 86322 227 7

Late Viking Age and Medieval Waterford Excavations 1986-1992
M.F.Hurley and O.B.M. Scully with S.J. McCutcheon. Published by Waterford Corporation.
This is a large, 1008 page book containing articles from many contributors. It provides the essential archaeological detail of Waterford's development from the late Viking Age into the Anglo-Norman period. This book will be an essential reference for comparison with other Irish and European towns. IR£70 hardback limited edition. Information from Town Clerk, City Hall, Waterford, Ireland.

The National Museum of Ireland Medieval Dublin Excavations 1962-1981.

The Royal Irish Academy is publishing the definitive account of the National Museum of Ireland's excavations in Medieval Dublin on behalf of the Museum and the Academy. The National Museum's campaign between 1962 and 1981 was one of the longest programmes of urban excavations undertaken anywhere in Europe.

Please send items for inclusion in this page to the Irish Co-ordinator, Michael Farry.

Updated 18 July 2005 by the Viking Network

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