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This permanent exhibition deals with the period from 795 to the first half of the twelfth century. The Viking's initial impact on Ireland is illustrated chiefly by the collection of weapons, tools and ornaments from the great ninth-century cemeteries at Kilmainham and Islandbridge to the west of Dublin. These constitute the largest collection of grave finds outside Scandinavia. Most of the swords found at Kilmainham and Islandbridge are typical Norwegian swords of the period, double-edged with triangular pommel.

Finds from excavated settlement sites outside the towns are similar to those from tenth and eleventh century Dublin. Ballinderry crannog, Co. Westmeath yielded many important finds especially a ninth-century sword with blade of Frankish origin inscribed with its maker's name, Ulfberth.

Museum poster

The Museum exhibition poster features the Ballinderry sword.

Evidence for slavery during this period includes chains and manacles which have been found on excavated sites and as stray finds. Included in the exhibition ia a 10 metre long chain with attached collar which was found with an iron spearhead, a bronze pin and a human skull beside a crannog at Ardakillen, Co. Roscommon. The skull has up to twenty axe or sword cuts.

Artefacts from twenty years' excavations by the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin form the core of the exhibition. Tools and artefact connected with the different trades and crafts carried on in the Viking town are included. A model of a Viking Age Dublin house is shown as is a model of a part of the town showing houses and streets. The importance of trade is illustrated by finds such as amber and jet, silk and gold braid, whalebone and walrus skulls. Material from excavations at Waterford, Wexford and Cork complement finds from Dublin.

The National Museum is in Kildare Street, Dublin, Ireland.
Open Tuesday to Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday 2 pm to 5 pm.
Admission Free.
Updated March 2001 by the Viking Network

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