Irish History: Vikings and the Battle of Clontarf


Milestones in Irish History

Explore the history of the arrival and tenure of the Vikings in Ireland. Arriving in around 790 C.E. in shallow draft boats that were ideal for navigating the rivers of Ireland, the Vikings found the churches and monasteries of Ireland easy targets for plundering. Most likely from what we now call Norway, these “Norse” were likely farmers and seamen at home. Those that raided Ireland’s monasteries believed in the old Norse gods. As their homeland was getting crowded, some sought new lands in which to settle. Others looked for trading opportunities or simply to get rich by piracy. But the Norse brought more than chaos and destruction. Many believe the Norse built the first towns and ports in Ireland. As they intermingled with the indigenous Irish, they shared their DNA and also became involved in the politics of medieval Ireland. The rise of Irish chieftain Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 C.E. serves as a convenient marker for the ebbing power of the Vikings in Ireland.

One Zoom Sessions: Tuesdays 6:30 – 7:45 pm. February 27.
Class Fee:
Instructor: Dr. Steve Griffith –


Milestones in Irish History are individual classes in a 12-part series over the next few years that will cover the history of Ireland from St. Patrick in 432 A.D. to the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement in 1998. Each class is offered as a “stand alone” one-meeting class with a focus on an important event in Irish history. No previous knowledge of the subject or Irish history is required for participation.