Ireland’s Viking Story

Two cities celebrate their Viking past this Easter weekend at Dublin’s DUBLINIA VIKINGFEST 2018 (30 March–2 April) and the WATERFORD VIKING FESTIVAL 2018 (31 March–2 April).

From the ancient Viking traces of Waterford city in Ireland’s Ancient East, to the foundations of medieval Dublin, Ireland invites the world to celebrate its Viking past this Easter, with two wonderful events: the Viking Festival 2018, Waterford (31 March-April 2nd) and Dublin city’s Dublinia VikingFest 2018 (30 March-April 2nd).

Not sure how the Vikings came to be part of this island’s legacy? Well, far from being just rampaging warriors, the Vikings also brought civilisation, founding many of Ireland’s towns and cities as time went on. It all started for Ireland in the late 8th Century, when the Vikings realised there were lands not far away that were richer in land, stock and provisions than their own. And so their journey overseas – and to Ireland – began.

These mighty Nordic warriors battled chieftains, forged alliances and settled into the history of Ireland’s rich heritage. And despite their terrifying arrival in Ireland, the Norsemen were settlers by inclination. The result, Limerick, Cork, Waterford, Wexford, Youghal, Arklow, Wicklow and Dublin all have Viking origins. Even place names give notice to their Nordic roots (Waterford ends with a variant of fjord…)

The key event will be in both cities. Follow the Vikings, a live outdoor spectacle involving film, dance, live animation and battle reenactment takes place at both events. Save the dates for live action on Saturday 31 March at the historic Wood Quay amphitheatre in Dublin, and in Waterford’s Apple Market on Easter Monday 2 April.

Waterford Viking Festival (31 March-April 2nd):
At the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East, Waterford was founded in 914AD by Viking settlers, and the city gets its name from the Norse word “Veðrafjorðr”, meaning “windy fjord”. From these humble beginnings, Waterford grew to become a flourishing medieval port, which dominated trade between Ireland and its European neighbours for centuries – the Waterford Treasures trio of museums in the Waterford’s Viking Triangle tells the 1100-year-old story in great detail. The Waterford celebrations see renowned street theatre company Spraoi will present the Waterford Viking Festival, three days of interactive experiences including, boat-building workshops, sword-making and metal work re-enactments, archery, as well as guided tours of Viking Waterford.

Dublinia VikingFest 2018 (30 March-April 2nd):
Around 841AD, the invading Norsemen had started to settle, and a place the Celts had once called Dubh Linn soon became Dyflin, Little remained of their stay, but in the 1970s, during construction at Wood Quay – the area between Dublin’s River LIffey and Christ Church Cathedral – an extensive settlement was discovered, and the Viking exhibition called Dublinia established at the crossroads to remind people of the impact our Nordic neighbours had on the city. The four day VikingFest 2018 in Dublin centres around Dublinia – a unique Viking and medieval in the heart of the city – and Wood Quay, and will feature Living History demonstrations and Viking ships moored and on display in Wood Quay.

1. Waterford is known as Ireland’s oldest Viking city, and its name is derived from the Norse ‘Vadrefjord’ or ‘Fjord of the Waters’.
2. The true extent of Dublin’s Viking roots were only discovered between 1974 and 1981, after builders unearthed vast quantities of Viking relics, which are now in the National Museum in Dublin and in Dublinia heritage centre in Temple Bar.
3. Ireland’s Viking Triangle encompasses counties Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny in Ireland’s Ancient East and traces their legacy through place names, ancient buildings and medieval artefacts.
4. Waterford’s Reginald’s Tower is the oldest civic building in Ireland and has been in continuous use for over 800 years – it’s also one of a trio of museums known as the Waterford Treasures.
5. The hit TV show, Vikings, is filmed in Ireland and uses stunning locations in Ireland’s Ancient East, including Lough Tay, County Wicklow; the River Boyne, County Meath; and the Blessington Lakes, County Wicklow.
6. Follow the Vikings is a Creative Europe project that focuses on the Viking World. Dublinia in Dublin and Waterford Council have worked with international partners to create this roadshow, which will travel to 12 important Viking heritage sites across Europe – Dublin and Waterford are two of those sites.

For more information, visit

Author: Michaella McMahon

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