Viking Locations to Visit in Dublin

On the Viking Trail in Dublin City Centre !

Visiting Dublin today is to visit a city founded by Vikings in the 9th century! Walking along the streets means following in the footsteps of these intrepid sea-faring people. Look out for commemorative pavings and hints as you stroll the streets. Along with these streets and sites we can recommend places to go to complete you Viking experience in Dublin.

Remains of Viking Dublin have been found in several locations near Temple Bar, the city’s thriving hub of bars and restaurants, and many of the streets layout and names date back to the Viking Age. Temple Bar was once a major marketplace for Viking traders and beneath these streets lay the remains of houses, roads, animal enclosures and graves. . 

Begin at Dublin Tourism Centre, and pick up a map, located on Suffolk Street is located in an old church which stands on the site of a Viking thingmote, their ancient assembly site which was a raised mound, built in the 10th century. 

The Steine or Long Stone, Ivar the Boneless' Pillar can be found at the intersection of Pearse and College Streets, north of Trinity College. The original pillar was erected by the Vikings on the banks of the river to prevent their longships from running aground. It originally stood 12 to 14 feet high, and was probably erected in the 10th or 11th century. It was removed before 1750. The present stone was carved by Clíodna Cussen and erected in 1986. The faces commemorate Ivar, one of Dublin’s Viking rulers of the 9th century, and the local convent of The Virgin Mary de Hogges, founded by Diarmuid Mac Murchada, who sought help from Henry II as the Normans began to arrive in the 1170s.

Fishamble Street is thought to be the oldest street in the city leading as it does straight down to Woodquay the site of an extensive Viking settlement, stretching from Winetavern Street to Fishamble Street. Excavations here by Dubliln Corporation between 1974 and 1981 revealed much of what we know today about their time here.

The Vikings used copper to make barrels, kegs and churns. Wood turners could also produce containers such as bowls, cups, dishes, ladles and spoons. Wooden items were also decorated and stylised heads would have been common on crooks of sticks and ship fittings.

It leads to Christchurch Cathedral thought to have been founded by Sitric Silkenbeard, King of Dublin around 1028 and would have been linked to the maze of medieval streets and buildings at that time. 

Dublinia

Dublinia

Connected to Christ Church Cathedral by a medieval footbridge is Dublinia, which features Ireland’s premiere Viking exhibit. In this exciting interpretive centre you can learn about Viking homes, pastimes, skills and weaponry, and get to try on their clothes! It is said they introduced trousers to Ireland.

Dublinia is located in Dublin city centre at the crossroads of St Michael’s Hill, Patrick St, and High Street. Dublinia is connected to Christ Church Cathedral, the original of which was built in wood by Sitric Silkenbeard, King of Dublin in 1028, by a medieval footbridge. Just around the corner from Christchurch Cathedral is Winetavern Street, along which is set the full-size outline of a Viking house, complete with hearth and outside lavatory.

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle (left):

The original medieval castle was constructed in 1171, but much of it has been replaced over the centuries. Most of what stands today dates from the 18th century. The castle is believed to be the site of the first Viking Longphort in Dublin. Also, Dame Street recalls the fact that it used to be part of the Liffey Estuary until a dam was built here. This meeting point between the River Liffey and the River Poddle meant it was an excellent place for the Vikings to settle and build their firts Irish longphort in 841.

Located in the heart of the city in Dublin City Council Civic Offices, Wood Quay, City Wall Space is a conference, meeting, exhibition and performance facility featuring a stretch of the original Hiberno Norse (Viking) City Wall dating from 1100AD. Two significant stretches of this phase of the north end of the city wall survive in a modern context along the south side of Cook Street and here in the Wood Quay Venue. Extensive archaelogical digs took place here in the 1970s and revealed many interesting Viking finds now on display in the National Museum!

At the National Museum of Ireland on Kildare Street you will find the largest collection of artefacts uncovered from the Wood Quay site including a vast array of weaponry, jewellery, combs, and silver as well as a model of a Viking ship. The National Wax Museum just off College Green also has a section on Vikings.

If you want a fun tour of the city and waterways of Dublin whilst wearing a Viking helmet, complete with horns then Viking Splash Tours are a must (see right). Tours depart from St. Stephens Green North, can be booked in advance and depart every 30 minutes in peak season! 

Viking Locations Beyond the City Walls

In the county of Dublin there are several sites that mark the spot of Viking activity. Events such as the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 took place north of the city centre which is now completely urbanised. Here are a few places of interest that remain today:

Clondalkin Round Tower

This monastery was plundered by Danes in 832. Olaf the White, probable founder of Dublin, built a fort here in 852. The Viking King Olaf the White built a fort here in c.852 which was plundered again in 866. Visit St. Brigid’s Holy Well nearby, which dates from the 5th century and is said to have curative powers! Clondalkin is also the scene of a famous battle between Strongbow and the Ruairi OConnor, the High King of Ireland at the end of the 12th century.

Swords Round Tower:

Located due north of Dublin this tower was reputedly founded by Saint Colmcille in 512. As with many of the monasteries near Dublin, a long and violent period of burning, pillaging and destruction by Irish and Vikings were recorded over several centuries. In 1014 the bodies of King Brian Boru and his son Murrough rested overnight, after being carried here from the field of Battle in Clontarf, on their way to Armagh for burial. 

Right: Swords Round Tower

Swords round tower

Lusk Round Tower:

Located north east of Dublin this tower was pillaged and destroyed in 835 and burnt in 854 by the Vikings. Said to have been founded by St. Macculind in 497, the round tower here has been cleverly incorporated into the design of a medieval belfry with three corner turrets and the round tower making the fourth. This is an ingenious disguise for a round tower and highly unusual.

The Founding of Viking Dublin 841AD

The Founding of Viking Dublin 841AD

The arrival on the Liffey of the large fleet of Viking longships in 837 signalled a change in Viking Age Ireland. By 841 the vikings had built their longphort and settled here.....read more

Dublin in the Viking Age

Dublin in the Viking Age

The settlement or longphort was located on raised ground where the river Poddle joined the Liffey. It would have been surrounded by an embankment of gravel, earth and mud topped by a wooden fence or enclosure replaced by a stone wall, from within King Sigtrygg of Dublin would have probably observed the Battle of Clontarf....read more