What can the artifacts found buried with Viking women in Ireland tell us about their lives? Maeve Sikora, assistant keeper at the National Museum of Ireland, focuses on everyday objects excavated at burial sites and what they tell us about the role of women at the time.

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Tags: Ireland, Medieval Ireland, Viking, Women

Comment by michael dunne on October 18, 2016 at 6:58pm

Thank you Belinda. Worked in a Heritage Centre Dublinia which was primarily concerned with Viking Dublin and the noted Wood Quay site Can you direct me to the first in this Viking series. Does it start with 'Viking Ireland 4'  ? It would be of great interest to me to see the entire series.

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Comment by Nollaig 2016 on October 18, 2016 at 7:26pm
Comment by michael dunne on October 20, 2016 at 11:46am

Thank you Belinda for the entire series on Vikings Ireland and to Maeve Sikora of the National Museum. The ornamentation worn by Viking women shows an appreciation for craftwork that surprised me. I thought the Viking men were only concerned with grabbing loot such as semi precious stones, silver and gold. I am mistaken and have learned from watching these 8 presentations that the Viking craftwork had a lasting influence on Irish art style. I was also surprised to learn that these Viking warriors took their women with them in significant numbers.

We are taught that in early Christian Ireland and even in pagan times our women held powerful positions in Irish society of those times. We have legends of Queen Maeve and Táin Bó Cuailgne, wars and even the affair that precipitated the invitation of the Normans in 1169. Sadly even though these Normans gave us twelve man juries, abolished or outlawed slavery as Catholics and brought the Roman Catholic monastic orders to our shores, Irish women were downgraded and, to the present day, their status never recovered to what it was in Druidic Ireland. But no mistaking the indomitable influence of Irish women in the assimilation of the Vikings and the Normans into the Irish culture and ways of life, even though they seem to prefer being understated in society. By the 11th Century this assimilation was largely completed between the vikings and the Irish as the burials from then on were done in Christian ceremony. So it appears that not only had the Vikings converted to the cultural changes but also to the religious one and may have been active participants in the Crusades well before the arrival of the Normans.

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Comment by Nollaig 2016 on October 20, 2016 at 8:03pm

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Comment by Nollaig 2016 on October 28, 2016 at 9:36am

Comment by michael dunne on October 28, 2016 at 1:50pm

Thank you for this interesting video extract showing the ferocity of Viking culture/warfare. The Irish were the only race I know of who made the distinction between the Scandanavian and the Danish Vikings eg Fionn Gall and Dubh Gall, fair foreigners (Scandanavian) and dark skinned foreigners (Danes)  Regardless of colour, Irish culture endured, and both the Vikings and the Normans were won over to the more powerful Gaelic culture and their women. One might do well to study Irelands golden era of Saints and Scholars.

For centuries before the arrival of the Vikings, we were at the cutting edge of Gallician Christianity spreading the faith to the Western Isles and mainland Europe. Of course our Druidic influence in Christian culture was very strong. Like the various compromises Constantine the Great was obliged to make as a gesture to the Eastern hordes, so to St Patrick had to make similar concessions to King Laoire on Tara all those centuries before the Roman Catholic Vatican cracked the whip via its ultramontaine decrees. Eventually its policies putting the run on the traditional hermetic holy men who attempted to follow in the traditions of St Patrick, St Brendan, St Colmcille and St Columba. The arrival of the Vatican monastic orders coincided with the arrival of the Normans and a new order of Roman Catholicism followed. Exit the hermits and concepts of Dysert O'Dea. (Remote communes following in the earliest holy men who wandered, even in the Desert.  Occasionally a crack appears in this religious armour by way of the Irish spirit in holding dearly to tradition. 'The Bodhran Makers"  by John B Keane is one such novel and an appropriate novel for Christmas. 

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Comment by Nollaig 2016 on October 31, 2016 at 11:24am

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Comment by Nollaig 2016 on November 2, 2016 at 12:57am


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