They came, they saw, they conquered

Published in Issue 2 (Summer 1999), News, Volume 7

Limerick was treated to a rare sight when Vikings from their settlement on the banks of the Shannon at the University of Limerick campus raided Cruises Street and sacked Bewley’s Oriental Cafe on Saturday, 10 April 1999. An Irish contingent approached the Viking trading settlement but were defeated by a larger and well-equipped Viking force. The Irish returned on Sunday but were again soundly trashed. Peace was restored in the evening and both sides agreed to live in harmony with each other.
The re-enactment was part of a series of events over the weekend organised by the University of Limerick History Society and Clann Mogh Roith (a Limerick re-enactment group) which included a seminar addressed by Howard Clarke (UCD), Sarah McCuthcheon (Limerick County Archaeologist) and Eamonn Kelly (National Museum) who gave a detailed account of a Viking longphort at Athlunkard (three miles from Limerick city), discovered in 1998, which he stated was one of the most visible signs of Viking involvement in Limerick.
Over eighty Viking re-enactors established a settlement on the lawns in front of historic Plassey House. Attractions included archery where members of the public learned the proper way to operate a long-bow, Viking cuisine and Viking trading. On Sunday a number of spectators from the large attendance were kidnapped by a small band of gigantic Vikings and sold as slaves. Spectators were fascinated by the Viking silversmith (who travelled from England) and carpenter who exhibited their skills to attentive viewers. Contrary to popular opinion the Vikings, as well as the Celts, kept Irish wolfhounds which were visible around the settlement. Despite the strong wind the Viking settlement remained sturdy and upright. The organisers aimed to alter the inaccurate image of the Vikings as nothing more than plundering barbarians and succeeded in placing them in their proper context—warriors and traders.
Enquiries: David Fleming (01) 6183986 or (086) 8430040 or University of Limerick Clubs and Societies Office (061) 202832.


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