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A Viking Heimkváma

14 August, 2007, the Sea Stallion from Glendalough arrived back to Dublin, nearly 1,000 years after it was constructed out of Irish wood. Its Heimkváma, an old Norse word that means Homecoming, featured Ministers from Denmark and Ireland, the Lord Mayor of Dublin and hundreds of interested on-lookers.

The ship will stay in Collins Barracks throughout the fall and winter months before returning to Denmark in 2008.

RTÉ.ie tracked the six-week Viking voyage with video, photos, and Seafarer's Logs. Now, you can re-live the adventure again.


ABOUT THE SEA STALLION PROJECT


This ambitious project recreated the epic Viking voyages made from Scandinavia to our land generations ago -1,211 years after the first Viking raids.

The reconstructed Viking ship sailed right into the heart of Dublin for the first time in a millennium.

The Sea Stallion trekked from Roskilde, Denmark to the banks of the Liffey River in Dublin, Ireland.

Major find in Roskilde Fjord

Picture of recovered Viking ship

In 1962, excavations in the Roskilde Fjord in Denmark found the remains of five ships.

The project followed years of rumours among the local population that the remains of a ship from the time of Queen Margrethe 1 were resting somewhere on the sea floor.

The ships were given the numbers 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 (originally, there was thought to be six hence the missing '4').

Skuldelev 1 and 3 were long cargo ships. Skuldelev 6 was a long fishing boat and Skuldelev 2, now named 'The Sea Stallion from Glendalough' was a warship of 30m in length.



'The Sea Stallion from Glendalough'

After three years of hard work, the National Museum in Dublin and the Viking Ship Museum in Denmark reconstructed the ship to resemble how it and other similar vessels would have appeared all those years ago.

60 men could sit by the oars of the warship and it could carry an additional 10-20 men. The large crew suggests that the ship belonged to a rich chieftain or perhaps even a king. The original ship stayed in use until the very late 11th century before she was scuttled to block Roskilde Fjord.

The newly constructed version was built using Viking tools, materials and much the same methods as the original ship.

Queen Margrethe of Denmark christened the ship 'Havingsten fra Glendalough', which translates into 'The Sea Stallion from Glendalough'.

On 1 July, the ship and its 70-strong crew (including two Irish members) set sail from Roskilde and arrived in Dublin on 14 August.

The purpose of the voyage was to test and document the seaworthiness, speed and manoeuvrability of the ship on the rough open sea and in coastal waters with treacherous currents. The crew tested how the long, narrow, flexible hull withstood the tough ocean waves.

The experimental archaeology expedition also provided valuable new information on Viking longships and society.

The ship was manned by members of the Viking Ship Museum staff and 120 volunteers who will take turns in joining the 70-person crew.



Project catches the imagination

The organisers saw the expedition as an interesting social experiment as 70 present-day individuals reacted to being confined to an open-decked ship with little room for private life or home comforts.

They believed the voyage would provide new insights into the hearts, minds and spirits of the Vikings while teaching us a thing or two about ourselves.

The project has caught the imagination of the Danish people with print, TV, radio and online media covered the epic journey from start to finish.

A crew from the BBC’s award-winning Timewatch programme filmed the project for a documentary while here in Ireland, RTÉ.ie/Vikings brought you regular updates on proceedings from a uniquely Irish angle.


Arriving home

Upon its return to Ireland, the Sea Stallion went on public view at Collins Barracks for the winter months before sailing back to Denmark in 2008.





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