03: Dig, Protests and Legal Action

The Wood Quay excavations, protests and legal action grabbed the attention of the nation in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Archaeologists, historians, politicians, academics, writers, activists and young and old from all walks of life, joined forces in a decade long struggle against the destruction of the Viking site and in favour of the construction of civic offices in an alternative location.

Protests culminated on the streets of Dublin with over 20,000 people coming out to voice their opposition to the destruction of the site led by the Friends of Medieval Dublin. In June 1979 the Friends of Medieval Dublin led by Professor F.X. Martin staged a three-week long sit-in on the site in what became known as 'Operation Sitric'. 

Protesters ultimately lost the battle for preservation as Dublin Corporation found a loophole in the law which permitted them to proceed with the construction of civic offices on the site.