18 Pages

Royal Fleets in Viking Ireland: The Evidence of Lebor Na Cert, a.d. 1050-1150

WithCatherine Swift

Lebor na Cert is a collection of poems dealing with the relationships between local Irish kingdoms and their over-kings. Skuldelev 2 is a Danish-type warship, found scuttled at the entrance to Roskilde in Denmark but built in Ireland c. a.d. 1060–70 according to dendrochronological evidence. It is one of the biggest Viking warships ever found, built to carry some 40 oarsmen. In Connacht, the second over-kingdom discussed in Lebor na Cert, only one local king is offered ships by his provincial king: the king of Umall or Clew Bay who is offered five ships. Such a gift provides a context for the raid on Clew Bay by a fleet of seven ships of Hebrideans in 1015, indicating that the area was involved in maritime politics. The evidence of Lebor na Cert suggests that the Munster Ui Briain kings also aspired to control this vital area.