By: Jenna Gilder
On Easter I went with a few friends to the Viking Festival. It was the 1000-year anniversary of the famous Viking Battle in Ireland. We attended the festival, which took place in Dublin, but other Viking festivals were also held in Clare, Tipperary, and Armagh. At this festival, individuals dressed in full Viking and Irish army attire, reenacted the Battle of Clontarf. Over 500 people participated in this reenactment that took place in St. Anne’s Park. This was the largest re-enactment to ever take place in Ireland. It was definitely an unusual site to see as men ran at each other with swords in the rain. This battle ended with the Viking defeat and the death of the powerful Irish king Brian Ború. An exhibit on Brian Ború is currently in the Long Hall at Trinity University. I was able to visit the exhibit on Friday and I was amazed by the artwork that was on display.
The Viking and Gallic flags were held high and children at the festival were given the opportunity to create their own flags. One child’s flag that I saw said “war is awesome”, so I am not sure if these re-enactments, as educational as they are, are sending the right message to children. After the re-enactment we strolled around the Viking village that consisted of 80 tents, and found that individuals seemed to be actually living and sleeping there. One woman let us sit in front of her tent by the fire she made. We had a traditional Irish lunch of Shepard’s pie as we listened to a band play music. After lunch we walked around and shopped in the many sword, archery, and shield shops. It was quite an eventful day in which I felt transported into another time period.