The Vikings in Ireland - Impact on Irish History
The presence of the Vikings in Ireland is important in Irish History, especially in understanding the development of the Capital City of Ireland which is Dublin. These Scandinavians were known both as great warriors and sailors who travelled in long ships.
They started their raids in France, Britain and then to Ireland in AD 790. The Vikings in Ireland attacked the isolated island monasteries which made easy and fruitful pickings for these raiders. They were also attractive to these pagan raiders as they were usually places where food and animals were stored along with various treasures which could then easily be stolen and taken away.
Initially they only attacked within 20 miles of the coast and only later did they start to move further inland. They lasted for several decades and they managed to establish base camps in Dublin, a major port. The Gaelic Ireland they invaded found itself without any political structure to face such a well organised and aggressive foe.
With a sound base they then began about conquering Ireland; however the Irish Kings started a fight back and forced the Vikings in Ireland to return and consolidate their positions in Dublin, Wexford, and Waterford. These various Viking settlements began to develop into small kingdoms of their own throughout Ireland, and just compounded the existing series of power struggles, that already existed between the various kings.
In AD 914 a huge Viking presence arrived in Waterford and a new campaign began, where they attacked Munster and Leinster and defeated the Ui Neills. The Viking age lasted until the 11th Century and they introduced money to Irish society. The fact that they had settled in Ireland meant that they actually contributed to Irish society, not only through coinage, but also in advanced shipping techniques and in trading.
Until the arrival of the Vikings the most common method of buying and selling was done through the currency of cows. Back then land was measured by the number of cows it had on it and fines and rates were also calculated in the currency of cows. That of course made cattle raiding a pretty common occurrence. The cows also provided various dairy products and beef and hides so they were a valued commodity and ones that were sought after at this period in Irish history.
You should now read about Brian Boru Ireland.