‘Is acher ingáith innocht, fufuasna faircggae findḟolt, ni ágor réimm mora minn, dondláechraid lainn oua lothlind’
~ Anonymous Irish poem, 'Tonight I fear not the Vikings'
The poem above captures the sense of dread among the Irish monastic settlements when the vikings first arrived in Ireland, between 750 and 800 AD. And though the Norsemen plundered and laid waste to many of these settlements, it is from the vikings that Co.Wicklow derives so much of its identity.
Viking sailors christened their new coastal base 'Wykinglo', taking advantage of the location's natural harbour and proximity to Britain and mainland Europe. Goods were traded through the port from far and wide, and more positive relationships between the Irish natives and the vikings began to flourish because of this. The Irish referred to early Wicklow as 'bac na saor' or 'Craftsman's Creek', having watched the new settlers build and repair their ships.
When they chose this natural harbour for a base, the vikings laid the blueprints for the Wicklow Town you see today. A town that seems to embrace the sea – and where the tops of its rolling hills announce the coast like a boastful friend.
This is where Wicklow's maritime tradition truly begins.
Image: History Channel's Vikings (Filmed in Wicklow) Source: Youtube