A Viking Network Info-sheet:

Vikings in Cork and Kilnamartyra

By Dan O Riordan, Mark Dooley, Donal Noonan, Brendan O Connell and Daithi Mc Sweeney

In AD 820 the monastery of saint Fin Barre was attacked by sea-borne raiders . In AD 914 a great fleet from Scandivian devasted Munster and the monastery in Cork was one of the monasteries raided by the vikings .

However some of the original newcomers were merchants were allowed to remain undisturbed in the port of Cork . They took over some of the neighbouring territory in Cork . The people of Cork traded with them purchasing wine , salt and and other goods from them .

The Vikings most likely settled in a small cove in Cove street . Excavations revealed the existence of a tidal mill-pond stretching over the area now known as Meade's street , Cove street , Mary's street and Sullivans Quay . An archeologial dig found a heavy stone wall which surrounded the mill-pond in the latter middle ages .

In 1130AD a Viking thief who stole the jewels of Clonmacnoise but could get none of the ship's from Cork to take him abroad . He was hanged by Cormac Mac Carthy whoes castle was based at the north side of the river Lee .

The Lee divides in two at the western edge of Cork city. The river Lee flows eastwards into Cork city . On the western approaches it divides into two channels ; the north channel and the south channel these channels converge at the eastern edge of the city . The original viking base was, as has been said above, at Cove street an inlet of the south channel .

The area between the two arms was the marshy district from which Cork got its name [ Corcach means march ] . Here on the edge of the marsh is where the Vikings settled .

St Finbarrs monastery occupied a ridge over looking the march from the south side . St Finbarr had moved from his original base in Gougane Barra , an remote and peaceful hermitage in an isolated valley , the source of the river Lee 64 km due west of Cork . Cork city evoled from his settlement .

Our district , Kilnamartyra lies 48 km due west of Cork city . A small monastic settlement founded by St Lachteen survived his death in 622 AD and in fact lasted until its destruction by Cronwellian forces in 1650 . It suffered a viking raid in 832 AD which left it in a sorry state but it was subsequently restored and continued as a place of pilgrimage . The church was known as Cill na Martra [called the "Church of the Human Relic" as Lachteens hand was preserved in a shrine as an object of veneration. This name is now applied to our district and village in which the school is situated

- 14. august 2004 -