Donna Troy Cleary

5. Cork City II

Donna Troy ClearyComment

As I mentioned in a previous post, St. Fin Barre's was not the church where my father had his "out of body" experience but the next day I found out why I felt connected to it.

After my evening in the pub talking politics, the next day I made my way back out into Cork City. My mission was to investigate a bit of information my grandmother had shared with my father while he was growing up.  We are part Viking.  

My research before leaving for Ireland revealed that the Vikings were amongst the first to settle in Cork City.  They set up raiding bases south of the island as early as the 800's.   Part of my research was to binge watch the last 4 seasons of Viking, the hit TV show.  Yeah, someone's got to do this work.  :)  Looking at the people portrayed in the series, I can't help but see how they fit the description of the Celts/Gauls in The Tain Bó Cualigne.  Mental note: find out more about the relationship of the Vikings to the Celts/Gauls.  My grandmother always said that our height and blue eyes came from the Vikings.  Since the Irish have an oral tradition, I have no doubt she's right.

Before heading out, I spent the morning online reexamining the old maps and readings about where the Viking settlement was in Cork City.  I pulled up google maps on my phone and entered the street address.  I was being directed right back to St. Fin Barre's and Fort Elizabeth.  Barrack Street runs along the edge of Fort Elizabeth.  

 

"In 914 a great fleet from overseas devastated Munster. According to Cogadh Gaedhel re Gaillaibh, some of the Scandinavians from the great fleet settled at Cork. Those Vikings arrived at some kind of understanding with the leading men of the neighbouring monastic community. Their relationship was characterised by peaceful coexistence." (1)

"English records show that in the late twelfth century there were certainly Hiberno-Viking houses in the area around Barrack Street and Sullivan’s Quay."  (1)

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 ."  (2)

"Keyser’s Hill boasts a name of Scandinavian origin, signifying ‘a passage leading to the waterfront’, and provides further evidence of a Viking presence in the area." (1)

"... Some of the original newcomers were merchants and 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 ." (1)

 

(1) http://www.historyireland.com/vikings/viking-cork/

(2 )http://www.viking.no/e/info-sheets/ireland/cork.htm

 

 

 

The southern part of this map is the area previously occupied by the Vikings.  Cork Cross (I) is the site of the old mill pond.  This is where the Vikings anchored their ships.  The watch tower is where Fort Elizabeth now stands and the steeple is where St. Fin Barre's now stands.  Note the Abby directly across a small waterway from where the Viking settlement would have been.  

The southern part of this map is the area previously occupied by the Vikings.  Cork Cross (I) is the site of the old mill pond.  This is where the Vikings anchored their ships. 

The watch tower is where Fort Elizabeth now stands and the steeple is where St. Fin Barre's now stands.  Note the Abby directly across a small waterway from where the Viking settlement would have been.  

St. Fin Barre's (left), Barrack St/Elizabeth Fort, Center,  Cove St, (right)

St. Fin Barre's (left), Barrack St/Elizabeth Fort, Center,  Cove St, (right)