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Coin minted for Sihtric Silkenbeard in Dublin

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Skuldelev 2

The Skuldelev 2 was built from wood felled in Glendalough in 1042 - the same year Sihtric King of Dublin died.

Who built the boat?

Was it built as a funerary ship for Sihtric, who seems to stay in power in Dublin for half a century in spite of supposedly losing battles repeatedly, to return him to his father's ancestors in Scandinavia? (This is my dad James Fortune's theory - as he was the first to connect the date of Sihtric's death with the date of the trees felled at Glendalough to build the ship). Where were Sihtric's ancestors from exactly? Did he have a connection with Roskilde?

His successor Echmarcach had close ties with Donnchadh, Sihtric's half brother whom Sihtric was allied with - did this result in Sihtric maintaining a high status after his deposement?

Why was it sailed to and sunk in Roskilde in Denmark?

Or was this Sihtric's final raid as the Annals only tell us he died in distant lands.

Is Sihtric, who surveyed his Kingdom from the vantage point on Coolagad Hillfort,  buried in Roskilde? 

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"The Sea Stallion is a reconstruction of the Skuldelev, a ship built in Dublin in 1042 and believed to have sunk in Roskilde Fjord near Copenhagen 30 years later. The wood used in the original ship was traced to trees felled in Glendalough." Wicklow People 2007

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"Skuldelev 2 - The great longship

Skuldelev 2 is a war machine, built to carry many warriors at high speed. With a crew of 65-70 men, it was a chieftain's ship, like those praised in ancient scaldic verse and sagas.

Tree-ring analysis of the timber show that the ship was built of oak in the vicinity of Dublin around 1042. Vikings settled in Ireland in AD 800 and established several fortified bases along the Irish coast. These bases developed into towns, which today is amongst the biggest in Ireland. Here Vikings lived as merchants, mercenary soldiers and shipbuilders.

The long, narrow shape of the ship and the enormous sail allowed at great speed. And the manning of 60 oars made it possible to keep the ship moving even without wind.

The Viking Ship Museum's reconstruction of Skuldelev 2, The Sea Stallion from Glendalough, is on display in the Museum Harbour"

Picture & text From Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde

Hiberno-Norse King of Dublin Sihtric Silkenbeard and the Battle of Delgany 1021/2

Take yourself back to the Battle of Delgany 1022 - Sitrygg Silkenbeard Hiberno-Norse King of Dublin (known as a horseman) riding down with his men from his stronghold at Coolagad Hillfort (at what is now Kindlestown woods), over the oak-forested lands of Bellevue Demesne to fight Uagaire King of Leinster, who rode down from his fort at Downshill - clashing either at what is now Villa U Dunecha (now Ballydonnagh and Bellevue Demesne), equi-distant between the two hillforts, where Sitrygg and his men were supposedly defeated (yet he managed to retain the Kingship of Dublin)! (Local placenames Coolagad and Windgates reflect their Viking past - gate meaning path in Old Norse referring to the Viking route running between Windgates, through Templecarrig & to Coolagad). 

"A defeat was inflicted by Úgaire son of Dúlang, king of Laigin, on Sitriuc son of Amlaíb, king of Áth Cliath, at In Deilgen Mo-Goróc" - from the Annals of Ulster U1021.1

"A victory was gained by Ugaire, son of Dunlaing, King of Leinster, over Sitric, son of Amhlaeibh, and the foreigners of Ath-cliath, at Derge-Mogorog in Ui-Briuin-Cualann, where he made a dreadful slaughter of the foreigners" from The Annals of the Four Masters - The Age of Christ 1021

King Sihtric Silkenbeard - King of Dublin

Sihtric Silkenbeard Olafsson (Sihtric, Sihtrick Sigtrygg, Sigtryg and Sigtrygrr ws the Hiberno-Norse King of Dublin 989 to 1036 (he apparently left the throne for a year. He is mentioned as being the main Norse leader of the Battle of Clontarf in 1014.

Sihtric reigned for almost 50 years. He carried out a number of raids into Meath, Wicklow, Ulster and possibly Wales. 

He was known for being a patron of the arts, a supporter of the Church and carrying out economic innovations - he started the first mint in Dublin. He founded Christ Church Cathedral.

Sihtric was son of Norse King of York Olaf Cuarán and Irish royal Gormflaith Ingen Murchada

In 1022 Sihtric fought the Battle of Delgany against Uagaire King of Leinster. In spite of the records saying "the foreigners were slaughtered at Delgany" Sihtric continued to rule (my Dad James Fortune believes that this was propaganda aimed at minimising the impact of Viking Kings on Irish History). 

Sihtric married Brian Ború's daughter by his first wife. Brian Ború became the 3rd husband of Gormflaith Sihtric's mother. 

The Icelandic Saga Gunnlaug Serpent's Tongue records Sihtric's rein in Dublin. 

990           Sihtric came to power

1000         Sihtric expelled from Dublin by Brian Ború for 1 year. He may have raided St. David's in Wales at this time. He returned      and submitted to Brian and was reinstated as King. 

1010         Brian Ború divorced Sihtric's mother Gormflaith and she plots her revenge

1012         Sihtric goes to Orkney to get the support of Sigurd and to the Isle of Man to get the support of Brothir for a revolt against Brian.

1014         Sihtric fought against his step-father Brian Ború, High King of Ireland, in the Battle of Clontarf. Brian Ború died at abattle. Despite the fact that Brian's army were successful, Sihtric continued to rule Dublin.

1014         Donnchad Mac Briain, son of Brian Ború and half brother of Sihtric, succeeded his father as King of Munster.

1018         Sihtric plunders Kells

1021/2      Battle of Delgany - Sihtric is supposedly defeated by Uagaire Mac Dúnlaige, new King of Leinster, yet still retains his throne

1027         Sihtric and his half brother Donnchad fight together against Mael Sechlainn and are apparently defeated

1028         Pilgrimage to Rome

1029         Sihtric's son taken hostage by new King of Brega Mathghamhain Ua Riagain - Sihtric forced to pay a ransom of 1200 cows, 140 horses, 60 ounces of gold and silver

1032         Sihtric victorious at Boyne estuary

1035         Sihtric plundered stone Church of Ardbraccan in Meath

1036         Sihtric forced to abdicate by Echmarcach Mac Ragnaill

1063         Sihtric's brother Donnchad went on pilgrimage to Rome and died there.

Augaire (Uagaire)  King Of Laigin/ Leinster

1021/2   Battle of Delgany. Supposedly inflicted a great defeat on Sihtric. Yet Sihtric continued to reign and later the two became allies. 

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View from Downshill Hillfort

King Donnchadh of Brega & Bray and Ballydonnagh, Delgany (Villa UDunecha)

9th February 2021

While doing some research about King Sytric and the Battle of Delgany 1022 and his involvement with horses I came across this mention of Donnchadh THE KING OF BRAY!!! Sitric Silkenbeard and Donnchadh Mac Brian were half brothers. Sitric's stronghold was most likely at Coolagad Hillfort the Viking word 'gata' meaning road is the root of the second part of the placename - and Cuala is most likely the root of the first part.  Donnchadh was son of Brian Boru - their mother was Gormflaith.

Donnchadh joined forces with Sitric after Sitric's defeat at Delgany, 1022, in 1027 to take Meath - they were unsuccessful. Sytric took a Donnchadh son of the King of Leinster hostage in 996 - was this the same Donnchadh he later teamed up with - his half brother? 

Villa UDunecha - renamed Ballydonnagh in 1172 by the Normans (and later the site of the Latouche Bellevue estate - lies equidistant between the 2 hillforts & it has been suggested by James Fortune to be one of the possible sites of the Battle of Delgany, the other the Three Trouts Stream in the Glen of the Downs Valley which some sources say was impenetrable at the time) - situated directly at the foot of Sitric's stronghold on Coolagad Hill fort (Kindlestown Hill). This makes great sense - the Uí Bhroinn Chualann are thought to have had a Royal Highway in Calary. This area from the spectacular coast line and vantage point at Bray Head round through Windgates (Viking name gata meaning road), passing the Little Sugar Loaf, Coolnaskeagh rath on Glen of the Downs golf course and Coolagad Ancient Hillfort (Viking name again gata meaning road), with spectacular strategic vistas of the sea towards Dublin, then Villa Dunecha, down Ballydonnagh lane, passing the ringfort in Kelly's field, up the Norman Path to Downshill ancient Hill fort and out to the Royal Meeting Place and The Royal Highway and other ancient sites at Calary at the foot of the glorious Sugar Loaf - all linked together in a very special area!!!

Griselda Williams just sent me a paper on Donnchadh King of Brega - could this be the same King of Bray? Could the Kingdom of Brega have extended another few kilometres past the Liffey to Bray and could Bray and Brega be the same name? Is the Kingdom of Ui Bruin Chualann connected with the Kingdom of Brega? I am so amazed by the area we live in - there is so much to discover!!!!

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19th December 2019

We should organise a re-enactment of the BATTLE OF DELGANY for its MILLENIUM in 2021/2022! Fought between Sihtric Silkenbeard King of Dublin of Royal Hiberno-Norse descent and Uagaire King of Leinster in Glen of the Downs - Coolagad and Downshill Bronze Age Hillforts must have been of huge significance at that time and the preceding time if they were the chosen battle-posts of 2 of the most important Kings of Ireland! A Millenial Celebration of the Battle of Delgany to celebrate our heritage, remember our history, grow our community, develop tourism and encourage the creation of local jobs.