Portaferry and Strangford Trust (PAST) have curated this fascinating display on the Vikings on Strangford Lough which you can view in Ards Visitor Information Centre during April.
In the Early medieval period Ireland consisted of a number of kingdoms and conflict between them was common. Strangford Lough fell within the territory of the kingdom of the Dál Fiatach which was the major power in the over-kingdom of Ulaid that included most of present-day counties Down and Antrim. The Dál Fiatach had its HQ in what is now Downpatrick and was a major maritime power controlling nearly all of the County Down coast, including Strangford Lough. The Vikings posed a major threat to them.
The fear of Viking attacks, particularly if the sea was not stormy, is shown in this poem written by an Irish monk in 820AD:
Fierce and wild is the wind tonight
It tosses the tresses of the sea to white
On such a night as this I take my ease
Fierce Northmen course only the quiet seas.
PAST open the Ropewalk Maritime Heritage Centre in Portaferry during the summer months where visitors are welcome to view the wide range of maritime artefacts on display in their free exhibition. The Portaferry and Strangford Trust (PAST) is a registered charity, based in Portaferry, that aims to promote an awareness of the rich maritime heritage and natural environment of Strangford Lough and the sea in general, as well as an understanding of how it has shaped our lives and will continue to do so.
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