“Descendants of the Dragon” is how you could translate the old Irish name “Síol na Dragún”, one of many names used to describe the fierce Norse men who came to Ireland in the years after 795 – first as raiders, later as settlers.
It is said the Vikings stayed for 300 years in Ireland and then vanished. But did they really? The popular ancestral DNA tests show many Irish people have a strong connection to Scandinavian ancestors. Many Irish villages and town names were given by their Norse founders – Waterford, Dublin, Limerick, Cork and Wexford were trading posts of the Vikings. Common Irish family names are evidence of the Norse settlers who stayed and became part of the population creating the so called Gael Norse, Hiberno-Norse or “Austmen” – people of both Norse and Irish descent.
Higgins, O’Rourke, Cosgrave, Hewson, Grimes, McLaughlin, Halpin, Swan, Jennings, Doyle and many other common Irish surnames show a link to Scandinavian roots.
Brian Boru, the last high king of Ireland defeated the Vikings in 1014 but if you dig deeper, you will find that Norse and Irish were fighting on Brian Borus side as well as that of Sitric Silkenbeard. It was more a matter of whom they had sworn allegiance to or simply who paid them most.
“Síol na Dragún” is also the theme of this year’s Boyne Valley Viking Experience on the 18th and 19th of May in the grounds of Slane castle – aimed at creating a glimpse into the history and life of Ireland 1000 years ago. This year’s festival logo is a Dragon Boat designed by artist of renown Sean Fitzgerald.
Descendants of the Dragon was intended to reflect fear and respect at the same time.
In the coming weeks we will delve deeper into parts of our Viking history and post interesting facts in this blog. Please subscribe and become part of our “Dragon” tribe.