Áth Cliath is the name of a Viking longphort established at least as early as 841 AD at what was to become Dublin, Ireland. The Vikings led raids from Áth Cliath, gaining silver and transporting slaves from the Irish, Angles, Britons and Picts. While the exact location has been debated, several excavations in Dublin have unearthed Viking artifacts on both the northern and southern shores of the "Black Pool" in the River Liffey from which Dublin (Duiblinn) takes its name.
- Read more about Vikings and the longphort in Ireland
Archaeological evidence for Áth Cliath has included post-holes, refuse pits, hearths and large quantities of butchered animal bones. Deposits on the banks of the river Liffey have included a large collection of ship rivets, evidence of the many ships that moored there. Archaeological evidence, in the form of scales and weights in grave goods, also suggests that Áth Cliath became an important trading and market settlement during the last half of the 9th century.
In the Annals of Ulster, Áth Cliath is mentioned in 871 as the port at which 200 ships had brought "a great prey" of slaves from England. A silver hoard discovered dat Mullaghboden contains Carolingian coins dated to ca. 847.
- Read more about silver hoards
Áth Cliath was destroyed and abandoned by the Vikings in 902 after an attack by Irish forces.
Vikings in Dublin
The town of Dublin (originally Dubh Linn, "the black pool") itself was established by the Vikings in 917 AD. After the end of the Viking Age in the middle of the 11th century, the Scandinavians in Ireland blended with the locals, creating a Hiberno-Norse culture, which remained in power and unchallenged at Dublin until the arrival of the Anglo-Normans in 1169 AD.
Norse archaeological remains have been identified in Fishamble Street, where excellent preservation of dwellings led to a dendrochronological date between 920 and 1020 AD. Nineteen cattle were identified within the deposit. The cattle were analyzed and found to be mature animals of local (Irish) origin, suggesting to researchers that the animals were lost while being driven to market.
Sheehan, John 2008 The Longphort in Viking Age Ireland. Acta Archaeologica 79:282-295.