Belfast Telegraph

Norsemen helped to turn around an Ireland in decline

Editor's Viewpoint

The Vikings have often been portrayed as interested only in rape and pillage in their forays into Ireland, but it seems that whatever they got up to, it helped stabilise the population of the island. For before the Norsemen's arrival in the 10th century, the population had been in a slow but steady decline.

The result of the Vikings' arrival is that many Irish people have genetic links to those conquering hordes. Today we are seeing another invasion from the sea, but it is doubtful that the many people disembarking from the cruise liners docking at our ports will have the same long-term effect on the population as those famed seafarers from over 1,000 years ago.

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