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extensive town for themselves on the river Liffey, near the old city of Dublin, which was strongly fortified with ditches and walls, and which, after the Norwegians and Danes (or Ostmen) settled there, obtained the name of Ostmantown in Latin, “ vicus,” or “ villa Ostmannorum "), i. e. the Eastmen's town. Even the Irish chronicles, which attest that, as early as the beginning of the tenth century, the Norwegians in Dublin had well intrenched themselves with walls and ramparts, also state that in the art of fortifying towns they were far superior to the Irish. Ostmantown continued through the whole of the middle ages to form an entirely separate part of Dublin, and the gates of the strong fortifications with which it was surrounded were carefully closed every evening. The walls were at length razed, and Ostmantown, or, as it was now corruptly pronounced, “Oxmantown” (whence an Irish peer has obtained in modern times the title of Lord Oxmantown), was completely incorporated with Dublin. But to the present day the name of Oxmantown remains an incontrovertible monument of an independent Norwegian town formerly existing within the greatest and most considerable city of Ireland.
Norwegian Names of Places, near Dublin.--Norwegian Burial Places.
Norwegian Weapons and Ornaments.
THE few Scandinavian names of places in Ireland are, with the exception of the previously-mentioned provinces, confined to the coasts, and there particularly to the names of islands and fiords. On the west coast there are only two rather doubtful ones ; namely, Enniskerry, an island (the first part of which is the Irish Inis, an island, whilst the latter part seems to include the Scandinavian name “ Sker,” or Skjær, a reef); and the harbour, Smerwick. Several places on rivers are still called Laxweir, as for example on the Shannon near Limerick and Killaloe, where salmon are caught in a net stretched across the river. The word “ Lax" (salmon) is unknown in the Irish language, but appears, as we have seen, in several Scandinavian names of places in Scotland. On the south coast, besides Waterford, we can mention at most only the Isle of Dursey (Porsey?) with the small adjoining island of Calf. The greatest number of Scandinavian names appears on the east coast. In some names of places situated on the finest fiords we may trace the Scandinavian ending “ fjörðr;” as, for instance, to the south of Dublin in Wexford (in Irish, Loch Garman), and to the north of Dublin, in Strangford and Carlingford (in Irish, Cuan Cairlinne). But in general, all the names of places of Scandinavian origin, or with Scandinavian terminatio, are collected round Dublin as the central point.
At the southern entrance of the bay of Dublin is the whand of “ Dalkey” (in Irish, “ Delg Inis "), and at the northern entrance the high and rounded cape Howth (in Irish - Ceann Fuaid,” or “ Beann Edair), which in ancient letters is also called Hofda, Houete, and Houeth. This is clearly the Scandinavian “ höfud,” or “Hoved” (head), a name particularly suited to the place. In the immediate neighbourhood is also the old Danish town Baldoyle, and the district of Finngall, colonized by the Norwegians. Directly north of Howth rises “ Ireland'seye” (in Irish, “ Inis Eirinn” and “ Inis Meic Ness-áin "); and still farther to the north the islands of “ Lambay” (in Irish, “Rachrainn ") and “Skerries,” or the Skjære (reefs). Close to the west side of Dublin is the little town of Leixlip, where there is a famed salmon-leap in the river Liffey. In old Latin epistles the name of Laxleip is translated by “saltus salmonis,” which is plainly neither more nor less than the old Norsk “lax-hlaup” (Dan., Laxlöb; Eng., salmon-leap): which name reminds us again of the salmon fishery, so highly cherished by the ancient
Norwegians. It is doubtful whether the county of Wicklow, which adjoins that of Dublin, derived its name from the Norwegians; though it is not improbable that it did, as in Irish it is called Inbhear Dea, but in old documents Wykynglo, Wygyngelo, and Wykinlo, which remind us of the Scandinavian Vig (Eng., bay) or Viking.
At all events the decidedly Scandinavian names of places around Dublin sufficiently indicate the predominance of the ancient Norwegians and Danes in that city. Discoveries made by excavations in and around Dublin have also, in recent times, very remarkably contributed towards placing this matter in a still clearer light.
In constructing a railway close by Kilmainham, now the most western part of Dublin, the workmen some years ago laid bare a number of ancient tombs. In these lay whole rows of skeletons, each in its own grave, and by the side of them many kinds of iron weapons and ornaments. Fortunately several of the specimens thus discovered were preserved, principally for the museum of the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin; by which means Irish archæologists had an opportunity of convincing themselves that these antiquities must be a good deal older than the English conquest of Ireland ; yet that they are by no means of the kind usually found in Ireland, and belonging to the period of the Irish iron age. It is thus placed beyond all doubt, that they are not Irish remains, but derived from the Norwegian and Danes at that time settled in Ireland. The few illustrations here annexed will present to every Scandinavian archæologist mere well-known objects, corresponding so exactly with the antiquities of the iron age preserved in our Scandinavian museums, that we might even believe them to have been made by the same hands.
The swords (Figs. 1-3), which very much resemble the Scandinavian swords found in England (described at p. 45,) are from twenty-four to thirty.two inches long. Some have two edges, others only one. The pommel and guard of the hilt are in several of them ornamented with very neatly
inlaid pieces of gold, silver, and other metals. On one of them some engraved Latin letters have been found,