Viking illustration
Illustration by Anne O'Connor, reproduced with kind permission from Ralph O'Connor ed. and trans. Icelandic Histories & Romances (Stroud: Tempus Publishing, 2002) p. 118

This is a database of Irish annal-entries referring to vikings. It covers the years up to 902. The aim has been to make ninth-century records of viking-activity in Ireland available to a wider audience. I have checked the collection of entries (gathered during the early stages of my doctoral research) with the list of translated entries copied from printed editions by Mary Valante, as an appendix to her doctoral dissertation, ‘Urbanization and Economy in Viking-Age Ireland’ (Pennsylvania State University, 1998), pp. 227-63. This dissertation can be ordered at the following address:

The chronicles used in this database are as follows: ‘The Annals of Boyle’, ‘The Annals of Clonmacnoise’, ‘The Annals of Inisfallen’, ‘The Annals from the Book of Leinster’, ‘The Annals of Roscrea’, ‘The Annals of the Four Masters’, ‘The Annals of Ulster’, and Chronicum Scotorum.

Records from Cogadh Gaedhel re Gallaibh and ‘The Fragmentary Annals of Ireland’ have not been included. These texts are essential for the study of the history of vikings in Ireland, but they contain a lot of material which is not annalistic in origin. As such, they deserve separate analysis. I have listed editions of these texts in the bibliography.

I have copied relevant text from published editions without deliberate alteration. The CELT database (based at University College Cork) has been particularly useful: Where published editions of chronicles mark additions to annal-entries, this is shown by use of smaller type. The numbering of annal-entries follows that of published editions, or the CELT database. Within each year, entries recording the same event are listed together in alphabetical order. Each entry is accompanied by my own translation and I have provided a separate glossary.

Place-names and names of population-groups are given as in Hogan's Onomasticon Goedelicum. Hogan's work lacks consistency in its spelling conventions (for example, fluctuating between Old, Middle and Modern Irish forms). However I have adopted Hogan's spellings to facilitate reference (in particular for non-specialists) to his Onomasticon Goedelicum which is available online at This is currently the most useful single source for identifying places and peoples named in Irish chronicles. This will be superseded eventually by the work of the LOCUS place-name project (also based at University College Cork). I have given personal names according to the orthography used in the index of O'Brien's Corpus Genealogiarum Hiberniae, where a number of individuals mentioned in the chronicles can be identified.

I am greatly indebted to Andrew McCarthy (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies) for preparing the web pages, Sheila Boll (University of Aberdeen), Nick Evans (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies), Máire Ní Mhaonaigh (St John's College, Cambridge), Ralph O'Connor (St John's College, Cambridge), Pádraig Ó Macháin (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies), Brigitte Schaffer (Girton College, Cambridge) and Harriet Thomsett (University College, Cork) for checking sample sections of the database and providing many valuable comments. I am particularly grateful to Máire Ní Mhaonaigh for her encouragement. I also wish to thank The Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies and The Kathleen Hughes Memorial Fund for funding different stages of my research. Needless to say all remaining errors are my own.

Clare Downham

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