What is Ireland's oldest city? Viking swords and foundations of buildings discovered in Cork city could change that answer.
Cork City Council executive archaeologist Joanne Hughes and her team have uncovered an urban center that predates the Viking settlements in neighboring County Waterford.
A riverside site due to be developed into an events center and student accommodation unit was recently excavated and revealed Cork’s significance in the Hiberno-Norse world.
The site, the former location of the Beamish & Crawford Brewery on South Main Street, masked the stone foundations of St Lawrence’s Church, dating back to 1120-1150 AD.
Evidence of a house dating back to 1070 was also found. Hughes stated that dendrochronological (tree-ring dating) samples proved that the findings are the earliest evidence of urban existence in Ireland.
The earliest Viking settlements in nearby Waterford are at least 15 years older than the new findings.
Look, Cork might have ruins that are fifteen years older than Waterford’s but where did Strongbow and Aoife get married? That’s right, Waterford: Ireland’s *Best* Viking City— Big Jumper Boy (@alan_maguire) January 10, 2018
According to the Irish Times, the walls have been preserved at the site, and development of the brewery must be reconsidered and changed. It has been suggested that the new development incorporate some of the findings into its new design.
The report by Hughes confirms, “walls which are considered to be of archaeological significance in the South Main Street area have been preserved in situ.”
Planned public lectures, starting on February 7th, will detail the full find.
The Cork Public Museum already houses multiple artifacts of Viking significance. The Norwegian Ambassador to Ireland, Else Berit-Eikeland, visited in September to view the swords, thread winders, and pommels. It is hoped that artifacts found during this most recent excavation will also eventually be housed in the museum.