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Crew of the Sea Stallion from Glendalough Visit Odin's Raven at the House of Manannan 9 August 2007

Sea Stallion2The Viking ship the ‘Sea Stallion from Glendalough’, the biggest Viking ship ever reconstructed, has arrived in Peel as part of a 1,000 mile voyage from Denmark to Ireland, retracing a journey made by the crew's Norse ancestors.

On arrival in Peel, the volunteer crew of the ‘Sea Stallion’ were treated to a visit to the House of Manannan, where they were greeted by members of the crew of the ‘Odin’s Raven’, the replica longship which undertook a similar journey sailing from Norway to Peel.

Phil Hollis, Manx National Heritage Site Manager at the House of Manannan said:

“It is an absolute pleasure to welcome the crew of the ‘Sea Stallion’ to the House of Manannan to see ‘Odin’s Raven’ and also to welcome Mr Bigland and members of the original ‘Odin’s Raven’ crew from 1979”. Odins Raven at HOM

The ‘Sea Stallion from Glendalough’ is a reconstruction of a 30 metre long warship found in Roskilde Fjord in Denmark at Skuldelev in 1957. In 1962 archaeologists excavated no fewer than five Viking Age ships at the site. The largest of these, codenamed Skuldelev 2 by the excavators, proved to be an ocean-going longship built in Dublin in 1042 using traditional Scandinavian ship-building methods.

A project to reconstruct this ship was officially launched in Denmark in 2004 and Her Majesty Queen Margrethe christened her "Havhingsten fra Glendalough" (The Sea Stallion from Glendalough) in recognition of the Irish beginnings of the original.

Sea StallionOn 1st July 2007, a crew of 65 brave men and women set sail on the journey from Roskilde back to Dublin and the trial voyage has already tested crew and ship under realistic conditions in the very waters the original ship was built to navigate.

The ship took approximately four years to build and cost some ten million Danish kroner. Three hundred oak trees were required, in addition to seven thousand iron nails, a sail of 112 square metres, and two thousand metres of rope.

The crew of the ‘Sea Stallion’ set sail from Denmark on 1st July 2007 on a seven week journey to Dublin, with the aim of gaining a better understanding of the seamanship of early Norsemen.

MNH field archaeologist Andrew Johnson commented:

“This ship embodies some of the wonder that is archaeology. Nearly fifty years ago, under the most difficult of conditions, archaeologists painstakingly excavated fragments of not one, but five ships which had been built nearly a thousand years earlier. Nothing like it had ever been done before.

Since then, they’ve had to find new ways to preserve waterlogged timbers, and have spent what probably amounts to millions of man-hours researching these remains in the finest detail. That in itself is a huge achievement, but it doesn’t answer every question, nor does it answer the two most significant ones: what was she like to build, and even more important, to sail? The journey to Dublin, and back to Denmark next year, is not only an adventure, it’s also a great experiment, and a fitting culmination to all that research”.

The ‘Sea Stallion’ will soon set sail for Dublin, where the journey is being celebrated in an exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.

The ship will return to Denmark next year following a route from Dublin round Land’s End and up the English Channel.

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