Viking Dublin: The Wood Quay Excavations


Patrick Wallace

November 2015

Written by Wood Quay’s Chief Archaeologist and the former Director of the National Museum of Ireland, this book is an in-depth analysis of the most famous Viking excavation in Ireland. Lavishly designed with over 500 colour images, maps, and drawings, Viking Dublin is a pioneering study of the most significant archaeological dig of a Viking site in Irish and European history.


ISBN: 9780716533146 Categories: ,


The Wood Quay – Fishamble Street archaeological excavations were a constant media story throughout the 1970s and ‘80s when the threat of official destruction brought thousands of protestors onto the streets of Dublin. Although this highly-publicised protest failed to “Save Wood Quay”, it did force the most extensive urban excavations ever undertaken in Europe that yielded more unprecedented data about town layout in Dublin 1000 years ago than about any other European Viking town of the time. Dozens of often near intact building foundations, fences, yards, pathways, and quaysides, as well as thousands of artefacts and environmental samples were unearthed in the course of the campaign. Pat Wallace, the chief archaeologist who directed the Wood Quay and Fishamble Street excavations, provides a detailed examination of the implications of these discoveries for Viking-Age and Anglo-Norman Dublin by placing them in their national and international contexts.

Lavishly illustrated with over 500 colour images, maps, and drawings, and together with detailed descriptions and analyses of the artefacts, this pioneering study draws together all the finds and discusses them in the context of parallel discoveries in Ireland, Britain, Scandinavia and northern Europe with the historical, economic and cultural milieu of Hiberno-Scandinavian Dublin in background focus.

Table of Contents

  1. Origins, evidence and sites
  2. Town layout – yards, neighbourhoods, successions, maps and reconstruction
  3. Buildings
  4. A wonder of Ireland – the Viking and Hiberno-Scandinavian port, defences, town wall, weapons of war and urban regulation
  5. The Hiberno-Norman port – revetments, engineering and ships
  6. Environment, hinterland an people
  7. Wood, leather and textiles
  8. Dress and personal ornament and related crafts
  9. Ferrous and non-ferrous metal
  10.  ‘The wealth of barbarians’ – silver, coins, weights, commerce and commodities
  11.  The archaeology of art, leisure, literacy and religion
  12.  Archaeology, history and relative ethnicity
  13.  The archaeology of early medieval Dublin – context and significance

About the Author

Dr Patrick Wallace studied Archaeology and History at University College, Galway. He was appointed Archaeologist in the National Museum of Ireland in 1971 and was given full responsibility for the Wood Quay – Fishamble Street excavations at the age of 25 in 1974. After the excavations ended in he was appointed Director of the National Museum of Ireland in 1988.  Pat Wallace was at the same time in the Consultative Board of the Excavations of Birka (Sweden) and Kaupang (Norway). He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (of London), a member of the Royal Irish Academy and was made a Knight of the Dannebrog by H.M. the Queen of Denmark.