Viking with an Axe
Viking with an Axe

Viking Story Part of Discover Ireland Promo

Discover Ireland has used the popular video game known as Assassin's Creed Valhalla® that allows players to participate in a Viking story as Norsemen warriors and has turned it into a tourism promotion using gameplay footage from its makers, Ubisoft.

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There are several locations that Discover Ireland has used in its promotion of Ireland that focus not just on Viking Ireland but on other popular tourist attractions that speak to the country's ancient past.

They include Benbulben in Co. Sligo, the Hill of Tara in Co. Meath, and the Giant's Causeway in Co. Antrim.

Of particular interest to video game fans who may also be lovers of Ireland's Viking history is an expansion called “Wrath of the Druids” that is available to players who invest in a special season pass.

The expansion is among two that Ubisoft has launched, including “Siege of Paris,” which is due out this summer.

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The Assassin's Creed Valhalla® game launched worldwide on Nov. 10 for the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.

It will also be available on the following platforms: Playstation5, Xbox One, PS4, PC (via Ubisoft or Epic Games stores), UPLAY+, and Stadia.

When players get into the “Wrath of the Druids” simulation they’ll be able to immerse themselves in an adventure that will allow them to “journey to Ireland and unravel the mysteries of an ancient and mysterious druidic cult, tracking and discovering their members.

Diving into Gaelic myths and folklores, they’ll need to fight their way through haunted forests and dazzling landscapes while gaining influence among Gaelic kings.”

The Story of the Norsemen in Ireland

The Vikings made their menacing presence known in Ireland around 795 AD., which was essentially the beginning of the Viking story in Ireland.

At the time, the Norsemen had already plundered and pillaged their way from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to England.

round tower artifacts from Glendalough Monastery
Glendalough monastic site in Co. Wicklow was raided by the Vikings in the 9th century. Photo: Macmillan Media.

When they set their sights on Ireland, they landed on the east coast, targeting monasteries that were known to house gold and silver.

For over 40 years, they attacked various sites across Ireland, but it wasn’t until about 841 A.D. when they established a more permanent home in Dublin, now Ireland’s capital city.

The Vikings' Impact on Dublin

At least two Viking settlements have been uncovered in the city over the years, including Wood Quay and a site near Christ Church Cathedral, the city’s oldest cathedral, and its original Viking church.

In 2020, archaeologists discovered the remains of a Viking child, further validating the immense Viking presence in the city.

Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin. Photo: Rob Durston for Failte Ireland.

Viking artifacts like coins, pottery, leatherwork, and swords have been discovered in the city. Many are part of an exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland and at Dublinia, a popular Viking-themed tourist attraction.

Other Irish cities with deep Viking roots and with a strong Viking story include Waterford and Cork, among others.

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