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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 August 2007, 08:45 GMT 09:45 UK
Viking ship ends voyage in Dublin
Sea stallion, BBC
The arrival marks the end of a six-week sea journey
A replica Viking ship has pulled into Dublin nearly 1,000 years after the original sank off Denmark's coast.

The arrival of the Sea Stallion in Dublin's harbour on Tuesday capped a 1,700km (1,000 mile) journey across the waters of northern Europe.

The 65 crew were overjoyed after the six-week voyage, during which they faced unfavourable sailing conditions.

The endeavour took the crew from Scandinavia, around Scotland and into the Irish Sea.

The passage was being undertaken as part of a "living archaeology" project that aims to understand better the seamanship of early Norsemen.

"You have come here on a voyage of discovery," said Dublin's Lord Mayor Paddy Bourke as the vessel and its volunteer crew of men and women docked.

Crafted from the wood of 300 oak trees, the 30m (100ft) long, 4m-wide Sea Stallion is the world's largest reconstructed Viking vessel, its builders say.

The original ship was built in Dublin in 1042 but sank 30 years later in Roskilde fjord, around 30 miles (50 km) south of Copenhagen, and lay there until excavation began in 1962.

The Sea Stallion was completed in 2004 after work started in 2000.

The ship's Danish skipper, Carsten Hvid, said the toughest moment was coming into the Irish Sea, when high winds and 5m waves battered the boat.

"We put on our survival suits and prepared the life rafts," Hvid told reporters after arriving in Dublin. But he added that no one was washed overboard.

Much of the voyage was spent braving the elements on an open deck, with just a square metre of living space for each crew member.

The vessel had to accept a tow for a small part of the trip, when it struggled to make headway on a calm sea.

Researchers plan to analyse film and computer data gathered during the voyage. The vessel itself will go on display this month at Dublin's National Museum until next year, when a crew captained by Carsten Hvid will make the return voyage home.

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