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Last Updated: Monday, 6 September, 2004, 11:33 GMT 12:33 UK
Irish homecoming for Viking boat
The boat is a replica of one built in Ireland 1,000 years ago

A Viking long boat with an Irish heritage took to the high seas of Denmark at the weekend.

The life-size boat is a replica of one which was built in Ireland 1,000 years ago.

Following ancient Norse tradition, Denmark's Queen Margrethe II poured water from a nearby creek on the stern of the 30-metre longship - billed as the world's most ambitious Viking ship reconstruction.

"Your name shall be Havhingsten (Stallion of the Sea) from Glendalough," she said during the ceremony at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde on Saturday.

The queen then sailed into Denmark's Roskilde Fjord with the Irish minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, John O'Donoghue, as a crowd of 10,000 looked on.

About 60 men and women propelled the boat into the waters - their minds were not on marauding, but rather on training for two years, before they set out across the North Sea and return to the ship's birthplace in Ireland in 2007.

The construction of the Viking warship, made according to traditional methods.

The original warship, which was excavated in the Roskilde fjord, was built in 1042 in Glendalough, south of Dublin.

It has become a cornerstone for archaeological analysis of the Viking age.

"In many ways the vessel's arrival in Dublin in 2007 will be a homecoming," Mr O'Donoghue said.

The original is one of five 11th century Viking ships housed at Denmark's Viking Ship museum, which opened in 1969.

Archeologists excavated the ships from a drained part of the Roskilde Fjord, and started constructing real-size replicas in 2000.

Craftsmen built the ship using hammers, chisels, knifes, spoon bits and axes resembling Viking tools.

The five ships were sunk in the fjord around 1060.

Around the year 1000, Roskilde was the headquarters of two Viking kings.

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