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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 August 2007, 08:34 GMT 09:34 UK
Danes sorry for Viking invasion
Viking ship replica, the Sea Stallion
The vessel will go on display this month at Dublin's National Museum
The Danish government has expressed regret over the Viking invasion of Ireland more than 1,000 years ago.

The apologetic gesture came as a replica Norse warrior ship arrived in Dublin after a voyage across the North Sea.

Danish Culture Minister Brian Mikkelson said his country was proud of the ship, Havhingsten (The Sea Stallion).

"But we are not proud of the damages to the people of Ireland that followed in the footsteps of the Vikings," he said.

"But the warmth and friendliness with which you greet us today and the Viking ship show us that, luckily, it has all been forgiven."

It was fairly emotional all right, it was very hard to keep the tears back
Diarmuid Murphy
County Cork

The replica long boat - the largest in the world - is a reconstruction of the Skuldelev 2 built in Dublin in 1042 and believed to have sunk in the Roskilde Fjord 30 years later.

Archaeologists traced the wood used in the original to trees felled in Glendalough in County Wicklow, south of Dublin.

The crew of 65 sailed the replica vessel as part of an archaeological experiment.

'Go on display'

Diarmuid Murphy from Bantry in County Cork - one of only two Irish sailors on board - said he almost gave up at the outset.

"About 18 hours into it, I was just so cold and wet and I said there's no way I'll do this," he said.

Despite a diet of dried food and sleeping in the cold, cramped and wet conditions of an open boat he was glad to see the port of the Irish capital.

"It was fairly emotional all right, it was very hard to keep the tears back," he said.

Researchers will analyse the data that was gathered during the voyage from an onboard computer and film.

The vessel 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.

A project to reconstruct her was launched in Denmark in 2004 with Her Majesty Queen Margrethe christening her "Havhingsten fra Glendalough" (The Sea Stallion from Glendalough) in recognition of the original's Irish beginnings.

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