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The Isle of Man's rich Viking history explored
Viking helmet and axe
The Isle of Man has a high concentration of Viking archaeology and art

The importance of the IOM in Viking culture has been emphasised in a new book by archaeologist, David Griffiths.

Vikings of the Irish Sea looks at how the seas around Britain and Ireland became the Viking corridors for both ideas and people.

Author, Griffiths, grew up in a house with a view of the Irish Sea which triggered his childhood imagination.

He said: "Something about the Vikings got to me in a way that other people and periods didn't".

He added: "I spent a lot of my youth messing about in sailing boats and thinking about places 'just over the horizon' as indeed the Isle of Man is from the Merseyside coast".

There is a lot more we could know about the island's Viking past
David Griffiths

Griffiths maintains that the Isle of Man played an important part in Viking history due to its central position.

The Irish Sea, according to Griffiths was a backdrop to the politics, settlement and economy of the Viking Age.

"It (the IOM) has an unusually high concentration of Viking archaeology and art. The carved crosses are second to none. The Isle of Man has more runic inscriptions than anywhere else in the British Isles, indeed almost as many as the rest put together and the Manx crosses and Viking graves are justifiably world-famous".

The skilled art of stone carving at a Viking Festival reenactment in Peel

"A Viking society evolved on the island which retained its Scandinavian warrior prestige whilst integrating with the existing inhabitants and moving towards their religion - Christianity".

The Isle of Man became a kingdom in the 11th and 12th centuries, and still retains traditions linked back to its Viking past like Tynwald.

While there is much we already know about the Vikings on the island, Griffiths believes there is still much to discover.

"There is a lot more we could know about the island's Viking past. Where the settlements and harbours were, and who and what prompted the wealth marked by its numerous Viking silver hoards".

Vikings of the Irish Sea

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