New TV documentary to explore Vikings in Ireland

A new two-part documentary, Fire and Blood: The Vikings in Ireland reveals how a Viking king named Ivarr founded a dynasty that changed the course of Irish history. Over a thousand years ago, the Vikings swept like a storm through Ireland and the world.

The Vikings plundered, killed and enslaved many, but they also changed Ireland forever and they still beguile and fascinate us.

Now, this two-part docudrama series investigates how new discoveries challenge what we thought we knew about them.

At Dublin, Waterford and other ports, Ivarr and his descendants gathered thousands of slaves, shipping them to the far reaches of the known world. In 2020, in the centre of Dublin, archaeologists discovered the harbour where they docked as many as 200 ships. But the Vikings also laid the foundations of modern Ireland, and their genetic signature remains with us even today.

They also crossed the Irish Sea to invade the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, threatening to crush the fledgling nation of England. And now, new evidence suggests they even saved Ireland during a mysterious crisis.

The first episode on RTE One on Sunday, August 7, at 6.30pm uses new discoveries in science and archaeology to explores the origins of the Vikings and how they changed Ireland forever.

In 2020, archaeologists digging at Ship Street, Dublin uncovered ship’s timber and the remains of a 1100-old port. It was once part of a massive harbour where Dublin’s Vikings docked some 200 ships. At the Oslo Ship Museum in Norway we discover who the Vikings were and why they left Scandinavia to plunder far-off lands. New scientific research suggests they were driven by a powerful and unstoppable force: climate change. We learn about Viking sailing technology that enabled long distance voyages, and at the Oseberg Viking Heritage Foundation in Norway we watch modern shipbuilders construct a longship using only the tools and materials that were available to the Vikings.

The Vikings in Ireland is narrated by leading Irish actor Moe Dunford. The series was filmed at a range of stunning locations in Ireland, Britain, Norway and Iceland. It also features powerful drama re-enactments, including stunning footage of a Viking longship under sail, and vivid and gritty battle scenes illustrating decisive Viking conflicts.

The drama scenes feature Bart Gozdur (Vikings) as Ivarr and Jack Gassmann (The Northman) as Sitric Cáech. These sequences combine with striking VFX reconstructions to open a window in time, unveiling the harsh realities of the Viking Age.

The series is written and directed by David Ryan and produced by award winning filmmaker, Stephen Rooke on behalf of Tile Films. Contributors include Pat Wallace (ex-director of the National Museum), Clare Downham (University of Liverpool), Barra O’Donnabhain (University College Cork), Lara Cassidy (Trinity College Dublin), Rowan McLaughlin (Queen’s University Belfast), Einar Erlingsen (Oseberg Viking Heritage Foundation, Norway) and Hanne Lovise Aannestad (University of Oslo).

The Vikings in Ireland is produced by Tile Films Limited for RTÉ with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s Sound and Vision funding scheme and Section 481. International distribution is by Off the Fence.