Episode 2: The Dynasty of Ivarr

Filmed on location in: Norway and Ireland

Picking up where Episode One left off, Episode Two charts the ongoing fortunes of the dynasty of Ivarr. 

After being driven out of Dublin, Ivarr’s grandsons spent fifteen years in exile before returning to Ireland in 917. They recaptured Dublin and laid out the urban area that grew into the city we know today. Almost uniquely in Europe, the Viking city of Dublin was excavated in the 1970s, and we know more about it than any other Viking town outside of Scandinavia. Dr Pat Wallace, who led the excavations, and other experts reveal how the Vikings had a huge amount of wealth and material possessions, thanks to trade that stretched as far as the Middle East.Slaves were one of the mainstays of the Viking economy and many captives ended their days far from their homeland. Recent DNA research shows that a large proportion of Iceland’s original colonists were Irish females, taken there by the Vikings as slaves and concubines.

In many ways, the Vikings laid the foundations of modern society. In 937, the king of Dublin invaded England and fought a battle that decided the fate of Britain and Ireland for centuries to come. Even more strikingly, new scientific research at Queen’s University Belfast suggests that in early medieval times, a mysterious crisis sent Ireland’s population into terminal decline. The influx of Viking settlers may just have saved this society… and their contribution remains written into the genes of Irish people today.

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