‘Tonight I fear not the Vikings’…

An Early Irish Poem


(art by David Seguin)


The poem along the top margin of an 9th century Irish manuscript (source)

‘Is acher ingáith innocht .

fufuasna faircggae findḟolt

ni ágor réimm mora minn 

dondláechraid lainn oua lothlind’

(The original Irish text of the poem.)

‘Bitter is the wind tonight

It tosses the ocean’s white hair

Tonight I fear not the fierce warriors of Norway 

Coursing on the Irish sea‘

(A translation by Kuno Meyer)

This anonymous poem underscores the dread people of those times felt about Viking raids.  Monastic communities were the first places the Northmen would raid.  The unarmed monks offered no protection for the gold and riches that were collected there.  A stormy night on the sea would, for the time, ensure a safe nights rest.

This poem is written in the margins of an Early Irish manuscript that now resides in the monastery of St. Gall in Switzerland. Most likely dating from around 850 AD, the text may have been complied in a northern Irish monastery such as Nendrum or Bangor (both in Co. Down).

Source : Irish Archaeology


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