Danish apologise for Viking invasion

The Danish government did its bit for the peace process this week when it expressed regret over the Viking invasion of Ireland more than 1,000 years ago.

The apparently genuine apology came as thousands gathered to watch a replica Norse warrior ship pull into Dublin’s Docklands after an epic voyage across the North Sea.

In the surprise diplomatic gesture, Danish culture minister Brian Mikkelson was moved to extend an olive branch over Denmark’s past of pillage and plunder.

“In Denmark we are certainly proud of this ship but we are not proud of the damages to the people of Ireland that followed in the footsteps of the Vikings,” Mr Mikkelson 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.”

The replica Viking longship set sail from the Danish port of Roskilde on July 1 to recreate the journey of the Viking pirates to Dublin in a voyage described as a living archaeological experiment.

The event also saw a protest by demonstrators opposed to the M3 motorway planned to pass through the archaeologically-rich Tara valley in County Meath.

Later, the captain and crew of the boat, the Sea Stallion of Glendalough, joined Minister for the Environment John Gormley, Minister of State for Finance Noel Ahern, Danish minister for culture Brian Mikkelsen and a host of other dignitaries and visitors to plant a copse of 21 oaks beside the round tower.

The new trees symbolically replace those used by their Viking predecessors to build the new ship’s predecessor, the Skuldelev 2, in 1042.

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