The Vikings

From about 790 A.D. until the Norman Conquest in 1066 A.D., the Vikings sailed the world.   They were warriors, raiders, traders, merchants and discoverers.  They discovered America long before that Columbus fellow.  And they sailed their longships (oars and sails, shallow draft and symmetrical bow and stern to permit instant reversal of course) wherever the wind would carry them.   

The Vikings came from Scandinavian countries –Denmark, Sweden and Norway.   French Normans were descended from Danish and Norwegian Vikings who were made feudal overlords in Northern France.  The Vikings who raided – and remained behind in Ireland (often because they had met a young women) – were given the name “Doyle” which is from the Celtic Ó Dubhghaill, which means “son of the dark (or evil) foreigner.”    

As Christianity spread through Scandinavia, the Viking raids diminished and by the end of the 11th Century, the great Viking Age came to an end – not with a bang but a whimper.  

My father’s great grandparents were from Lyngby (just north of Copenhagen), Denmark.  They were caretakers of the local cemetery.  As they would dig graves, they uncovered various artifacts from the Viking Age.  And long before.  I have at home two beautiful stone axe heads they found — displayed on a shelf.  Great paperweights but still sharp . . . . and ready to use. . . .        

The Doyle Family

In my post of December 16, 2011, I spoke of the Viking era (790 A.D. – 1066 A.D.).  And I mentioned that the Vikings who raided – and remained behind in Ireland (often because they had met young women) – were given the name “Doyle” which is from the Celtic Ó Dubhghaill, which means “son of the dark (or evil) foreigner.”  This is the name that indigenous Celts called Danish Vikings who started settling in Ireland and Scotland beginning in the 9th Century. 

Researchers in Ireland have distinguished two separate groups among the Viking raiders in Ireland.  The Lochlainn were the Norwegians who were described as “fair.”  The Danair were Danes who were described as “dark” because they wore chain-mail armor.  Beginning in 830 A.D., the Norwegians began sporadic raiding of the British Isles.  In 852 A.D., the Danish Vikings took control of Dublin and founded the Danish Kingdom of Dublin which continued for 300 years until the coming of the Anglo-Normans.  As might be expected over the course of occupation, the Vikings were absorbed into the social, religious and political life of Ireland.  They adopted the language and customs.  And they intermarried.  And it was those Danish Vikings who remained behind when their brethren left who were given the name “Ó Dubhghaill” or Dubh-Ghaill.”   The names McDowall, McDowell, McDuggal, Dowell, and McDougal all have a relationship to the Dubh-Ghaill – Doyle – family. 

When I referenced “Popeye” Doyle in my post about picking your toes in Poughkeepsie, little did you know that he was descended from Danish Vikings. 🙂

The Vikings

From about 790 A.D. until the Norman Conquest in 1066 A.D., the Vikings sailed the world.   They were warriors, raiders, traders, merchants and discoverers.  They discovered America long before that Columbus fellow and they sailed their longships wherever the wind would carry them.   

The Vikings came from the Scandinavian countries –Denmark, Sweden and Norway.   French Normans were descended from Danish and Norwegian Vikings who were made feudal overlords in Northern France.  The Vikings who raided – and remained behind in Ireland (often because they had met a young women) – were given the name “Doyle” which is from the Celtic Ó Dubhghaill, which means “son of the dark (or evil) foreigner.”    

As Christianity spread through Scandinavia, the Viking raids diminished and by the end of the 11th Century, the great Viking Age came to an end – not with a bang but a whimper.  

My father’s great grandparents were from Lyngby (just north of Copenhagen), Denmark.  They were caretakers of the local cemetery.  As they would dig graves, they uncovered various artifacts from the Viking Age.  I have at home two beautiful stone axe heads they found — displayed on a shelf.  Great paperweights but still sharp . . . . and ready to use. . . .