|Newly discovered Viking pennies, representing Ireland’s first indigenous coinage; minted in Dublin under the authority of Sitric Silkbeard, the Hiberno-Norse king of the city. © National Museum Wales|
Sitric was a remarkable figure in Dublin’s early history. In circa 995 AD he founded Ireland’s first coin mint in the city, while in 1014 AD his troops fought Brian Bóruma at the Battle Clontarf, an encounter which Sitric survived. Later in his reign he commissioned Christchurch Cathedral, today Dublin’s oldest surviving building, while he also founded the city’s first Bishopric, a move which saw Viking Dublin finally abandon its pagan roots. [My emphasis.]I dismiss the textual tradition for early Christianity in Ireland as either mythological, or a redacted history for Chrestianity. Archaeological study in Eire is, I think, better, more free of religious/state superstition than the UK; in recent years I have been pleasantly surprised to discover how much better they are and thus we are likely to get a better history of religion in these islands from Irish archaeologists than British.
Sigtrygg's long reign spanned 46 years, until his abdication in 1036.[Hudson, p 83] During that period, his armies saw action in four of the five Irish provinces of the time. In particular, he conducted a long series of raids into territories such as Meath, Wicklow, Ulster, and perhaps even the coast of Wales. He also came into conflict with rival Norse kings, especially in Cork and Waterford.Right: Coin of "Sihtric" 989 1036 ruler of Dublin. Photographed at the British Museum by PHGCOM [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
He went on pilgrimage to Rome in 1028 and is associated with the foundation of Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin. Although Dublin underwent several reversals of fortune during his reign, on the whole trade in the city flourished. He died in 1042.[Hudson, p 83]Dublin is known as a Viking city originally, but the area was settled much earlier and is regarded as Christian:
Although the area of Dublin Bay has been inhabited by humans since prehistoric times, the writings of Ptolemy (the Greco-Roman astronomer and cartographer) in about 140 AD provide possibly the earliest reference to a settlement there. He called the settlement Eblana polis (Greek: Ἔβλανα πόλις).[Holder, Alfred (1896). Alt-celtischer sprachschatz (in German). Leipzig: B. G. Teubner. col.1393.]Irish tradition asks us to believe this srea was Christian, then pagan, then Christian. More rationally, I think it was Chrestian, then under Sitric, Christian.
It is now thought that the Viking settlement was preceded by a Christian ecclesiastical settlement known as Duibhlinn, from which Dyflin took its name. Beginning in the 9th and 10th century, there were two settlements where the modern city stands. The Viking settlement of about 841 was known as Dyflin, from the Irish Duibhlinn, and a Gaelic settlement, Áth Cliath ("ford of hurdles") was further up river, at the present day Father Mathew Bridge (formerly Dublin Bridge) at the bottom of Church Street. Baile Átha Cliath, meaning "town of the hurdled ford", is the common name for the city in modern Irish.