Hiberno/Norse Viking House and gardens. The National Botanical Gardens, Dublin.
This was my main project for 2014, the work for this project actually started in autumn/winter 2013 with the harvesting of materials.
The Viking house is a replica based on a 11th century type one Dublin house excavated in the 1980’s by Patrick Wallis and his team at Wood quay. The house is 8mtrs long and 4mtrs wide, with a ridge height of 3.5mtrs, it has an Oak trestle frame and a door at each end.
Built of Native Irish materials, Green Oak from Co Wicklow (pegged timber frame) Hazel rods (wattle walls) and Ash poles (roof rafters and batons) from Ballykilcavan Co Laois. I built the house using methods and tools available to the builder of the period.
The house was thatched with river reed (Phragmites australis) by Peter Compton, in a Scandinavian style, unfortunately we had to use Polish Reed for its quality and longevity. At the moment very little high quality Irish reed is available, due to the high Nitrate and Phosphates in Irish rivers.
The inside of the house is very basic, it has two linear communal beds on either side of a central isle, with four work/storage areas either side of the doors to maximise the use of natural light. The central isle has an earthen floor and would have had a central hearth, I have used a number of different materials in other areas of the floor to represent floor types found in other excavations, such as a timber boarded threshold, cobbled threshold (cut stone) cobbled work area (random beach pebbles) earthen work areas and a hazel wattle floor panel.
The Viking house and its garden has been built to commemorate the 1,000th anniversary of the battle of Clontarf and is a permanent installation. The house is open to school and public tours to educate visitors on Viking life in Dublin 1,000 years ago.
My Thanks to
Mathew Jebb. Director National Botanical Gardens.
Brendan Kelly, and the staff and gardeners N.B.G.
Ruth Johnson City of Dublin Archaeologist.
Peter Compton Thatcher.
Chris Hayes and Rosser Johnston. Forester/carpenters.
Serene Jebb and Family.