Viking Dublin: Trial Pieces

Heaney feeds on poetic charges triggered by a cultural event: ‘Then there was the Viking Dublin exhibit in the National Museum, based on the dig being done by Brendán Ó Ríordáin at the Wood Quay site’ (DOD p.163). An exhibit Heaney sees arouses his curiosity and sparks off subsequent associations. Heaney gives his imagination free rein in pursuit of Viking links with Dublin and by extension with Irish language and culture. I A museum exhibit invites questions as to its provenance … something human maybe (jaw-bone or a rib) or part of something more substantial (sturdier). Poised to move on (anyhow) the observer’s interest is captured by an original marking (a small outline) scratched into the bone (incised) a squared, […]