In the center of the Célí Dé movement, the monastery of Tallaght, founded by Maelruain in 774, became the center of a union of reformed monasteries, known as Oentu Maelruain. In 795, the first of a succession of Viking raids from the north came to an island off the shore of Dublin. Tallaght was severely weakened. The reform movement had been bringing about a renaissance of art, learning, literature, and spirituality, but was cut off in its bud and was never able to reestablish itself in its original vigor (Joyce 73).
After 830, the attackers began setting up colonies, founding the first real urban centers in the seaside towns of Dublin, Arklow, Waterford, Wexford, and Cork, and also the river town of Limerick. The Scandinavians attacked and plundered monasteries, taking treasures and magnificent works of art. The Irish also plundered monasteries in intertribal warfare. The coming of the Norsemen brought about the first real efforts of the Irish clans to unite against a foreign enemy.
The Viking invaders attacked Skellig Michael, off the coast of County Kerry, as well as the monastery on the Isle of Inishmurray, off the coast of County Donegal. The Irish suffered greatly during the years of 830-860 and 910-930 at the hands of the invaders. After 930, the Irish began to turn the enemy back. The Battle of Clontarf in 1014, led by the imperial Brian Boru, signaled the end of the Viking invasions.
Last updated on 28th November 2000.