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No record that vikings raided Kilkenny monastery

The Kilkenny monastery was located at the present site of St. Canice's Cathedral, a beautiful Norman church completed in 1285.

On that site is a round-tower, a feature typical of Irish monasteries, that was built sometime between AD 700 and 1100. Below the level of this tower is evidence of Christian burial which dates the establishment of the monastery to about AD 500.

There is no record that Vikings looted the monastery in Kilkenny.

That is a conspicuous fact, albeit one that is based on information's lack rather than its presence. But monasteries are the source of historical writing for pre-Norman Ireland. This suggests that the Vikings never plundered it.

Then the question becomes "how could that be?"

There are plenty of reasons to expect that the Vikings would have raided the Kilkenny monastery; primarily that it was a monastery. And it was on a river. The Viking town Waterford sits on the coast 30 miles downstream. And the Vikings were active in the valley of the River Nore — as they were on all waterways during a period.

But the kingdom of Ossory — most of modern County Kilkenny and a part of County Laois to the north — had a great king during the period of inland Viking plunder, and Ossory was a powerful state.

The fame of that king, Cerball MacDunlaige, rests on his interactions with Vikings. He was a talented warrior and a diplomat, forging alliances and treaties when he could, and battling when he had to.

It's possible that during the period when the Vikings were actively raiding inland waterways (late 800's,) Ossory was too powerful for their tastes. The Vikings, opportunist by nature, may have found the Kilkenny monastery unattractive for its location in the realm of Cerball's Ossory.

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