Christmas night in the year 835AD the pagan Vikings raided two of the great monasteries of Ireland; the monastery of St. Kevin at Glendalough, Co. Wicklow and the monastery of St. Mogue at Clonmore, Co. Carlow, near Hackettstown.
The Vikings expected that by carrying out raids on Christmas night that valuable relics of the monasteries would be removed from their secret hiding place and placed display as part of the Christmas celebration. Of course the added bonus for the Vikings is likely that more people will be in the church boosting the number of potential prisoners that can subsequently sold as slaves. Indeed history records that at Clonmore the Vikings burnt the monastery and carried off a large number of prisoners into slavery. Wile at Glendalough they burned the oratory but there is no mention of prisoners. Raids are also recorded to have taken place in Connacht the same night. Just two years later the Vikings were to establish a permanent settlement in Ireland at Dublin.
Photo: The upper lake at Glendalough.