Danish Remains

The Northmen erected many fortresses and strongholds for their defence in Ireland, one of which of stone, namely “Reginald’s Tower,” still remains at Waterford; and they are considered to have constructed many of those circular earthen ramparts commonly called Forts or Danish Raths; but, though they may have constructed many of those raths, most of them throughout Ireland were erected by the ancient Irish themselves, as fortresses and habitations, many centuries before the Danes came to Ireland. The sepulchral mounds, commonly called Moats, have been attributed to the Danes; but these earth works were chiefly constructed by the Irish as sepulchres for kings and warriors in the Pagan times.

Ledwich and some other antiquarians have absurdly attributed the erection of almost all the ancient stone buildings in Ireland, before the English invasion, to the Danes, and amongst other structures, they have maintained the absurd theory, that the Danes built the Round Towers and many of the old stone churches: but, instead of building, the Danes more probably destroyed many of the towers, and they demolished many hundreds of the churches. But, after their conversion to Christianity, the Danes built a few churches, amongst others Christ Church and St. Michan’s, in the city of Dublin; and some in Waterford, Limerick, and Cork. Some of the ancient weapons of bronze and iron, bronze pots, and other culinary utensils, war trumpets. etc., found in bogs, lakes, and other places, are supposed by some to be Danish remains; but it is much more probable that they were mostly Irish. Some of them, no doubt, may have been Danish: but it is very difficult now to determine whether those remains are Danish or Irish antiquities. The Danes, are traditionally said to have brewed a kind of strong beer; and to have used the tops of the heath as one of the ingredients, probably as a substitute for hops.