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20

(1922) [MARC] Author: A. Walsh
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20 THE VIKING PERIOD
to the Continent the work of the great schools was carried
on and there was considerable literary activity ;
x
in 914
and 924, respectively, the great crosses at Clonmacnois
and Monasterboice were set up ; cumhdachs, or book- shrines
of plated gold and silver, were made for the three great
manuscripts, the Book of Kells, the Book of Durrow and the
Book of Armagh ; carved gold, silver, and bronze work
reached a high level of excellence in the famous Ardagh
Chalice and the Tara Brooch ; and during the years which in-
tervened between the battles of Gleann Mama and Clontarf,
Romanesque architecture was introduced into Ireland.
Irish art did not remain wholly free from Scandinavian
influence. In the Cross of Cong (A.D. 1123) the Celtic inter-
laced patterns are found side by side with the
"
worm-
dragon
"
ornament, while the crosier of Clonmacnois, the
psalter of Ricemarsh and the shrine of St. Patrick’s Bell
are decorated in the style known as
"
Hiberno-Danish." 2
The Vikings, on the other hand, came under the influences
of Irish art and literature. We find marks of Celtic influence
not only in the sculptured crosses erected by the Norsemen
in the North of England and Man, but even in Scandinavia
itself.
3
Moreover, there are strong reasons for supposing
that the rise of the prose saga among the Icelanders may
be the outcome of their intercourse with the Irish in the
ninth and tenth centuries.
i.e., Bitter is the wind to-night,
It tosses the ocean’s white hair ;
To-night I fear not the fierce warriors of Norway
Coursing on the Irish Sea.
(Translation by Kuno Meyer : Ancient Irish Poetry, p. 101.)
1
See Margaret Stokes :
Early Christian Architecture in Ireland,
p. 127.
8 G. Coffey : A Guide to the Celtic Antiquities of the Christian
Period (National Museum, Dublin) pp. 29, 49 and 62.
’/&., p. 17.

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