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Old October 2nd, 2009, 09:49 PM
Douglas Douglas is offline
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Irish Iceland

What if we modify the tale of St. Brendan and his voyage to the west, and have the Irish settle Iceland at around the supposed time of his voyage, c. 512-530 AD. While it is reported that there were Irish monks present in Iceland upon the Vikings arrival, it could be interesting to see what happens if the Vikings run into an established population with a history of 300 years in Iceland, rather than scattered monasteries?

Is this plausible? What effects would this have?
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 12:01 AM
fernerdave fernerdave is offline
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this book has a lot to say on this, basically that Iceland was settled(not by the Irish tho) before the Norse showed up looking for loot

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Far...fore_the_Norse

has anyone else read this?

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Old October 3rd, 2009, 01:52 AM
Desmond Hume Desmond Hume is offline
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Originally Posted by Douglas View Post
What if we modify the tale of St. Brendan and his voyage to the west, and have the Irish settle Iceland at around the supposed time of his voyage, c. 512-530 AD. While it is reported that there were Irish monks present in Iceland upon the Vikings arrival, it could be interesting to see what happens if the Vikings run into an established population with a history of 300 years in Iceland, rather than scattered monasteries?

Is this plausible? What effects would this have?
How would the Hiberno-Icelanders handle first contact with the Vikings? Would there be conflict, or would the old and new settlers be able to coexist?

One interesting result could be the survival of a Celtic language based on Old Irish until the present day, perhaps even as the official language of Iceland.
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 04:51 AM
Dan1988 Dan1988 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas View Post
What if we modify the tale of St. Brendan and his voyage to the west, and have the Irish settle Iceland at around the supposed time of his voyage, c. 512-530 AD. While it is reported that there were Irish monks present in Iceland upon the Vikings arrival, it could be interesting to see what happens if the Vikings run into an established population with a history of 300 years in Iceland, rather than scattered monasteries?

Is this plausible? What effects would this have?
Well, whilst there is lots of controversy over the amount of Celtic influence in Iceland (apart from genetics), the solution is easy. These Irish Icelanders will be assimilated like the Borg into Norse society where, yes, resistance is futile.
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 05:14 AM
Lugal Lugal is offline
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This was an idea that's been floating around for years for me, but never came together enough for any kind of timeline.

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One interesting result could be the survival of a Celtic language based on Old Irish until the present day, perhaps even as the official language of Iceland.
Icelandic Gaelic would be so cool! With the population established for 300 years it is possible that Gaelic could be the dominant language (the Vikings didn't have much luck establishing their language in previously inhabited lands)
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 05:57 AM
Michael B Michael B is offline
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Originally Posted by Lugal
With the population established for 300 years it is possible that Gaelic could be the dominant language (the Vikings didn't have much luck establishing their language in previously inhabited lands)
The Celts also colonised the Orkneys and Shetland Islands which were also conquered by the Vikings. In each case the inhabitants ended up speaking a Norse dialect.

In other cases the Vikings turned to Christianity around the same time as they conquered territories and that contributed to Gaelicisation of them. Iceland was pagan well after the rest so Norse-isation has a greater chance of occuring.
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 11:58 AM
Umbral Umbral is offline
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I doubt the Celts of Iceland will be able to put up much resistance to the vikings. And even after 300 years their survival toolkit is likely to be less fit for the environment than the Norse.

However, in OTL, the primary draw of Iceland for the Norse was that it was mainly empty land, where anyone could stake out a hold, without some king telling him what to do.

With even minor resistance from natives, and the place being dirt poor and climatically unpleasant, the vikings may just pass it by. Or give it no more attention than they did western Russia. Which at least produced furs.

I do remember we had a concept here about a timeline where the Inuit from Greenland reached Iceland at about the same time as the Irish monks, and a hybrid society resulted. The Inuit had excellent coping skills for the climate!
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 01:22 PM
boynamedsue boynamedsue is offline
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.

I do remember we had a concept here about a timeline where the Inuit from Greenland reached Iceland at about the same time as the Irish monks, and a hybrid society resulted. The Inuit had excellent coping skills for the climate!
Cool but ASB, the Inuit weren't even in Greenland until the 12th century.
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 02:10 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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IIRC, recent genetic assays suggest that Icelanders are actually mostly Irish on the maternal side. Either the settling vikings picked up wives in Ireland, or they're descendants of the norse population of Ireland and Scotland, which was already celtic on the maternal side in large part.
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 04:29 PM
Fabilius Fabilius is offline
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IIRC, recent genetic assays suggest that Icelanders are actually mostly Irish on the maternal side. Either the settling vikings picked up wives in Ireland, or they're descendants of the norse population of Ireland and Scotland, which was already celtic on the maternal side in large part.
True. It“s certain that before the norse came to Iceland there were irish settlements.

I think if you can conceive of a POD where the Norse don“t settle Iceland it“s plausible.

Actually, I think it“s not so impossible really. The POD might even be just simply: norwegians don“t settle in Iceland.
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 05:04 PM
Dathi THorfinnsson Dathi THorfinnsson is offline
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True. It“s certain that before the norse came to Iceland there were irish settlements.
Settlements? No. Isolated Irish hermits, certainly. Small monastic communities? I'm not sure, but it's possible.
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 07:37 PM
Umbral Umbral is offline
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
IIRC, recent genetic assays suggest that Icelanders are actually mostly Irish on the maternal side. Either the settling vikings picked up wives in Ireland, or they're descendants of the norse population of Ireland and Scotland, which was already celtic on the maternal side in large part.
That tallies well with the stories about the settling of Iceland. It was mainly by people who left Norway for land and freedom. Often younger sons. The storeies has it that Icelandic women are especially beautiful because they only brought the best-looking thrall girls with them. Normally picked up in raids in Ireland.

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Originally Posted by boynamedsue View Post
Cool but ASB, the Inuit weren't even in Greenland until the 12th century.
I believe we spoke of an earlier culture marginally hanging in. Independence II or Dorset.
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 11:14 PM
Fabilius Fabilius is offline
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Settlements? No. Isolated Irish hermits, certainly. Small monastic communities? I'm not sure, but it's possible.
What we call monasteries today were in fact families. The irish hermit is a bit of a myth really.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 12:26 AM
Lugal Lugal is offline
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The Celts also colonised the Orkneys and Shetland Islands which were also conquered by the Vikings. In each case the inhabitants ended up speaking a Norse dialect.

In other cases the Vikings turned to Christianity around the same time as they conquered territories and that contributed to Gaelicisation of them. Iceland was pagan well after the rest so Norse-isation has a greater chance of occuring.
There was never any Goidelic settlement on the Orkneys and Shetlands. There were some Pictish settlements in the Orkneys and Shetlands, and while most people think the Picts were Brythonic Celts, some research indicates the "Pictish" inscriptions may actually be Old Norse.

If there were full Irish settlements in Iceland with women and children, they would have expanded over most of the good land in 300 years (although the Vikings, learning of it from the Irish may have arrived sooner). There would have been a much greater population than the Shetlands that could absorb newcomers.

The Viking raids would have been devastating like elsewhere, and they may have settled originally as mercenaries, since I doubt the Irish there would be united under a single ruler. They would have eventually settled and intermarried adopted Christianity much like they did in Ireland, forming a Gall-Gaidheal population like in Ireland and Scotland.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 01:11 PM
Dathi THorfinnsson Dathi THorfinnsson is offline
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What we call monasteries today were in fact families. The irish hermit is a bit of a myth really.
Whoa, there! Yes, I believe that there were some 'monasteries' that involved married couple with children. But the great majority of monasteries in the Celtic church were sex-segregated. Again, there would often be a monastery with celibate men in one part and celibate women in another part, with a single abbot or even abbess over the whole thing.

However, there were LOTS of Irish hermits. And everything I've read indicates that the 'papar' (sp?) in Iceland were just that. I feel exceedingly hesitant arguing with an Icelander over Icelandic history - and if you have a source, I'd like to see it. But, as a previous poster said, if there were Irish families in Iceland, they'd have expanded and settled (much of) the place.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 11:02 PM
Valdemar II Valdemar II is offline
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If there were full Irish settlements in Iceland with women and children, they would have expanded over most of the good land in 300 years (although the Vikings, learning of it from the Irish may have arrived sooner). There would have been a much greater population than the Shetlands that could absorb newcomers.
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However, there were LOTS of Irish hermits. And everything I've read indicates that the 'papar' (sp?) in Iceland were just that. I feel exceedingly hesitant arguing with an Icelander over Icelandic history - and if you have a source, I'd like to see it. But, as a previous poster said, if there were Irish families in Iceland, they'd have expanded and settled (much of) the place.
And they very well have done so, of course what happen is that the Norvegian arrived there, with a superior tool packet and a superior agricultural packet for the climate, at the same time these Norvegian was the warrior elite of the old society (refugees from the Norvegian unification), it doesn't take genious to get what happen. The fact that the Icelandic Mitochondrion is mostly of Irish and West British origin, and their Y-cronosome is mostly of north Nordic origin would fit perfectly into this scenario.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 11:09 PM
robertp6165 robertp6165 is offline
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And they very well have done so, of course what happen is that the Norvegian arrived there, with a superior tool packet and a superior agricultural packet for the climate, at the same time these Norvegian was the warrior elite of the old society (refugees from the Norvegian unification), it doesn't take genious to get what happen. The fact that the Icelandic Mitochondrion is mostly of Irish and West British origin, and their Y-cronosome is mostly of north Nordic origin would fit perfectly into this scenario.
It would also fit perfectly into a scenario in which there were NO Irish women on Iceland, but the majority of the Norse who settled Iceland (as opposed to the first group which discovered it, which by tradition came direct from Norway) came to Iceland from Norse settlements in the British Isles, where they had previously intermarried with the Irish and the Celts of Western Britain. If so, the Irish/West British DNA entered the gene pool there, rather than in Iceland. Or it would fit a scenario where, again, there were no Irish women in Iceland, but Irish and West British women were brought there as thralls after the Norse settlement, and married into the Norse population. Either is more likely than there being Irish settlements pre-existing on Iceland prior to Norse settlement.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 11:57 PM
Douglas Douglas is offline
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So...what would the effects of an Irish Iceland, assuming that all fo the arable land has been settled before the arrival of the Vikings?
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Old October 5th, 2009, 01:13 AM
Dathi THorfinnsson Dathi THorfinnsson is offline
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Or it would fit a scenario where, again, there were no Irish women in Iceland, but Irish and West British women were brought there as thralls after the Norse settlement, and married into the Norse population. Either is more likely than there being Irish settlements pre-existing on Iceland prior to Norse settlement.
Which, since this is the scenario the Sagas describe, makes me think that it's more likely.
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Old October 5th, 2009, 09:12 AM
Umbral Umbral is offline
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For an Iceland that retains an Irish population, I think you'd need the Vikings to bypass it. If the Vikings really want it, they'll have it.

The first Irish settlers are not going to have a very good time. The climate is much worse than they are used to, their coping skills are not that good for the environment, and their agricultural package isn't that well-adapted. You'd be likly to see a significant time lag before they stated expanding, as they adapted to the poorer environment. Also, most people going there might be wanting to get away from something. And adapting to the local conditions would change the Celts.

Many peoples in harsh, arctic environments respond by higher levels of local cooperation and less warfare. If the Icecelts went a few steps in this direction, they might develop more of a tradition of communal response to disasters and problems.

So when the vikings arrive, they do a hang-together rather than hang separatly, and put up some coordinated and spirited resitance.
I am thinking this will make them not worth the bother to the Vikings.

In OTL they found a cold, but mainly empty land for the taking. In TTL, they find somewhere full of strongly resisting people, dirt poor and climatically unpleasant.

Conquerable, but not worth the effort. If you're going to go a-conquering, you might as well go somewhere richer and warmer.

EDIT: Come to think of it, if the first viking contacts coincided or were quickly followed by the rise of a charismatic and ambitious leader, the viking outsiders could be used as a political excuse to gather and consolidate power. Battle-victories would cement the leaders position. Which would be possible if the vast majority of vikings never cared much about the place.
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