The Vikings are coming!

potato print of Viking longboat

I did a painting workshop with the Harold’s Cross Ladies last week. I hasten to add that the Ladies weren’t cross, indeed they were very friendly and enthusiastic but as for Harold, well that’s another story.

Not many people know this but Harold was a Viking. The cross in the name of the village refers to a cross that marked the boundary between the lands of the Bishop of Dublin and those of Harold the Viking.

And yes, the Vikings were not simply here for the traditional pillaging and such. In fact, there were three phases and these could be categorised as: the raiders, the traders and the settlers. If you’d like to know more, come to the lecture during the week of the Harold’s Cross Festival.

photo ladies at a painting workshop in Harold's Cross

But, back to the ladies…

Well, we decided to recreate in paint the arrival of Harold in his Viking longboat – but how to draw the pertinent details of Viking shippery? The answer came to me as I was preparing my dinner – the humble potato.  Yes indeed, potato printing was the solution and it worked a treat.

potato prints of Viking Longboats

But speaking of Vikings, the National Museum of Ireland is coming out to Harold’s Cross for the festival, on Saturday the 18th of May (International Museum Day), and they will be bringing with them their “handling collection” of Viking material. Someone suggested that they bring a longboat up the canal too – but no, unfortunately that won’t be happening (this year!)

Apparently it would be historically inaccurate anyway, as the canals weren’t even built at that time…

No, but we are delighted to have this rare privilege in Harold’s Cross and we are very much looking forward to it. Keep an eye out for the Festival programme and make sure to mark the week of the 13th to the 19th of May in your diary.

Slán go fóill, eoin

Harold’s Cross Festival



  1. Morning Eoin, Only last week I walked from Harold’s Cross, where I live and work, carrying this sign (and my ladder) to Fowne’s Street to install it on the front wall of Tango’s Suit Hire shop. All hand-drawn, hand-painted and varnished. As I worked, one local joker said: Hey mister, I wouldn’t give you a ha’penny for that! Beir beannacht, Syd


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