Wexford – sites mentioned in the text
image: Stafford McLoughlin Archaeology
The first record of Viking activity in Wexford was in 819 when the monastery at Begerin was raided. The earliest mention of a Viking base at Wexford was in 888 when the Annals of the Four Masters record that the Viking ports at Port Lairge (Waterford), Loch Garmin (Wexford), and St Mullins were defeated by the Irish.
It would appear that the Viking settlement was a defended site, although to date there is little evidence of the nature of these defences.
In 1995 a bank and ditch were discovered at Barrack Street. This bank and ditch predated the Anglo-Norman town walls and was presumably part of the Viking defences. The extent of the Viking settlement is not known, although it appears to stretch from the south in the Barrack Street area and extended at least as far as Anne Street in the north.
Excavation has produced evidence of Viking Age settlement from two sites in the South Main Street Area of the town: one at Bride Street and one at 84-86 South Main Street.
Excavations at Bride Street
In 1988 an excavation took place at Bride Street, close to the Junction with South Main Street.
The excavation revealed a series of occupation levels containing remains of house structure that spanned the period from the early 11th century to the 13th and 14th centuries. (See plan, right.)
The earliest house had walls of a single post and wattle construction and the building had a clay floor. This was followed by a building whose walls consisted of sharpened planks driven directly into the earth. These early houses were not aligned on present day South Main Street.
These houses had a central hearth and two side aisles, and had hipped thatched roofs supported on four internal roof supports. Generally speaking these houses were similar to those excavated in Viking Dublin and Viking Waterford.
Section showing excavated deposits at 84-86 South Main Street, Wexford image: Stafford McLoughlin Archaeology