I have always known the Irish beat the Vikings to North America, but convincing the doubters has been tricky.

My most reputable evidence is that Tim Severin had a replica of a Medieval leather boat built and sailed it across the stormy Atlantic to Iceland. He wrote about the adventure in The Brendan Voyage — which Roseledge Books carries — naming Brendan, a 6th Century monk, as sailor. Still today, St. Brendan the Sailor lives on in lore.  My b-i-l, an R and D kind of guy, pointed out that this only demonstrated that he could do it, not that he did do it.  Pshaw, I say, undeterred.

Then today, reading the NYT Travel section online, I joined Dean Nelson on a Literary Tour of Iceland and learned that Icelanders trace their storytelling prowess back to “the 1,000 year-old Icelandic sagas  that touch on the nation’s Norwegian and Irish roots and the mythic tales of elves and trolls.”  Did you catch that casual reference to the early Irish, which casualness just makes it an even more exciting bit of reputable evidence?

Okay, he listed the Norwegians first, a bit distressing, but a likely reversible lapse.  But then he named only elves and trolls, which seemed a more substantive problem, as neither is Irish.  Doldrums, alert.  It took a bit of rummaging, but I found out on the Internet that “a leprechaun is a sort of Irish troll, in the same way that a troll is a sort of Scandawegian leprechaun.”  Whew!

Maybe I can talk my b-i-l, a veteran Road Scholar, into a trip to Iceland to check this out.  He’s already been to Newfoundland and checked out the remains of a Viking settlement.  He noted, with some glee, that no one mentioned the Irish.  Clearly, another good reason to go to Iceland.

And I’ll get going on the Sagas, which Roseledge Books also will carry, as available translated and in paperback.


You may want pictures, probably no more than I.  Help me out, Santa?

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