Sitric Silkbeard was the son of Óláfr Sigtryggsson (known as Amlaíb in Irish sources), Norse king of Dublin and York and Gormflaith ingen Murchada, who was Irish and a daughter of the King of Leinster.
It is thought that Sitric became king of Dublin in 989 and, despite being in regular conflict with various Irish kings over the years, he managed to stay in power until 1036.
Throughout the years, Sitric and his forces both supported and revolted Brian Boru’s attacks across Ireland. In 1014, Sitric and his uncle, Máel Mórda, rebelled so much against Brian that it led to the Battle of Clontarf. Sitric survived the battle but lost to Boru’s army.
Sitric apparently left Ireland in 1028 on a pilgrimage to Rome. The Irish Annals tell us that he then died over 15 years later in 1042.
There are several tours and spots in Dublin to discover more about Sitric and the Norse rule in Ireland, should you be intrigued to know more. View the itinerary below to find out more.
Sitric was born to a Norse king and Irish mother with sovereign heritage, so it was inevitable that he would eventually become a king.
Sitric took over the throne from his father Óláfr Sigtryggsson and managed to hold the throne until 1036.
In 997, Sitric attacks the monastic towns of Kells and Clonard in Meath as he continues his pursuit to become the King of Leinster.
Sitric teams up with Máel Mórda mac Murchada (his uncle) to take on Brian Boru in the Battle of Glenmama. The pair are defeated with many of their army killed along the shores of the River Liffey.
Sitric is believed to have married Sláine ingen Briain, the daughter of Brian Boru in 999 following the Battle of Glenmama. This was seen as a move that would unite the Dublin and Munster forces following the recent battle. Sitric and Sláine had a son called Olaf.
Sitric teamed up with Máel Mórda again to revolt against Brian Boru at the Battle of Clontarf. While Boru won the battle he would ultimately be killed (along with Máel Mórda), while Sitric managed to remain in power as the King of Dublin.
Sitric leaves Ireland to go on a pilgrimage to Rome.
Upon his return to Dublin, Sitric is believed to have founded the original Viking church at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin. This is the oldest building in Dublin, and was founded with Dúnán, the first Bishop of Dublin.
Sitric is believed to have died in 1042 in exhile at an unknown location.
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