Origins: Page 2, Viking Invasion.
The church founded by Patrick evolved into monastical settlements which became
great centers of culture in the following centuries, like Clonmacnoise in Co. Ofally.
They furthered the use of writing and produced many illuminated manuscripts
which survive today, such as the book of Durrow in the seventh century and the
book of Kells in the eight or ninth. Their scribes helped to write down and therefore preserve
many of the old celtic tales which would otherwise have been lost, and their workshops
manufactured metal masterpieces such as the Ardagh chalice.
With the invention of the keelboat around AD 600, the Vikings descended on the peoples of Northern and Western Europe. Ireland was a prime target, with rich pickings in the Monasteries situated along the major rivers, and with little or no protection save their round towers. The first recorded decent of the vikings upon Ireland took place in 795, and these sporadic raids continued for a full half-century before the vikings attempted any permanent settlement in the country, before their arrival, Ireland was a country of isolated settlements, ring-forts and monasteries. Towns as we know them today did not exist, and it was the Vikings who laid the foundations of many of Irelands coastal towns, starting with Dublin in 841, and continuing with Wexford, Waterford, Cork and Limerick in the following century. these irish towns, and foremost among them Dublin itself, became important centers of trade, bartering slaves and other merchandise. the Vikings made Dublin into what was the most important trading center in the whole of northern Europe at the time. 
The second Viking period began in Ireland when a large sea-fleet arrived in Waterford harbor in 914 AD., and they began to attack Munster and later, Leinster. They plundered the Monasteries of Cork, Lismore and Aghaboe and met with little resistance. For the next two decades the Vikings of Dublin were very powerful but they spent a lot of resources attempting to control their other settlements in Limerick and Waterford. By about 950 AD. the second period of Viking raiding was over and Ireland settled into an uneasy peace and prosperity for a short time.
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