The Ghosts of the Irish in Iceland

When the Norse and their female Irish slaves arrived in Iceland in 870, there was already a colony of Irish monks on the south coast, living in caves and living in splendid isolation with their God. There are accounts of them living in what became known much later as the monastery site of Kirkjubaerjarklaustur. There is just something about the place.  First, a look around in the summer sun. iceland-day-3-to-5-051 iceland-day-3-to-5-043 iceland-day-3-to-5-044

Here’s the “Church Floor”, basalt columns eroded by ancient waves.iceland-day-3-to-5-054 iceland-day-3-to-5-053

And the rumoured centre of Irish life.iceland-day-3-to-5-046

And now in the summer rain. Note the change of light!p1010115p1010068

Here’s the “Nun’s Falls”, from a much later catholicism.

p1010066p1010111And now some late Autumn (2016)  pics, with the sun barely making it above the sea.p1320200 p1320223 p1320198
A splendid place for meditation and prayer!

Unwilling to share the purity of God with heathens, the monks left in their skin boats. Their ghosts remain. I wonder if the women were sad to see them go.

5 thoughts on “The Ghosts of the Irish in Iceland

  1. Didis Art Design

    Dear friend,

    I consider iceland as the most beautiful country in the world -with its wide variety of beautiful landscapes. I visited Island myself in 2000.

    Thanks for sharing those beautiful sceneries 🙂
    All good wishes

    1. Harold Rhenisch Post author

      I love Iceland, too. It is gorgeous, isn’t it. Thanks for visiting my virtual farm in Iceland! Best, Harold

  2. Francesco Cassissa

    Good evening Harold.
    I would love to get to know more about this story. How could I get more information?

    1. Harold Rhenisch Post author

      Hi, there’s lots of info out there with a little google. Gunnar wrote of it in his “Sworn Brothers.” There’s some great stuff here, for a start:
      When you’re googling around, you’ll find tantalizing new genetic research as well about the percentages of Icelandic settlers who were male and female, although it’s unknown if they were slaves or free people. Likely slaves, especially the women, but it is unknown.


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