P6 Trip to Navan Fort and Centre- A Recount of our Day!
On Wednesday 12th November, 61 excited Primary Six pupils raced on to two awaiting buses, bound for the Navan Centre and Fort in Armagh. Our mission for the day was to discover more about what life was like in Viking times.
The day started with a rather bumpy and long ride to Armagh
Upon arrival at the centre, we had our break in the large theatre and were then welcomed by Alan. He informed us of how we were to be organised and what the day’s activities were.
Our first adventure was to the exhibition hall, where Paul was the presenter. He introduced us to a time capsule from 795AD. We examined the rough clothing and saw what the different levels of Viking society would have worn. Tali was dressed as a chief; we knew this because she was rich enough to have colour on his outfit. Meanwhile, Ben was wearing chain mail, which only the richest and most powerful Vikings wore. He showed us lots of artefacts including wax tablets, leather shoes, coins, cow’s horn cup, amber necklaces and a comb made from bone. He also showed us the mask of One- eyed Odin
Next we travelled to the scriptorium, where we dressed in monk attire and made book marks by translating our names in runic lettering. We had to take a vow of silence, as the monk’s would’ve done. Some of us found this trickier than others!
Whilst we were there, we got the opportunity to experience what life was like for the monks who used quills to copy out manuscripts. We found this fairly tough as the ink stained our hands!
We were then thrust into the hands of the very terrifying Ragnar. A real Viking, in ancient dress….with deadly authentic weapons! Ragnar was a mountainous man, with a booming voice which made us tremble.
Initially, we were shown the spear. He told us that spears were more commonly used in the Viking age. They were cheaper and more readily accessible than swords as they didn’t use so much metal. They were useful as you were able to keep your enemies at an arm’s length. Spears were particularly effective when you lunged them into the guts of your opponent….and twisted it. This way you avoided the ribs and made sure you created maximum damage.
Next, we were shown how the axe was used in battle. Mainly berserkers used these axes.
Soon after, we were led into the warm roundhouse, with a thatched roof, which smelt of burning fires. Ragnar’s mother explained that in Scandinavia, they built comfortable log cabins called longhouses, but as they had just invaded Ireland, they had not yet time to build their own. They had done their own redecorating as they put animal skins on the floor and a splash of blood on the wall. This belonged to the previous owners, who had to be persuaded to leave. They explained that they always let one person go….to spread fear and make people know how brutal and bloodthirsty they were.
We did however learn that the Vikings were mainly farmers, not fighters. We were shown how the women would have made wool from fleece and how men would have sparked fires from flint and iron.
When it was almost time to go, Ragnar and his wife then led us out on slave chains and we headed to Iceland…also known as the museum.
To conclude the day, we ate a speedy lunch on to the buses.
Our Viking day at Navan was a success as it was so much fun and we learned so much in an active and practical way. We are looking forward to looking at various aspects of Viking life in more detail over the rest of the term.
Some pictures of our trip can be viewed on the P6 Year Group page of this website.