The Viking Christmas Tribute
Irish History From The Annals

Following the siege of Dublin in 988 the Vikings were forced to pay King Mael Sechnaill an annual tribute of gold on Christmas night.

In 980 the King of Meath Mael Sechnaill mac Domnaill defeated the Vikings of Dublin at the battle of Tara. In 981 he besieged the city of Dublin, forcing the Vikings to renounce their tribute from the Irish and release their Irish slaves. Following this defeat Mael Sechnaill’s half-brother Glúniairn had become king of Dublin. In 988 Mael Sechnaill returned to Dublin and defeated the Vikings in battle again. After a three week siege of Dublin the Vikings agreed to pay Mael Sechmaill a tribute of gold each year on Christmas night. This tribute may not have been popular amongst the Vikings as later the same year King Glúniairn was killed by his own slave.

The battle of Ath cliath was gained over the foreigners by Maelseachlainn, in which many of the foreigners were slain by him. And he afterwards laid siege to the fortress for the space of twenty nights, so that they drank no water during this time but the brine. At length they gave him his own full demand while he should be king, and an ounce of gold for every garden, to be paid on Christmas night, for ever.

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