Professor Poul Holm – Viking Historian

Professor Poul Holm is an expert voice on the Viking settlements in Ireland. He is Professor of Environmental History at Trinity College Dublin. He is a Danish native and before moving to Dublin he was Rector of Roskilde University in Denmark.


He is the Director of the Trinity Centre for Environmental Humanities, a member of the Royal Irish Academy’s Standing Committee for Archaeology, and Vice-Chair of the Humanities class of Academia Europea.

In this audio conversation with producer Helen Shaw Poul gives an insight into the Norwegian Viking raids, and settlements, in Ireland from 790s and across the 9th and 10th centuries and how the Norse and Gaelic people became intermixed. He gives a sense of the market for people, for slaves, throughout this time and how by the late 9th Century the Norse Vikings took gaelic men and women, mostly slaves, to forge their settlement in Iceland. He draws on the famous story of Melkorka from the Icelandic Sagas, the slave Irish Princess, who mothers a future leader of the new Icelandic world, and a character, and story, who has inspired our ‘Mother’s Blood, Sister Songs’ project.

Watch this short video from the interview where Poul Holm explores who they Vikings were, how they innovated and why they began to settle in Iceland.