16.00 John Tighe (Trinity College Dublin): ‘The Economy of Ireland in Tenth- and Eleventh-Century Ireland’
The economy of Ireland underwent significant change in the last centuries of the first millennium AD and into the next. While the coastal emporia of the vikings, for example Dublin, Waterford, Limerick etc., have often dominated discussions of the island’s economy, ecclesiastical sites such as Tuam, Downpatrick were also forming markets in order to take advantage of the growing exchange routes which were being developed. To examine these developments, one must explore the physical trade routes which existed at the time, both maritime and overland, including the road network across the country. While the Norse brought a silver-based economy to Ireland, it would have taken a few generations for this to have spread across the country. As a consequence, in tenth-century Ireland cattle exchange may have been used as an alternative currency. The evidence of modern ethnographic studies of pastoralists in Africa and Asia will be explored to examine how this might have worked before the advent of coinage by the Hiberno-Norse in c.AD997.