By Dr. Denis Shine & Dr. Stephen Mandal
Students are drawn to our Carrick field school for a whole host of reasons – including the opportunity to work within an outdoor museum and live in homestay accommodations making familial connections to Ireland. However, perhaps it is Carrick’s title as “Ireland’s first ever Anglo-Norman stronghold” that most captures the student’s imagination – the Normans were partly descended from Norse Vikings! Built in 1169 CE by Robert Fitzstephen, one of the first knights to land in Ireland, Carrick is the oldest Anglo-Norman fortification in the country. The site developed as an important borough in the thirteenth century, and it was home to one of the first Marshal castles in the south-east. It was also the site of one of Ireland’s earliest Anglo-Norman deerparks. The importance of Carrick as an Anglo-Norman site can’t be overstated. However, coming to Carrick delivers much more than just an education on the Anglo-Norman conquest.