University of Limerick History Society Journal: Volume 2 (2000)
In recent years the precise location and nature of Viking Dublin have been much debated. It is now generally accepted that there was a longphort phase from 841 to 902: a period of enforced exile from 902 to 917, and thereafter a dún phase. Having become the focus of a Scandinavian kingdom in 853 Dublin began to los: its poli!ical independence c. 980 and was reduced to the status of an under-kingdom m 1052. By the mid eleventh century Dublin was undoubtedly an urban place, an international trading centre with some of the attributes of an unchartered town. So much is reasonably certain.
What remains uncertain apart from matters of topography, is the stages by which Dublin became an urban place and the chronology of that process. Any Judgement of this kind. is inescapably related to notions about, if not definitions of, what constItuted a town in an early medieval European context In addition, in so far as the origins of most towns were evolutionary by nature’ we have to make allowance for and to develop a vocabulary for the; transformation of non-urban or proto-urban sites into urban ones. These matters are too complex to discuss here in detail, but a forewarning of this kind is not out of place.