Thor’s sacred wood

I read an interesting article  in ‘Irish Archaeology’, about the defeat of the Vikings in Dublin by the great  Irish king, Brian Bóruma (Boru) in 999. After his victory over Sitric Silkbeard, at the Battle of Glen Máma, instead of marching straight in to ravish Dublin, Brian diverted some of his troops to go and burn down Caill Tomair, a sacred grove.

The story is interesting enough, but with my interest in words and names, I found it fascinating that a clue to the fact this wood was a s sacred grove was in its name. It is suggested that the Irish Gaelic word for forest, coill, is added to the Irish version of Thor’s name þórr, delivers Caill Tomair. Brian Boru was a Christian, so destroying a pagan sacred place was greatly significant.

Looking at Old Norse place names, any one with the word lundr attached to it, as in þórr’slundr, means a place where there is a grove. Animals and even humans could be sacrificed in these places, sometimes being hung in the trees… rather gruesome! Another link with Thor in Viking Dublin has been suggested by the number of amulet’s in the shape of Thor’s hammer which have been found.

This all suggests more details I could add to the history of my imaginary forest, Camel Wood.

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