The Vikings in Ireland: The First Wave, 795 - 873.

The initial phase of Viking involvement in Ireland consisted of multiple “hit-and-run” type raids. Starting with the raid on the wealthy monastery of Lambay Island in 795, the Vikings began their plunder. Lambay lies just north of Dublin Bay, however, at this point there was no Dublin. Dublin would later be settled by Vikings in 841 as a longphort (a type of photo-settlement allowing safe harborage for raiding activities) during the second phase of Viking actions in Ireland.

The Vikings came in search of loot and treasure, of which monasteries sure had a lot of during the middle ages. However, they were not alone in this, “for native Irish raiders did not scruple or emulate [the Vikings’] example”(2). Irish society was unique from the rest of Christendom in that they were a fractured society familiar with tribal politics. Although these initial raids do shock the land, the people of Ireland were not estranged from violence and would eventually adapt as seen in the later Viking activities.

Some notable events….

795: Lambay
802: Iona (moves to Kells, 807 - Book of Kells)
812: Irish resistance
824: Bangor (bolder raids)
832: Armagh (several times)
835: Clonmacnoise
841: Longphort at Linn Dúachaill and Duiblinn
842: Viking participation in Irish conflicts


  1. Haywood, John. “Vikings in Ireland I.” In The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings. London: Penguin, 1995. 
  2. Killeen, Richard. “Vikings.” In A Brief History of Ireland: Land, People, and History. Running Press, 2012. 
  3. Dukes-Knight, Jennifer. “Vikings in Ireland.” Lecture, Viking History, University of South Florida, 2015.

Iona cloisters by images@twiston
Via Flickr:
Iona cloisters - The cloisters at Iona Abbey. The abbey is located on the holy Isle of Iona, just off the Isle of Mull on the west coast of Scotland. Iona is considered the birthplace of Christianity in Scotland; St Columba founded the Benedictine monastery on the island in AD 563 and is thus regarded as the most holy place in Scotland.


There are too many Orthodox Churches and Monasteries in Greece that someone can visit, both new and ancient, a big heritage for all of us. I recently received an ask about Religious tourism in Greece. So, some of my favorite destinations for pilgrims are the following:

Roussanou Monastery at dusk, Meteora, Thessaly

Holy Monastery of Simonos Petra, Mount Athos

Saint Nektarios Monastery, Aegina

The Holy Monastery of St. John the Theologian, Souroti, Thessaloniki

Our Lady of Tinos Church, Tinos island

Monastery of St. John, Patmos – Photo by Sotiris Lambadaridis

Guild Wars Lore: Factions

“Many generations ago, evil walked the shores of Cantha. It rode the wind, and skulked in the shadows. Waiting for the right moment to strike… Much time has passed. Evil, has returned….”

Hey everyone! Time for the next lore post, continuing on from last week’s Prophecies post, we are moving onto the next campaign from the original Guild Wars, and the second in the series of lore posts, Guild Wars: Factions. Guild Wars: Factions introduced us to a whole new land, Cantha! It is very heavily influenced by Asian culture, drawing inspiration from all over the continent. This campaign also introduced two new professions, the Assassin and Ritualist. The Assassin was a quick and deadly warrior, specializing in chaining together attacks to take down enemies quickly. The Ritualist was more a support profession, and unique in that they are one of the oldest profession in Tyria, even existing before humans were gifted magic. Before receiving magic from their Gods the ritualists would channel Spirits of their ancestors from the Mists, granting them power. We can see this class being an inspiration to the newly revealed Revenant (Also I would like to point out that Guild Wars: Factions is NOT an expansion, but a standalone campaign, Prophecies is not necessary to play it, though owning both means characters created in either game can then travel to the other)


The Betrayer

The story for Factions actually starts about 200 years before the present day in game. In 872 AE, in the Harvest Temple, then Emperor Angsiyan was slain by his trusted bodyguard, Shiro Tagachi. He absorbed power from the dead Emperor, given to the Emperor from Dwayna while in prayer, and proceeds to slay all in the Temple, but not before one of the Ritualists is able to alert the outside by ringing the Temple bell. Among those that enter the Temple to face Shiro are Vizu the Assassin, Saint Viktor of the Kurzicks and the Luxon Champion Archemorus. Vizu dug her blades deep into Shiro’s shoulders, forcing to drop his two swords. This gave Viktor and Archemorus the opening they needed. The two champions of their factions each took up one of The Betrayer’s dropped swords and slew him with his own blades, cutting him almost in half. With his last breath, Shiro changed Cantha for centuries to come, unleashing what is now known as The Jade Wind. With his death wail, Shiro unleashed the power he had stolen from the Emperor, now corrupted, it washed over the land, turning the Echovald Forest to stone, and the Jade Sea to (well…) a block of solid jade for miles. The Betrayer was dead, and Cantha now had to deal with the destruction it had brought with it, and also answer the question of why Shiro would slay the Emperor. For two hundred years the people moved on, with limited resources now that a whole sea and forest could no longer sustain life, the Kurzicks and Luxons again warred with each other. However, it would seem all too soon that all of Cantha would have to confront their past yet again…

The Affliction

The Shing Jea Monastery is a tiny island just west of Mainland Cantha, where students come to learn and train with great masters of their chosen profession. In 1072 AE (it should be noted that Factions and Prophecies happen at essentially the same time) The Player Character (PC) catches the eye of Master Togo, a highly respected teacher in the Monastery, and half-brother to the Emperor, and as his most promising student, he takes the PC to see Minster Cho, as is a yearly tradition. As they approach Minster Cho’s Estate, a very dangerous problem presents itself. A very deadly disease has swept through the estate, turning all those infected into vile monstrosities called The Afflicted.

The PC and Master Togo fight through waves of the Afflicted and are forced to kill the now transformed Minster Cho. Togo takes the PC to search for the origin of this plague, finding it in the holy valley of Zen Daijun. Killing the Afflicted as they make their way through the valley, and avoiding the deadly miasma, they come to where it all seems to be spreading from, the Daijun Library. After slaying the Afflicted in the library, Togo makes a startling discovery. Etched on the ground is the Guild Emblem of The Betrayer, Shiro Tagachi. Even though Shiro has been dead 200 years, Togo believes that this symbol may point to Shiro’s involvement in spreading this plague. 

The Betrayer Returns

Togo and the PC head for Kaineng City on Mainland Cantha, hoping to stop the plague from reaching the crowded city. Togo also calls for his old student Brother Mhenlo, who was studying in Tyria, to come help him. In Prophecies, Brother Mhenlo was a Monk henchmen a player could add to their party. Upon reaching Kaineng City Togo and the PC realize it is too late, the plague has already taken root within the city. Whole areas are being closed off for quarantine, chaos is starting to take hold. Togo and the PC head to Vizunah Square, believed to be the center for this latest spread of Afflicted. This is also where native Canthan players receive help from afar. For Guild Wars: Factions they had a unique mechanic for this, if playing a native Canthan character, the next mission in Vizunah Square has you fighting the Afflicted to reach another team of players, coming from either Tyria (if Prophecies character) or Elona (a Nightfall character). A foreign character playing through Factions would begin their campaign in this mission as well, starting from a different mission outpost, and fighting through a different route, to meet up with the native Canthan team. Before the mission, a flashback is played where Shiro, before he is a bodyguard to the Emperor, is confronted by an old fortuneteller woman. She tells Shiro that she sees great things in his future, and that he would be remembered for generations. Shiro brushes off the woman and continues on his way. In the mission and after the two parties had met, they proceeded to try and find the source of the plague. They find that indeed Shiro Tagachi has returned, as a spirit he is building an army. Togo and the PC discover that the Affliction is not a disease, but the result of living creatures getting too close to Shiro’s evil spirit. Whether or not this was done on purpose by Shiro, or simply an unintended result is unknown. In either case Shiro uses the Afflicted in his schemes, but he sets loose a new creation, the Shiro’ken. Shiro had taken spirits and bound them to constructs to serve his will, creating an army of powerful warriors. After the party is able to defeat this Shiro’ken, Shiro manifests himself and kills everyone present, having dealt with them, he leaves to continue building his army. As the players lay dead, several mysterious spirits appear and after debating among themselves, they return them all to life. The spirits explain that they are Envoys, the spirits of terrible criminals guilty of horrendous crimes in their mortal lives. As punishment for their evil deeds, Envoys are tasked with taking the recently dead to The Mists. Shiro was one of these Envoys, but has since been taking the souls he was supposed to be bringing to The Mists and turning them into Shiro’ken. The Envoys cannot fight Shiro, as the Envoys cannot fight each other, so they task the PC and the others with taking Shiro down, in exchange for returning them all to life. To this end they suggest they become Weh no Su “Closer to The Stars” (this is the same thing as becoming Ascendend in Guild Wars: Prophecies). Only by becoming Weh no Su can they even see Shiro, and thus be able to stop him.

Guidance From The Past

The PC and the party proceed to Nahpui Quarter, there they must prove themselves worthy by fighting celestial creatures, each representing a human vice. After defeating them, the player is finally Weh no Su, and is granted access to the sacred Tahnnakai Temple, where spirits of Cantha’s greatest heroes are honored. Among them are Vizu, the Spirit of the assassin that helped taken down Shiro 200 years ago, Togo believes she may possess knowledge in defeating Shiro now. They arrive almost too late, as Shiro has started binding the spirits of the heroes into his Shiro’ken. The party is able to free all the heroes before they are bent to Shiro’s will. Speaking with the spirit of Vizu, she reveals that while she was responsible for incapacitating Shiro 200 years ago, the death blow was struck by Saint Viktor and Archemorus of the Kurzick and Luxon people respectively. Vizu tells them to seek out their spirits, Archemorus’ spirit resides in an ancient spear made of his bones, and Saint Viktor’s urn, housing his ashes, also holds his spirit. After this mission, another flashback plays, with Shiro going to meet the fortune teller. She tells Shiro that great things are coming to him soon, and that the Emperor has his eye on him. The next scene has the Emperor appointing Shiro Tagachi as his personal bodyguard, seeming to prove the fortune teller’s prediction true.

Relics of The Past

Mhenlo and Togo decide to split up, as Mhenlo has a personal connection with the Kurzicks, so Togo leaves to work with the Luxons, as he knows the Elder of The Turtle Clan, Elder Rhea. Mhenlo and the party meet Danika, the daughter of Count zu Heltzer, leader of one of the Great Houses of the Kurzicks. With her help they head to the petrified Echovald Forest to meet with Count zu Heltzer, in requesting the use of Saint Viktor’s urn. The Count agrees to help Mhenlo, but Cathedral zu Heltzer, where the urn is stored, has become corrupted, and the wards put up no longer recognize and responded to the Kurzicks. The PC and party fight their way into the Cathedral, fighting corrupted guardians along the way.They are finally able to locate, and secure the Urn, but as soon as it is removed the Cathedral begins to crumble. The party barely escapes, but almost as soon as they are able to savor victory, Togo appears with news with the Luxons. They will agree to let them use the Spear of Archemorus, but only if they can win the right to wield it in a tournament known as the Convocation. The Convocation is an event where all the Luxon Champions fight for the privilege to wield the spear, and use it to slay the legendary kraken Zhu Hanuku, a legendary Sea Spirit that rises every year. The PC enters this tournament, and is able to best the champions, and the Kraken, and finally, the Spear is awarded to them. With the Spear and Urn, the PC heads back to Kaineng City, where news reaches them that an attack by Shiro and his army seems to be imminent. In the Undercity below Kaineng, Shiro is opening spirit rifts, bringing in legions of bound spirits to fight for him. The PC destroys the rifts, and the powerful constructs guarding the rifts. Finally, they confront Shiro, who merges with a bound spirit to fight them. Using the Urn and Spear, the PC is able to fight Shiro, and as his construct is destroyed he is nowhere to be found. Unsure if Shiro is defeated, the Envoys appear to the party once again and reveal that The Betrayer is not gone for good, but a great blow has been struck against him. The Spear and Urn were destroyed in the fight with Shiro, but it matters not, as the Envoys reveal that they will not be enough to destroy him this time. The Envoys tell them they must unite the warring Luxon and Kurzick people together, to fight as their champions did 200 years ago, and take down Shiro. It is here that the PC must make a decision, go with Mhenlo to try and convice the Kurzicks to lend their strength, or with Master Togo, and seek the power of the Luxons. Another flashback is shown, this time the Fortuneteller has grim news for Shiro, newly appointed royal bodyguard. She tells Shiro that the Emperor plans to kill him in the Harvest Temple, that he is afraid of his power. Shiro can’t believe it, but she tells him that he would have to make a choice, his life, or the Emperor’s.

(While it is possible to do both of these next missions after you beat the game, since you must choose which faction to join, Kurzick or Luxon, these next missions happens at the same time)

Factions United

If choosing to join the Kurzicks, they welcome the PC and ask for their help in bringing 3 of their people to the Eternal Grove. These 3 have volunteered to become Juggernauts, plant constructs that are created by binding the soul of a human volunteer to one of the Forever Trees. These Juggernauts are immortal, as long as the tree they are bound to lives, the Juggernaut will spawn at the tree if destroyed in battle. These Juggernauts act as eternal guardians of the Kurzicks. While preforming the ceremony, The Awakening, Luxons attack, trying to kill the Trees, preventing the creation of more Juggernauts. The PC is able to fend off the Luxon attackers, but soon the Luxons return, this time surrendering. The Luxons are fleeing an attack by the Afflicted that have entered the Echovald Forest. Using the situation at hand, the PC convinces the Kurzicks and the Luxon to put aside their rivalry and work together. Together, they are victorious, and an alliance is forged, if only for the time being.

If the PC chooses to join the Luxons, Elder Rhea  has them prove their worthiness to her people. One of the tasks is to take newly hatched Siege Turtles into the Leviathan Pits to be raised. As they are escorting the Turtles, Kurzick raiders attack them, trying to kill the turtles. As they battle, the Kurzicks are suddenly attacked from behind by Afflicted, and it become apparent that the Afflicted will overrun them all if they don’t fight together. A fragile alliance is struck, and the Kurzick and Luxon people fight as one, stopping the Afflicted. 

After either mission, Togo is said to be heading to the epicenter of the Jade Wind, the remains of the Harvest Temple. He hopes to get advice and help with Shiro from the ancient Saltspray Dragon Kuunavang, who was trapped beneath the Harvest Temple during the Jade Wind.

Where it All Began

Another flashback is seem before this mission. Shiro and the Emperor are seen approaching the Harvest Temple. A guard welcomes the Emperor, but informs him that he is supposed to enter alone, as that has always been the case. The Emperor orders the guard to let Shiro and the rest of his escort pass, that ‘there has been a change of plans’. The Fortuneteller’s words ring in Shiro’s mind, this deviation from tradition, coupled with the correct predictions that the Fortuneteller has already made, convinces Shiro that his life is in danger. He had made his choice.

Once the mission starts, it is found that Kunnavang has become corrupted by Shiro. Fighting through waves of Afflicted, the PC and their Kurzick and Luxon allies, finally reach the corrupted dragon. They are able to defeat her, and break Shiro’s hold on her. Along with the appearance of the Envoys, Shiro’s true intentions are finally discovered. He has been searching for a spell that will return him to life. He is almost finished, but he is missing one very important component, the blood of the imperial line. 

The Betrayer Lives

The PC and their party rush to the Palace, realizing that Shiro planned to kill the Emperor in order to return to life. They are too late to warn him though, as the Palace is overrun with Shiro’ken by the time they arrive. Shiro is almost to the Emperor, so the PC and their allies, fight their way into the inner sanctum. They arrive to see Shiro about to strike down the Emperor, but Master Togo steps in to take the fatal blow for his brother. Master Togo is killed by Shiro, and unfortunately his death is the last component Shiro needs for his spell, as he is of imperial blood. Although not the intended target, Shiro has what he needs, he leaves, ready to prepare his spell. Master Togo is mourned, but not for long, as the greatest enemy to Cantha breathes once again.

Shiro was now returned to life, in his mortal body he now had access to all his former power as a legendary assassin. This body did come with a risk, he was indeed mortal once again, so death was once again a reality for him. He worried little, he was eager to enter battle again, starting with the PC and their allies. The Inner Sanctum of the Emperor’s Palace would be the setting of the final confrontation with Shiro. A formidable foe, he was able to hold his own against the heroes. Finally, after a hard fought fight, Shiro, was slain again. As he died, Oracles of The Mists sealed his mortal body in Jade, probably preventing another Jade Wind. Shiro then appears as a spirit, angry, he demands the Envoys release him. But this time Shiro is not an Envoy, he is simply a lost spirit, and rather than make the mistake of giving him that power again, the Envoys seal him away in a ‘Special’ part of the Underworld. The Envoys thank the heroes for their work, telling them that they will be waiting for them to join them in the Afterlife, but to live a long and happy life till then. Shiro was defeated, the plague was no longer spreading, and the Kurzicks and Luxons had struck a fragile alliance. Peace was in Cantha, but many questions remained. Why had Shiro so easily turned on the Emperor, how had he gained so much power. These questions would remain unanswered for a few short years. For in another part of the world, on another continent, another power was awakening, something forgotten, erased from history for its crimes, sought revenge. Its power has been felt throughout the whole world, even if those affected were never aware. Seemingly unrelated events would be revealed to be connected by one long thread, and a common enemy would be revealed…

Alright guys, that’s it for this week’s lore post! Next week we move onto the final standalone campaign for the original Guild Wars, Nightfall. See you then!

-Karn Vileclaw

  1. Sunset in Oia , Santorini
  2. Symi
  3. Porto katsiki , Lefkada
  4. Arta
  5. Herodes Atticus Theater

  6. Meteora Monastery

  7. Parthenon

  8. Zákinthos Island

  9. Beach of Papafragas in Milos
  10. Petros … the famous pelican of Mykonos island

Wanted to make another one … so here it is .. once again , my beautiful country : Greece♥

Some exceptional places to visit on Earth. Part 2

26 Italie: Santa Maria Island ~ The Monastery of Santa Maria dell'Isola was built on a rocky cliff near the beach in Tropea, Italy.

France 27: The Gardens of Marqueyssac ~ Marqueyssac gardens - Belvedere of the Dordogne are in the town of Vézac in a historic park of 22 hectares.

28. Philippinnes : Labassin Waterfall Restaurant ~ This restaurant in the Philippines offers its guests to eat their feet in the water. An artificial waterfall was built for the occasion.

29 Iran: The Mosquée Nasir-ol-Molk ~ The mosque Nasir-ol -Molk is a Shiite mosque in the province of Fars in Iran. It was built from 1876 to 1888 and is full of colors.

30 Russia: Pillars Nature Park in Lena ~ These natural stone columns measure several tens of meters high and are formed by a process of erosion.

31. Thaïlande : Le Temple Blanc Wat Rong Khun ~ Wat Rong Khun is a place of worship entirely white south of Chiang Rai in Thailand.

32. Singapour : Le Parc Gardens by the Bay ~ Green space with remarkable biodiversity, built for more than 625 million. This giant park measures 101 hectares and includes three gardens.

33 United States: Kansas City Library ~ A novel architecture for the library of Kansas City, which offers a facade shaped ledgers stored.

34 Ukraine and Russia: Mount Ai-Petri ~ Ai-Petri is a mountain 1,230 meters high located in the region of Yalta in the Crimea.

35 Egypt: The Library of Alexandria ~ The Library of Alexandria was built in 1995 and cost $ 220 million. It was inaugurated in October 2002.

36 France: Le Moulin de l'Abbaye ~ Le Moulin de l'Abbaye is a luxury hotel located in Brantôme-en-Perigord in the Dordogne. It is a luxury of the Perigord.

37 Pérou: Oasis of Huacachina ~ Huacachina is a village in the Ica Region, in southwestern Peru has an oasis. In 1999, only 115 people lived there.

38 Mexico: The Marieta Islands ~ The Marieta Islands are an uninhabited archipelago off the coast of Nayarit, Mexico. It is an old military became protected national park area.

39 Sri Lanka: The lion rock Sigiriya ~ Sigiriya (Lion’s Rock) is a major archaeological site, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

40 Portugal: Le Fort of São João Baptista ~ The Fort of São João Baptista is a seventeenth century fort located on the island of Berlengas in front of the port city of Peniche in central Portugal.

41 Canada: Montreal Botanical Garden ~ The Montreal Botanical Garden is located in Montreal, Quebec and is one of the largest botanical gardens in the world. It was created in June 1931.

42 Thailand: Phraya Nakhon Cave ~ A Buddhist temple built in the middle of the cave Phraya Nakhon Thailand is illuminated by the light of heaven.

Australie-Occidentale 43: Le lac rose of Middle Island ~ The Hillier lake on the island of Middle Island has a water pink, the cause remains unexplained. It was discovered in 1802 by a British explorer.

44 South Korea: Jeju-do Island ~ Jeju-do is a province and a sub-tropical island of South Korea oval.

France 45: The Ark Breakthrough Chartreuse ~ Discovered only in 2005, the double arch of the Breakthrough Tour is located in the Alps.

46 Turkmenistan: The Gates of Hell ~ The gate of hell (Door to Hell) is a hotbed of natural gas burning continuously since it was lit by Soviet scientists in 1971.

47 China: The sunken city of Shi Cheng ~ Qiandao Lake is based in the city of Shi Cheng, about 1300 years old, it is immersed for 53 years in the deep waters.

48. Maroc: Le Souk de Fes ~ In the souk of Fez in Morocco is one of the oldest tanneries in the world.

49 U.S.: The Fly Geyser ~ Fly Geyser is a small geyser in Washoe County, Nevada, which gives the impression of a brown ooze greenish color.

50 Belize: Le Grand Bleu Hole ~ The Great Blue Hole is an underwater cenote off the coast of Belize. It is almost circular with a diameter of 300m and 120m deep.

51 Brazil: Mount Roraima ~ The mountain also serves as the triple border point of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana.