Northmavine Up Helly Aa 2012
The 2012 Northmavine Up Helly Aa took place on Friday 17th February, with Guizer Jarl Mark Kearney representing Thorkill Haraldson. This years galley was named Solheimavagr (Sullom Voe). The shields were designed and painted by primary school bairns from Urafirth, North Roe and Ollaberry.
About the Jarl's Saga:
Thorkill Haraldson (c.807-845), was a son of Harald Harfagra, King of Norway. As a young boy Thorkill would listen intently to his father tell of plunderous Viking raids and was especially intrigued by tales of the mystical island of Ireland.
As he matured Thorkill often considered his fathers' descriptions of the Irish clans fiercely warring, while their monasteries remained as sanctuaries for high ranking people, for riches, and for livestock as well as ecclesiastical wealth and ornaments, surely a tempting proposition for the young Jarl. In the Early Summer of 830 Thorkill began assembling a raiding party of Longships in the sheltered waters of his mothers native Solheim.
Thorkill sailed down through the Norse commonwealth of Islands from Shetland to Orkney and the Hebrides, gathering numbers of willing cohorts on his way, finally consolidating his fleet at the Isle of Man.
In the Spring of 831 the fleet set off from Man for Mill Bay and on to Lough Neagh defeating an Irish fleet of coracles, then attacked the greatest religious establishment of Ireland, Armagh the seat of the heir of St. Patrick. The usual Viking raid was a hit-and-run strike, designed to capture the maximum amount of valuable goods and then flee the vicinity before the Irish could mount an effective response but Thorkill was not one for fleeing and proceeded to take the great monastery at Clonmacnoise, where his queen Ota, a priestess, gave prophecies from the high altar.
Eventually Thorkill conquered all of Leth Chuinn, the northern half of Ireland, and made peace with the ruling Ui Neill meeting at the standing stone near Cairncastle.
The Ui Neill of Ulster held the wolf dear as it was said that their ancestor Cormac mac airt was raised by the wolves that inhabited the hills above their settlements, and Thorkill promised that as long as he was their Chieftain the wolves would be left to roam free. This may well be why Lame Lough was known as Wolfrickfjord in Norse times.
Thorkills men were known as Dubh-Gaill or "black foreigners", possibly due to their black garb and their notoriety attracted more numbers to his already impressive ranks. Thorkill next led a fleet of 120 Viking ships to attack all Ireland. Sixty ships sailed up the river Liffey and a further sixty up the river Boyne. Thorkill led the Liffey invaders and captured villages, one of which was the present location of Dublin. He erected a fort where now stands Dublin castle. He also built forts around the loughs Ree, Neagh and Lene; most notably on Lough Lene where an island still bears his name today.
After ruling for almost fifteen years and capturing most of Ireland, Thorkill was defeated by Malachy, Meath Ui Neill by trickery. Malachy offered his daughter to Thorkill. She was taken to his castle accompanied by 15 handmaidens. These were young soldiers in disguise who captured Thorkill and had the Norse king of Dublin drowned in Loch Owel. This proved a serious reverse for the Northmen, Malachy became the Ard Ri, and built a fleet which had several successes over the Vikings and the Norse influence on Ireland gradually wained.
Thorkill was known as a chieftain with vision, ambition, and good luck and was regarded as The King of Dublin.
Text from the programme.
Jarl Squad Members: Mark Kearney (Guizer Jarl), Carlyn Johnson, Gerry Kearney, Sean Kearney, Ella Majdan, Neil Hay, Gary Johnson, Rowan Johnson, Stuart Henry, Hannah Hunter, Martyn Nicolson, John Robertson, Scott Johnson, Brydon Anderson, Fraser Anderson, Andy Johnson, Bobby Poleson, Dean Johnson, Grant Johnson, Lawrence Johnson, John Tait, Joe Tait, Vaila Tait, Ewen Balfour, Leslie Irvine, Kevin Sutherland, Gary Sutherland, Karis Sutherland, Robbie Sutherland, Liam Sutherland, Barry Anderson, Lauren Anderson, Ryan Anderson, Martin Gilbertson, Murray Jamieson, Mark Anderson, Raymond Fraser, Liam Doull, James Manson, Laurie Manson, Craig Irvine, Isla Irvine, Logan Eunson, Darren Fullerton, Derek Robertson, Richard Allen.
Squads: 1. Jarl's Squad, 2. Al-Pac-Aa-Me-Bag-Nort!, 3. Strictly Northmavine, 4. Big Down Under, 5. For Ships and Giggles, 6. Olympie Blinkie, 7. Operation Jarl Squad, 8. Shear Hellery, 9. Sooper-Dooper-OO, 10. Lets Dance, 11. Hurricane Blaw Bag, 12. I Could Do With a Tug, 13. A Dose O Da Scoots, 14. Look at Dem Balls.
Jarl's Squad Programme
9.15am - Visit Brae Primary School
10.15am - Visit Urafirth Primary School
11.15am - Visit Ollaberry Primary School
12.15pm - Visit North Roe Primary School
1.00pm - Lunch at North Roe & Lochend Hall
2.30pm - Jarl's squad photos at the waterfront, Hillswick
7.30pm - Squads assemble at the Hillswick Hall
8.00pm - Light up and procession of guizers to the loch at Urafirth for the burning of the galley.
During the Day
Jarl's Squad at Urafirth Primary School.
Jarl's Squad entering Urafirth School & Singing Up Helly Aa Song.
Jarl's Squad singing own song at Urafirth School.
Jarl's Squad at Ollaberry Primary School.
This years galley was named Solheimavagr (Sullom Voe). During the afternoon some of the Jarl's Squad also posed on a second 'floating' galley on the sea off the Booth at Hillswick.
Galley Shields, port side, bow to stern, as they appeared on galley.
Galley Shields, starboard side, stern to bow, as they appeared on galley.