Vikings are much maligned
This reconstructed ship, The Sea Stallion, took a crew back to Ireland and England in 2007, returning in 2008. See the film at the Museum. Glendalough is a monastery, now a ruin, in Ireland. See Glendalough, open to Viking raids. It was subject to repeated raids during the Viking years, by Vikings; but also was targeted by other monasteries and Irish.
The waterways giving access for the Vikings are now largely silted.
- To be reconsidered. We now learn that the Irish monasteries had long been warring among themselves, raiding, abbot against abbot, and Irish people raiding the monasteries on their own. See http://www.deremilitari.org/resources/articles/fitzpatrick.htm
- The Vikings, emerging only after Charlemagne had slaughtered the 4500 Saxon prisoners at Sachsenhain in 782, see http://germanyroadways.blogspot.com/2011/02/sachsenhain-saxons-grove-charlemagnes.html, appear to have a fine provocation: protection of their own lands (Saxon lands adjoined the Dane) and religious and cultural life.
- The Viking era was a drop of blood in the bucket compared to the religious zeal of the Western Church before and after it separated from the Orthodox after the 1054 Schism, and the Gregorian reforms to centralize control in Rome, and the Crusades, and Inquisition, etc. See http://faculty.cua.edu/pennington/ChurchHistory220/Lecture%20Three/UrbanSpeech.htm
- Timeline : http://usna.edu/Users/history/abels/hh315/timeline%20gregorian%20reform.htm
That said, the topography looks tame now, but the fjords cut deep into the country, and this town was long vulnerable to raids from other Viking communities to the North - Norway and Sweden. And, conversely, Norwegian and Swedish Viking communties raided Denmark. At one point, several old (old even then) Viking ships were filled with rocks and sunk at the mouth of the fjord at Roskilde, the old capital, as a protection against invasion, and those ships are now in the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde. See
Topography and history. Fjords in concept represent the depth and length of waterway, not whether there are mountains on either side.
If anything, lack of mountains, as in Denmark, and most of Sweden, increases the vulnerability. No place to hide, as in Ireland where the rivers led deep into the country. The towns that used to be on the coast, even closer to open water than now, are now quietly inland with the silting up of the mouths of the fjords. See ://www.vikingeskibsmuseet.dk/index.php?id=1246&no_cache=1&L=1
The angles and curves of the Viking ship - art. Respect the skill, the design.
Again, the Sea Stallion: scourge of Glendalough.
Find it at http://www.rte.ie/vikings/
The ideal first stop after the airport is Roskilde - not just for the Cathedral, but for Vikings. Here is the Viking Ship Museum, complete with costumes available to enhance the experience -