MVA activities are mainly focused (although not exclusively) around the area of Strangford Lough. Historical evidence of Vikings in the Lough and the surrounding area is found in the Annals of Ulster. There are many direct entries relating to the region and evidence demonstrates convincingly that there was an established Viking Settlement in Strangford Lough in the 10th century. It was the Vikings that named the lough 'Strongfjiord' due to the strength of currents encountered by them.
In 924 it is documented that the Vikings arrived in the lough in a fleet of ships and in 942 their expulsion and the capture of their 'island' is mentioned. This is followed in 943 by the record of a decisive victory by the Leth Cathail. Whilst this historical evidence indicates the 'Vikings of Loch Cuan' had a Longphort at Strangford Lough in the mid 10th century no archaeological trace has yet been found. Many believe Strangford Village may be a strong contender due to its strategic location on the Lough & its history of being a landing point documented back to the 13th century.
A Viking hoard of mixed Viking material was found in 1835 in Magheralaganabout 5km outside Downpatrick. It is one of only a small number of Viking hoards found in Ireland and again proves Viking activity in the area.
In 1103 King Magnus Barelegs of Norway was killed 1km SW of Downpatrick at a place Ordnance Survey have designated 'Magnus' Grave'. He is well known in Irish & Scottish folklore as a hero in Icelandic Sagas and was ambushed & killed by the Ulaid. Although the account of his death was written in Iceland it describes the Quoile estuary thus linking him to the locale for eternity. It is Magnus Barelegs who gives the MVA its name and has enabled us to build strong links to similar organisations in Norway. Further reading about Magnus Barelegs can be found at:
If you are interested in reading more about these historical Viking activities a good place to start is a superb book called "Strangford Lough : An Archaeological Survey". McErlean, McConkey, Forsythe. Published 2002 Blackstaff Press.