A Viking berserker (or “berserk”) was a fierce warrior who fought in battle with a frenzied and wild state of mind. The word “berserker” comes from the Old Norse words “berserkr,” which means “bear shirt” or “bearskin.”
According to historical accounts, berserkers would work themselves into a trance-like state before going into battle. They would wear animal skins or bear shirts, and some accounts suggest they may have consumed hallucinogenic substances to increase their battle frenzy.
In battle, berserkers were known for their incredible strength, fearlessness, and ferocity. They were said to fight with such reckless abandon that they would sometimes even attack their own comrades. They were also believed to be impervious to pain and injury, and were often used as shock troops or as the first line of attack in a battle.
While there is some debate among historians about the actual existence of berserkers, they have become a popular figure in modern culture, appearing in movies, TV shows, and video games.
Viking berserkers were active in Ireland during the Viking Age (approximately 793-1066 CE) when the Vikings from Scandinavia raided and settled in various parts of Ireland. The Annals of Ulster, a medieval Irish chronicle, describes the activities of Viking warriors, including berserkers, in Ireland during this period.
Vikings faced resistance and defeat from various Irish kingdoms and leaders over the course of their presence in Ireland. Some notable figures who are known for opposing the Vikings include Brian Boru, who defeated a Viking coalition at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014, and Máel Sechnaill mac Máele Ruanaid in the 9th century. However, the Vikings also had significant influence on Irish culture and society during their time in Ireland.