Fresh from seeing Robert Eggers’ brutal, blood-pumping Viking action flick The Northman? No doubt you’ll be dying (figuratively, of course) to immerse yourself in the Viking world, to learn more about longboats, sagas, Valhalla and more. So here’s a handy guide: where to go to dive deep into Viking lore and visit some of the film’s spectacular landscapes.
The Northman’s plot takes it from Scotland to the Kievan Rus and finally to Iceland, but nearly all of the film was actually shot in Northern Ireland. Naomi Liston, The Northman’s location manager, explains her task: ‘I was looking for three countries. Hrafnsey [the opening fort] was meant to be in Scotland, Fjölnir’s farm was Iceland and then the Slav village, where the massacre took place, was in Russia. So I had to find this whole continent in Northern Ireland.’
But just because the film wasn’t shot exactly where it’s set, don’t think for a second that the settings aren’t realistic, or, for that matter, any less stunning. Eggers is renowned for being a meticulous filmmaker whose works are insanely well-researched and historically accurate – and The Northman, from its headdresses and swords to rituals and folklore, is no different. If he was satisfied with a location’s Viking credentials, you know they’re legit.
And Northern Ireland has plenty of Viking ties of its own, notes Liston. ‘There’s an island called Rathlin Island where there’s the remains of Iron Age people, and Vikings went to that island as well,’ she says. ‘Historically, I couldn’t give Robert [Eggers] a better setting.’
Plenty of The Northman’s key locations are perfectly visitable – with no longboat required. Below we’ve compiled a list of places where you can immerse yourself in the Viking world, from picture-perfect landscapes to comprehensive museums. On to Valhalla!