The Embassy plays an important role in fostering the strong and close relationship between Ireland and Norway.
There is a strong historical bond between the two countries, with Vikings originating from Scandinavia founding many of the most important cities in Ireland such as Dublin, Cork and Waterford. Although the Vikings are remembered in popular folklore primarily as marauders and despoilers of monasteries, they were also great traders and did much to develop commerce in medieval Ireland. Norse art influenced Irish art and church architecture and the Vikings were responsible for trading Irish produce throughout Europe and developed considerable economic power, particularly in Dublin. Many of the Irish words related to boats and shipping stem from Old Norse. Ireland conversely also influenced Norway in this period, with many Vikings bringing Christianity to Norway upon returning from Ireland. St. Sunniva, honoured as the patron saint of Western Norway, was daughter of a tenth century Irish king and arrived in Norway around 950.
Diplomatic relations between Ireland and Norway were formally established on 17th February 1950 when the Norwegian Ambassador in London, H.E. C. Prebensen, was also accredited as Ambassador to Ireland. The Norwegian Embassy in Dublin was established in 1983 and the first Norwegian Ambassador to Ireland was appointed in 1987. The Irish Embassy in Oslo was established in 2000 and before this point Ireland was represented in Norway by the Irish Embassy in Copenhagen. The current Ambassador to Norway is His Excellency Keith McBean, and the current Norwegian Ambassador to Ireland is Her Excellency Else Berit Eikeland.
Ireland and Norway work closely together in many spheres, both being countries with significant overseas aid programmes and a shared commitment to international cooperation through active membership of the United Nations. While there exists a strong bilateral trade and cultural links between Ireland and Norway, much of the bilateral relationship is now framed in the context of Norway's engagement with the European Union. The Embassy assists and facilitates this relationship via engagement locally with relevant political, social and economic actors. The economic links between the two countries are furthered with the assistance of the various State Agencies operating in the Nordic region.