Posted 2022-08-25 by Gail Clifford MDfollow
A little history with LiDL Grocery Shopping on Aungier Street, Dublin.

An easy thing to love about living in Dublin is the immersion into history. How many places do you know where you can walk into the grocery store and find structures from a thousand years ago? You can on Aungier Street in Dublin 2.

An easy walk from the Chester Beatty Library and Dublin Castle, we first went to LiDL thinking it was the Irish equivalent of ALDI's which, in Europe, is a great place to purchase fruit and veg and Belgium chocolates. Turns out, they're competitors, but equally good for quality produce at excellent prices.

The surprising thing became strolling in with a grocery cart and rolling right over glass… and a sunken structure below. As other shoppers went about their business, we read the signs and snapped photographs of this very unusual experience. After all, neither Australia nor the United States can boast archeological digs from the 1070s in their markets.

Throughout Dublin, there are signs of relics from centuries ago. One of the most contentious, perhaps, is a government building close to Christ Church Cathedral. When ancient objects were found, a protest arose to prevent the completion of the structure. Modern needs won out with a concession of bronze images of the found objects becoming part of the sidewalk, allowing travellers and locals alike to walk across history.

But here at LiDL, in one of the original "suburbs" outside the walled city of Dublin, this sunken structure, too small for a house, so likely a storage or craft area, was used for more than a century:

"It was built by digging a pit in the ground and lining it with blocks of local calp limestone, before laying a floor of planks and building an overarching structure of post and wattle, roofed with thatch.For about 100 years, different generations used the sunken floored structure in multiple ways; At least once, it burned to the ground. Undeterred, its inhabitants rebuilt, raising the floor level with clay, realigned the entrance passage, constructed a new doorway and installed a stone-lined cistern fed with water from outside by a gully. [ Source ]"

Can you imagine if it was the original she shed? I can already hear you laughing that it had to have been his tool shed and workshop first!

With archeological techniques ever advancing, this area has been preserved in its current state, with an understanding of how it functioned. Who knows what we may learn about it in the future? But continue through the chips or paper product aisles back to the frozen section and be properly amazed.

Right in the middle of the floor resides the Medieval remains of the Church of St. Peter. Radiocarbon dated to between 1028 and 1155, this would be a compatriot of Christ Church Cathedral, built within the walled Dublin City c. 1030.

St. Peter's functioned as a church, the excavation and foundations reveal, well into the 1700s through famine, plague, wars, and fire. "An unusual arrangement of internal walls suggests the church had a central tower: maybe a bell tower, or priest lodgings. Roof tiles and decorated floor tiles were also recovered, along with rare fragments of painted plaster. These were found towards the eastern side of the church, thus closest to the altar, indicating that the walls were decorated with colorful images. Of these, a cross motif and a fragment of a nimbus or halo confirms the building's religious nature. These beautiful objects give us a glimpse of parishioners' lived experience here hundreds of years ago."

Finally, our walk through history takes us to just 300 years ago, still before the United States (1776) or Australia (1788) were established, to 1733 with The Aungier Street Theatre. Illustrations show what archeologists learned about the "pit trap" found during excavations, a theatrical device used to raise actors to the stage a hundred years before elevators became commonly used.

Illustrations here show a Theatre Poster for the Theatre Royale, a short-lived success, at just 13 years due to the building's terrible acoustics. Re-development consumed the theater property, but examination of the foundation, both walls and timber supports, allowed for the building's floor plan to be partially reconstructed.

These findings remind us of how adaptable the Irish people remain. The past lies beneath our feet as we go about providing sustenance for ourselves and our families. This blending of past and present can represent the harmonious combination of the original Gaels with the Scandinavian Vikings who came to plunder and pillage yet ultimately integrate through marriage, convert to Christianity, and accept the language, customs, and social mores of the Irish.

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81167 - 2023-06-11 06:04:17


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