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Dublin Lidl built on Viking ruins has a glass floor so shoppers can see 11th century house below


A new Lidl built on 11th century Irish-Viking ruins in Dublin has used glass floors to allow shoppers to look at the structure below.

The Lidl on Aungier Street in the Irish capital opened on October 15 and managers have made an effort to showcase the significant archaeological finds on the site.

It lies in what is thought to have been a Hiberno-Norse suburb of Dublin.

The Hiberno-Norse were the descendants of Vikings in Ireland and had mixture of Gaelic and Scandinavian heritage.  

The store shows the preserved medieval domestic structure built by Hiberno-Norse Dubliners in 1070 AD

The store shows the preserved medieval domestic structure built by Hiberno-Norse Dubliners in 1070 AD

A new Lidl built on 11th century Irish-Viking ruins on Aungier Street, Dublin, has used glass floors to allow shoppers to look at the structure below

A new Lidl built on 11th century Irish-Viking ruins on Aungier Street, Dublin, has used glass floors to allow shoppers to look at the structure below

The Lidl features a glass window in the floor allowing customers to see the preserved domestic structure below, as well as information displays about the site. 

Speaking to RTÉ News, archaeological site director Paul Duffy said: ‘It’s a unique structure for Dublin. We don’t know of anything quite like this in the city. 

‘I’m sure it functioned as many things. As a house, as an extra space for the family.

‘It’s a domestic structure, so you would imagine there would have been a suburb here of Hiberno-Norse Dubliners, who were effectively the ancestors of the Vikings.’ 

The Lidl also features the remains of 18th century Aungier Theatre staircase (pictured) and Longford Street Arches, which can be viewed in different areas of the store

The Lidl also features the remains of 18th century Aungier Theatre staircase (pictured) and Longford Street Arches, which can be viewed in different areas of the store

Vincent Cronolly of Lidl Ireland said: 'The two main archaeological features we've showcased underneath glass panels in the store floor itself'

Vincent Cronolly of Lidl Ireland said: ‘The two main archaeological features we’ve showcased underneath glass panels in the store floor itself’

Built around 1070 AD, the structure was found during the excavations at the Scape development and provides a remarkable insight into how people once lived. 

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 one hundred years, different generations used the sunken-floored structure in multiple ways and it burned to the ground at least once. 

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. 

Vikings from Norway, Sweden and Denmark went and conquered different lands. The Danes went to England, the Swedes to the Baltics and the Norwegian natives conquered Scotland, Ireland, Iceland and Greenland

Vikings from Norway, Sweden and Denmark went and conquered different lands. The Danes went to England, the Swedes to the Baltics and the Norwegian natives conquered Scotland, Ireland, Iceland and Greenland

The Lidl features a glass window in the floor allowing customers to see the preserved domestic structure below, as well as information displays (pictured) about the site

The Lidl features a glass window in the floor allowing customers to see the preserved domestic structure below, as well as information displays (pictured) about the site

The building is unlikely to have been a home given its small size but was probably a space used for storage or craft activities. 

It survived because it was sunken, unlike the surrounding community of houses, outbuildings and plots that have now disappeared. 

The Lidl also features the remains of 18th century Aungier Theatre staircase and Longford Street Arches, which can be viewed in different areas of the store.

Vincent Cronolly of Lidl Ireland said: ‘The two main archaeological features we’ve showcased underneath glass panels in the store floor itself.

‘We then have a lot of information displays around the store to help people interpret that.

The Hiberno-Norse were the descendants of Vikings in Ireland, having mixed Gaelic and Scandinavian heritage

The Hiberno-Norse were the descendants of Vikings in Ireland, having mixed Gaelic and Scandinavian heritage

‘So I think it’s a very unique opportunity for people to come and see a bit of medieval Dublin while doing the weekly shop.’ 

On its opening, Lidl Aungier Street donated to €500 to Simon Community and ALONE each to support the ongoing work they do for the homeless and elderly people living alone in the Dublin City area.

Opening the store on October 15, Dublin senior ladies’ footballer Sinéad Goldrick said: ‘I am delighted to officially open Lidl Aungier Street this morning. 

‘It is incredible to see such a commercial appreciation for the archaeological environment in the preservation and display of the archaeological finds – what a wonderful way to keep our local history alive.

‘The store is a very welcomed addition to the locality and I am very much looking forward to the smell of freshly baked breads and pastries from the store’s bakery each day.’

THE VIKING AGE LASTED FROM AROUND 700–1,110 AD

The Viking age in European history was from about 700 to 1,100 AD.

During this period many Vikings left their homelands in Scandinavia and travelled by longboat to other countries, like Britain and Ireland.

When the people of Britain first saw the Viking longboats they came down to the shore to welcome them. 

However, the Vikings fought the local people, stealing from churches and burning buildings to the ground.

The people of Britain called the invaders ‘Danes’, but they came from Norway and Sweden as well as Denmark.

The name ‘Viking’ comes from a language called ‘Old Norse’ and means ‘a pirate raid’.

The first Viking raid recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle was around 787 AD.

It was the start of a fierce struggle between the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings.

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