Dublin Grocery Store Installs Glass Floor for Shoppers to View Viking History Just Below

Medieval Hiberno-Norse Dubliners House Dublin Lidl

A glass floor allows customers to gaze upon medieval Viking ruins under a Dublin Lidl store.

Most grocery stores look similar—colorful displays of fruits, a butcher's counter, and checkout lines are normal features. However, shoppers in one new Lidl grocery store in Dublin will have a unique experience as they pick up their weekly supplies. Opened in mid-October, the store was built directly over an 11th-century archeological site. Rather than build over the medieval Viking building, the store opted to include several sections of glass flooring, making the excavated ruin an educational part of the shopping experience.

The ruins upon which customers will gaze were discovered during construction for a commercial development. Exploring the site, archeologists discovered the small structure inset into the ground. The medieval builders dug the foundation before lining the walls with stone; an arched wooden structure stood above. This small building was probably a storage or craft space, surrounded by above-ground dwellings which have not survived. As reported by RTE News, researchers also discovered everyday artifacts including a 13th-century clay pitcher.

The structure was built by the Hiberno-Norse people who lived in an enclave of Dublin during the Middle Ages. While the term Hiberno-Norse is contested in scholarship, common use refers to populations with Gaelic and Scandinavian heritage. Seafaring Vikings from Norway had arrived in Ireland by the 9th century, and they intermarried with Gaelic locals. A dynasty of powerful Hiberno-Norse lords ruled Dublin—styling themselves kings—until right before the construction of the ruins found below the Lidl, estimated to be around 1070 CE.

Shoppers will now have a chance to learn more about this medieval past by viewing the ruins and reading informational displays throughout the store. Also displayed through glass are the remains of a backstage staircase from the Aungier Street Theater, an 18th-century structure. By preserving history and making these sites more accessible, Dublin's newest local Lidl store becomes a true local landmark.

A new Lidl grocery store in Dublin has installed glass floor panels so that customers may gaze up the ruins of a medieval Viking house located underneath the retailer.

House Model Medieval Town

The building was likely built around 1070 CE for use as storage or a craft space.

Lidl Dublin Glass Floor

The builders were the Hiberno-Norse people who lived in the Dublin enclave during the Middle Ages, and who were descended from Norwegian Vikings and local Gaels.

Archeologists On Site

Other artifacts were found in the medieval Viking building, including a 13th century pitcher.

Artifacts Dublin Lidl

Customers can also read informational panels spread around the store that teach the history of medieval Dublin and highlight the 18th-century theater, which can also be seen underneath the store.

18th Century Aungier Street Theater

Check out this video from RTE News to see the ruins of the medieval Viking building for yourself.

h/t: [Colossal]

All images are screenshots via YouTube.

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Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and studying law while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
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