A Walk around Medieval Dublin

1 To increase the students' understanding of the social, business and religious life of Medieval Dublin.
2 To realise and appreciate Dublin's Medieval historical background.
3 To help the students to realise that history is all around them and that Dublin, in particular, is full of historical riches.
4 To introduce the students to the concept of local history.

1 To enhance the students' understanding of the history of their capital city, by visiting various sites associated with Medieval times.
2 To help the students to empathise with the way of life of the Middle Ages, especially with regard to religion and government - through seeing the Churches, the City Hall, and Dublin Castle.
3 To arouse the students' curiosity and interest in history by walking around Medieval Dublin, which may act as a generator for further historical studies.

In class:
(a) Review the 'Middle Ages' section in the textbook.
(b) Distribute a map of Medieval Dublin to the students in class beforehand so that they will be familiar with the area concerned and with the features, which are to be observed.
(c) Explain that, on the worksheet, questions are not set on all the features marked on the map. The students are to Look, Read and Answer (where questions are set).
(d) Explain to the students that access may not be available to all the features outlined on the worksheet.
(e) Emphasise that while on the walk-around the students should show civic responsibility by respecting the rights of others and by respecting property.

For admission and a tour of Dublin City Hall and Dublin Castle, prior arrangement is required.

1 Use the map as a guide to the walk-around, noting the features that are to be
observed and reading what is contained about them in the worksheet .
2 Complete the assignments on the worksheet.
3 If the tour of Dublin Castle is to be availed of, an entrance fee is required.

Follow-up and Evaluation
1 Revise in class the completed worksheet, noting any omissions in answers and elaborating on each of the features noted on the map.
2 Ask the class to write an essay contrasting life in Dublin in medieval times with life in Dublin today.
3 Over a three-week period, each student could do a project on one of the following churches:
  -  Christ Church Cathedral
  -  St Audoen's Church
  -  St Patrick's Cathedral
  -  St Mary's Abbey

Syllabus Requirements
1 One of the stated aims of the Junior Certificate History programme is to encourage students 'to develop an interest and enthusiasm for history and a value their heritage from the past'. The walk-about would help further that aim.

2 It would also enhance the desired skills outlined in the syllabus objectives, i.e. to 'locate historical information from a variety of sources, e.g. primary and secondary ... visual . . . artefacts ... buildings, settlements. . . '.

3 In relation to teaching the section on Medieval Society, the Guidelines state that it is not expected that Medieval Society be studied as an abstract idea, but rather that ... it be explored through the surviving features of that society. . . '

Medieval Dublin - Briefing Sheet. Issued by Enfo, the Environmental Information Service.
Curriculum Development Unit: Viking and Medieval Dublin. O'Brien Press 1978
Dublin Castle (GuideBook). OPW
Ordnance Survey: Dublin c. 840 to c. 1540: the Medieval Town in the Modern City. Ordnance Survey 1978. Available from Government Publications.
Dublinia Exhibition at Christ Church Cathedral.

The Office of Public Works, through its National Monuments and Historic Properties Service, is responsible for the recording, conservation and presentation of Ireland's National Monuments. A very important part of its role is the creation of a greater awareness and understanding of our historic past. This is done by allowing access and providing interpretation at historic sites and by way of publications and educational projects and programmes. For further information, contact the Education/Publicity Officer, Heritage Services, the Office of Public Works, 51 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2.

Map of Medieval Dublin

 Name:                                                                   Class:

Medieval Dublin
Look - Read - Answer

1.  City Hall: Dublin Corporation Archives
Many medieval documents are kept in the Archives. The Chain Book is there. This book contained the laws and customs of the City and it was kept in a public place during the Middle Ages. The Archives also had a seal matrix that dates from the 13th Century which shows three watchtowers. This is the earliest version of the three castles, the symbol of Dublin.
What is the symbol of Dublin?

Write down two laws that you can find in the Chain Book.


2 Fishamble Street
This was the fish market of Medieval Dublin. We can see where the street broadened to allow room for the stalls of the fish-sellers.

3 Wood Quay
A 13th Century wooden quay was unearthed here. The Liffey was much wider in the early Middle Ages than it is today. As the river became narrower and deeper, larger ships were able to dock. This helped trade.
iii) Who were the first people to settle in the Wood Quay area of Dublin?

iv) Name three items, which have been found at Wood Quay, associated with the
people who lived there.

4 Winetavern Street
Merchants probably did some of their bargaining in the drink shops or taverns along the street. The headquarters of the Merchants' Guild was here. This was Dublin's first 'City Hall'; here the meetings of the City Council took place.

5 Cook Street
The people of Medieval Dublin were able to buy hot meals in Cook Street. As the population of Dublin increased, houses were crowded closer together and were made of wood. Since the cooks needed to use fires for their business, Cook Street was originally outside the City walls. Walking along Cook Street today, we can see part of the city walls together with a gateway called St Audoen's Arch.

Look at the old walls of Dublin.
v) Can you estimate approximately, how high they were?

vi) Why was a wall built around the city?

vii) Look at the inscription over the Arch. When were the Dublin City Wall and the Gates built?

6 St Audoen's Church
Audoen was a French saint and the Normans founded the church at the end of the 12th century. St Audoen's was a very important church in Medieval Dublin, being closely connected with the craft guilds. One of the great annual events in Medieval Dublin was the pageant on the feast of Corpus Christi.
viii) Who was St Audoen?

ix) On what feast day did the annual pageant take place?

7 The Cornmarket
The Cornmarket was a very busy place. Corn was used for food in the city and it Corn was also one of Dublin's main exports. Here, merchants gathered to buy and sell.

8 The Fair Green
A fair was held here each summer. This lasted for a fortnight and merchants came from around Ireland and from abroad. Acrobats, jugglers, puppets, etc also provided entertainment.
St Patrick's Cathedral
1200's. It was situated outside the city walls. This is a fine example of Gothic architecture. A lot of restoration work has been done so that much of what we see today is modern. Jonathan Swift was Dean of the Cathedral from 1713 - 1745.

During the Middle Ages, the ground around the Cathedral was one of a number of 'Liberties' of Dublin - private areas, which did not have to follow the law of the King or of the Town.
x) In what century was the Cathedral built?

xi) Who was the Dean of the Cathedral from 1713 to 1745?

xii) Make a little sketch to show what Gothic architecture was like.

xiii) An area of Dublin nearby is known as the 'Liberties'. How, do you think, did the area get that name?

10 Christ Church Cathedral

The junction of Nicholas Street and High Street was the heart of the Medieval City of Dublin. Public announcements were read out at this spot.
The Viking, King Sitric founded the first Christ Church Cathedral, in the 1030's. It was made of wood. The Normans started work on a stone Cathedral to re- place the wooden building in the 1 170's. Gothic architecture had started to become popular before the Cathedral was completed. This explains why part of the build- ing is Romanesque and part of it Gothic.

A crypt extends the full width of the building and dates from the 12th century. Folklore has it that it contains the tomb of Strongbow, who rebuilt the Cathedral, and the heart of Saint Lawrence O'Toole, the patron saint of Dublin, who helped build the Cathedral in the 1170's.
The building was renovated in the 1870's.

xiv) Who founded Christ Church Cathedral?

xv) Point out where there are examples of Romanesque and Gothic architecture to be seen, as you look at the Cathedral from the outside. (a) Rornanesque

          (b) Gothic

xvi) Make a sketch of the main Cathedral doorway (not now in use).

11. Dublin Castle

In 1204 King John ordered that a stone castle be built in Dublin to store royal money and for the administration of jus- tice.
Little of this early castle remains today except for one of its corner towers - the Record Tower.
Part of the Viking wall and of a Moat can still be seen.

A very fitting end to the Walk around Medieval Dublin would be to avail of the guided tour of Dublin Castle.
School groups are particularly welcome.
There are two parts to the tour:
The first, taking in the State Apartments, takes about 35 minutes.
The second part, taking in the Lower Yard (the Viking Wall, the Medieval Tower, and the Moat...) takes approximately 15 minutes.
Worksheets are not provided but schools are welcome to make out their own and to use them.

This guide is published in Field Studies in History, History Teachers Association of Ireland in association with Blackrock Education Centre.