April 21, 2021

A Glass Floor Allows Customers to Gaze Upon Medieval Viking Ruins Under a Dublin Lidl Store

If you’d like to get a glimpse of medieval history, you don’t necessarily have to go to a museum or open a history book. Apparently, you can simply visit the Lidl grocery store in Dublin, Ireland.

The owner of a grocery store which was built directly over an 11th-century archeological site have installed a display  on their floor that allows shoppers to peer down into medieval Viking history.


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. It’s believed that this small building was a storage or craft space before, surrounded by above-ground dwellings which have not survived. Researchers also discovered everyday artifacts including a 13th-century clay pitcher, who is now exhibited under the glass installation.

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 they can see a backstage staircase from the Aungier Street Theater, an 18th-century structure displayed through the glass . By preserving history and making these sites more accessible, Dublin’s newest local Lidl store becomes a true local landmark.