Aungier Street Lidl Archaeology – Dublin, Ireland - Atlas Obscura
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Aungier Street Lidl Archaeology

This supermarket offers shoppers a window into the past alongside their groceries. 

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Constructed into the floor of this Dublin branch of Lidl, in the shadow of the ancient Dublin Castle, is a series of glass panels that showcase a long-hidden history. One of these museum-like glass panels reveals the archeological remains of a structure constructed almost 1,000 years ago. Dating to around 1070, the structure was dug into the ground lined with local limestone and planks, and was then sheltered by a thatch roof.

Archeological evidence showed that the structure was used for approximately 100 years, with small alterations following a fire. It also contained a gully-fed cistern. It’s likely the work of Hiberno-Norse Dubliners and the first such find of its kind in the city. Based upon its size, the small space was likely used for storage rather than a home.

This was not the sole discovery made during the excavations of the site. Displayed beside the shop’s tills, beneath a second set of glass panels is an 18th-century “pit trap.” This staircase served the 18th-century Aungier Theatre that previously occupied the site for 13 years between 1733 and 1746. The device allowed actors to be lowered or lifted onto the stage. 

Though not viewable by the public, the foundations and carved stones of the medieval St Peter’s parish church, as well as painted plaster, and tiles were also discovered. Constructed in 1050, the church served the city for over 600 years.

These historical displays not only allow for a unique shopping experience but also protects the structures that would have otherwise been forgotten. Their integration into the store has allowed both visitors and locals to have a first-hand view of Dublin’s past.

To support this one-of-a-kind experience, the store installed information panels to accompany the windows into the past, as well as artistic recreations of how the location would have looked in its heyday. Praised for its collaborative approach between Lidl Ireland, the archaeological team, and experts in heritage and history, the treatment allowed for the preservation of the site.

Know Before You Go

The store is open from 8 am to 10 pm Monday to Saturday and 9 am to 9 pm on Sundays.

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