Blog

Dublin’s Medieval Walls: a circuit & exploration.

Our Medieval Walls Walk is a complete circuit and exploration of the medieval walls of Dublin, both in a physical sense, and as an exploration of the walls in the imagination and through Dublin’s history; through maps, conversation, story and historic detail.

Once a palisade of wooden stakes erected from 841 by Dublin’s Viking founders, and later re-built as thick, high stone walls by the Anglo-Norman conquerors, the walls delineated and defined the city for generations of medieval Dubliners. Citizens of the city felt their reassuring presence, as they limited, protected and defined a sense of place for centuries.

We will follow their route along castle walls, down backstreets and side lanes, as the wall appears, disappears and reappears again, using maps, historic accounts, tell-tale street names and physical clues in the present city landscape to guide us along our way.

Along our route we will consider towers and gates, prisons and bridges, fires, plague, invasion and revolution. We’ll see the impact on the modern street plan, and contemplate how it helped shape the current-day city of Dublin.

We normally meet and start outside the West door of City Hall on Cork Hill (directly across the road from the Dublin Rates Office) We then walk a complete circuit of the ancient city walls, whether currently visible above ground or not.

This is an especially fun tour.  We hand out maps of the medieval walls to all our guests.  We then use these maps to trace the line of the old walls in the existing, modern-day streetscape.  This requires a lot of imagination, map reading, navigation and guess work, and at times has an element of hunting for clues about it.

A terrific tour, that will bring out the Indiana Jones in everyone.

This tour is run as a public tour from 3- 6 times per year and, like all public tours,  is naturally open to all.   If any of these Medieval walls tours are currently scheduled they’ll appear on our Public Tours Page.

Alternatively, we also offer and run the tour as a private activity for your own private group.

Please use the private tours contact form to inquire about Private tours.   (Use exclusively for inquiries regarding private tours only please)  Thank you.

from late-May to mid- October this tour normally includes the ancient church of Saint Audoen’s, established 1190 and the oldest continually- operating parish church in Ireland.  (The church is closed during the winter season)

Medieval Walls Walk Dublin Decoded image 2

 

 

images above: top left: at the Portlester Memorial in St Audoen’s church; top right:  artist Iain Barber’s superb painted image of Viking Dublin; middle right: the Seagrave and Spark/Duff Memorials in St Audoen’s church.  Bottom a group picture of a Medieval walls guests on a recent Medieval Walls tour, by the old church facade of St-Nicholas-Within.  Top and featured image: Gilbert’s map of Dublin from the Dublin Builder 1865.

 

Dublin: The Story of a City by Stephen Conlin and Peter Harbison, reviewed — Arran Q Henderson

Dublin: The Story of a City The publication of any book of drawings by Stephen Conlin is something of an event for any student of our capital city. This book is particularly welcome, bringing together as it does most of the artist’s most important Dublin drawings, made in a long career stretching well over 30 […]

via Dublin: The Story of a City by Stephen Conlin and Peter Harbison, reviewed — Arran Q Henderson

Save

Arran’s blog

Dublin Decoded tours’ owner and chief guide is the writer and street-level art historian Arran Henderson.  Arran is a passionate local historian and avid observer and writer on many aspects of  artistic, architectural culture and almost all eras of history.  He is a graduate of Oxford Brook Art History department, Ireland’s National College of Art and Design and the Dublin Institute of Technology and has spent additional time in the University of Rhode Island and and Central St Martins, London.

His blog, about everything from traditional cast iron coal hole-covers to the use of optical magnifying and projecting apparatus in 17th century Dutch art appears at irregular intervals.  It is titled simply Arran Q Henderson dot com. and you can see it here.