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25th Jul 2019

5 little hidden relics from The Liberties that are so telling of our past

Louise Carroll

Brought to you by Hyatt Centric The Liberties Dublin

What was once a suburb of the walled city in the 12th century is now Dublin’s most cherished cultural hub.

With Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin Castle, the Tivoli Theatre, traditional Dublin pubs, old buildings on Patrick Street, Saint Patrick’s Park, Marsh’s Library and the remains of the old City Wall at Cornmarket — there’s an incredible amount of history to explore in this part of our nation’s capital.

With the all-new Hyatt Centric hotel set to open its doors in The Liberties during mid-September, plenty of visitors will not only have an exceptional place to stay but added to this, they’ll have the chance to hear about some stunning artefacts that have been found and brought back to life thanks to the development of the hotel itself.

Yep, unearthed on the site during construction were some exceptional archaeological artefacts dating from as far back as the 11th century and they each have a story to tell, giving us fantastic clues as to how people lived before us. Here’s just some of what they found:

1. A Medieval Viking Village

While off-street parking, attic conversions and a pretty garden might be the most desired features on a house buyer’s list today, back in the 12th century, nothing could beat having direct river access and space for a pony.

Below the Hyatt Centric’s Dean Street site, a Viking village with Hiberno-Norse post and wattle buildings, along with gardens and cobbled stones, were unearthed. Backing onto the River Poddle, five of the structures would have been dwelling houses, while four were outhouses — likely for their animals.

2. Odin’s Slate

Apparently, this Norse god named Odin sacrificed one of his eyes to gain wisdom, leaving him to rely on two ravens thereafter who would keep him informed of all the events happening throughout the world. (That’s at least according to mythology.)

Of the many unique objects found below the Hyatt Centric site, the most eye-catching was this rare example of graffiti art carved onto a piece of slate that depicts a figure (Odin) on horseback carrying a shield, a sword and his two birds — the ravens Huginn and Muninn (pronounced Hoo-gin and Moo-nin).

On the reverse side, clear lettering can be seen and because so few people would have been literate at the time, it reinforces that this piece of art must have been created by an educated individual.

3. A Wooden Bowl and Spoon

In a time of never-ending upgrades and constant improvements, some of us might be comforted to know that certain things haven’t changed (at least not that much).

Among the artefacts unearthed in the ancient Dublin neighbourhood were a 12th-century wooden bowl and spoon. Apart from a little wear and tear, this 900-year-old wooden bowl and spoon are virtually identical to the bowl and spoon we used for breakfast this morning (sort of).

While archaeological discoveries of items that are no longer used in modern times are always fascinating, it’s the discovery of the most basic items like this bowl and spoon which can really help us to bring history to life.

4. A Horse’s Head

One of the most surprising finds of the dig was a horse’s head found within the foundations of a 17th century home. The discovery became even more interesting when researchers delved into the reason it lay under the house.

According to Irish folklore, horse skulls were routinely buried in the floor when a building was under construction. They were said to bring luck and prosperity to those living there and apparently, they improved the acoustics of the room as the hollow skull would echo when stepped or danced on.

Thankfully, these kinds of superstitions aren’t so popular today!

5. A Dutch Tile

Long before New York-style subway tiles were en vogue, the distinctive blue and white pattern of Dutch tiles was the choice of Dublin’s sophisticated homeowners.

Several beautiful and well-preserved ceramic Dutch tiles were discovered during the dig at the Hyatt Centric hotel. While they are believed to have been produced locally, their blue and white designs actually imitate Chinese pottery (first seen on Dutch Delft tiles).

The Delft style was influenced by huge shipments of Chinese pottery being brought into Amsterdam by the East India Trading Company during the 17th century. Local potters attempted to replicate the style of the Chinese ceramics by producing white earthenware tiles decorated with Chinese-style blue designs. This practise was continued in Ireland into the 18th century.

It’s not often a brand-new structure can tell us a 900-year-old story but the Hyatt Centric has managed to truly embrace the history of The Liberties. This September, be sure to check out how these magical findings have been woven into the fabric of the hotel experience. You can click through to the Hyatt Centric microsite to find out more right here.

Now, to The Liberties!

Brought to you by Hyatt Centric The Liberties Dublin

Hyatt Centric The Liberties Dublin, opening in September 2019, is adjacent to many of Dublin’s most popular attractions. The modern 234 room hotel is designed for the savvy explorer, promising that while guests may arrive as strangers, they will leave as locals.

To find out more about the archaeological findings and book your first stay go to