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Superstitious symbols and shoes hidden under floorboards: The house where medieval and modern Dublin meet

9/9A Aungier Street dates back to 1664 where it was constructed as a medieval estate outside the old city wall.
Oct 13th 2018, 7:30 AM 39,342 17


SCRATCHED INTO THE timber floorboards of 9/9A Aungier Street is a superstitious marking that looks like an upside W.

Sunni Goodson, architectural conservation specialist, says this was put there by builders in the 17th Century. It stands for virgo virginum and was a practice that people believed warded off evil spirits.

Leaving children’s shoes under floorboards was also practiced by tenants for the same reason – a phenomenon known as ‘found shoes.’

These are just some aspects of the Dublin building’s 350-year-old history – from its first construction in 1664 as a medieval settlement outside the city wall – to its later use as a tenement. 

If you’ve ever wanted to see what a house like this looks like, it is available for showing today.

The building is part of Open House Dublin, the architectural festival that will see buildings around the city open up to members of the public over the weekend.

“From an architectural perspective,” Sunni says, “this building is truly, literally and figuratively on the cusp between medieval and modern Dublin.”

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Andrew Roberts


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