It is difficult for us to imagine how Medieval Dublin was as so little remains. Here is a day in Medieval Dublin from the viewpoint of a 13 year old boy called Tobias.
He stepped from the window, which he had been pretending was a looking glass. He had been gazing at his reflection and his new smart tunic. He felt proud of himself. For the first time in his life he was no longer a child. He was a guard.
‘I am nearly thirteen years old and it is my first day as a guard. I am excited. I am almost a man. All my brothers, my father and my grandfather before him were city guards and today I am to start my new life. My brothers will no longer tease me when they leave for the walls as I am going to be coming with them. It is almost like belonging to a guild to be a guard. I feel that I am a full member of my family now. I have waited years for this moment, my whole life, and now my day has come. I cannot wait.
He climbed down the ladder, three rungs at a time, and wolfed down his oaten gruel. It tasted mild and had a soft consistency, but it was very watery so he tried not to dirty his tunic. It was lovely and hot, the gruel, and would keep him warm all day long on the cold walls.
“My son you look well,” his mother smiled.
“Thank you, Mother,” he smiled back.
“The tunic suits you.” She looked proud.
“You made it very well. I will wear it with confidence and remember how long it took you to save up for the material. I watched you make it; every night by the light of the fire you cut and stitched and brought it together. I love it.”
She looked down at his thin legs. Soon he would be growing tall like her other sons. The material of the trews, covering those skinny legs, was not new. When he’d finished growing, he would possibly get a new pair. The material had been washed and taken in, then let out and taken in once more. They were woollen hose that had once belonged to his father, then to one of his brothers, and now to him.
If Tobias had thought about his brais, which he wore under his trews, it wouldn’t have seemed unusual that most of his family had worn them before him. The unusual aspect of his outfit was that his tunic was new. This was the first new article of clothing he had worn in his whole life.
His father sat beside him and slapped him on the back, forcing some gruel to shoot out of Tobias’s mouth, straight onto his tunic.
“Ready for your first day, boy?” his father asked.
“Yes, Father,” he beamed at his father and wiped the gruel from his garb with a rag on the table.
As they approached the Medieval Wall, the beam of Tobias smile broadened. The long shadow of its solidness impressed him. He would work there every day until the day he died. He wouldn’t think such thoughts. He would think of now, today, he would walk the wall for work. Then perhaps he would know the whole city as well as he knew his own street and, eventually, he would become a head guard, just like his father. There would be lots of opportunities. This was awe inspiring.
Hope you liked this view into Medieval Dublin and the family of guards who patrolled the big defensive walls.