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Dalkey Castle by Ann Treacy
May 5, 2008, 8:36 pm
Filed under: Dublin

Yesterday we went to visit Dalkey Castle. The weather was beautiful so we took a bus to Dun Laoghaire and walked the mile (or maybe 2) to Dalkey. It’s a very nice area – like a mile away from Bono’s house nice.

We stopped in to see the Dalkey Castle. Actors toured us around the castle and I have to say that we maybe saw some of the grossest things we have seen in Ireland in the castle – but I mean that in a good way.
We had a few etymology-type lessons. Although I guess it was more history of signs and symbols rather than words.

We met a barber-surgeon. She had a pole that she used in her work. Around the pole she tied bloody bandages to dry. The effect was a red and white striped pole – just like a barber’s pole you might see today.

The cook showed us the plates for the gentry, which we pewter-type plates that looked fairly similar to what we have today. The hunters had square wooden plates – ensuring that they always got a “square meal”.

The archer taught us the history of the 2 finger salute, which is much bigger here than back home. The gesture is pretty much a backwards peace sign – and pretty much means the same giving someone the finger back home.

Well, when the archer told us that when the scavengers would come down from the hill to rob and ransack the castle the archer would show them two fingers, indicating that he was primed and ready with the bow and arrow. If an archer was ever attacked the first thing they’d do was remove their fingers so that they wouldn’t be able to shoot an arrow.

Other interesting facts – the cook hung the clothes of the gentry in the latrine because the ammonia in the urine was supposed to help with the cleaning process.

The barber-surgeon asked for a volunteer for some blood letting. Guess who quietly but forcefully raised her hand? Aine – but the blood letting did not change her humor at all. We learned a little bit about how the job of the barber is to keep the humors in the body balanced to keep everyone in good health. How did they test the humors? By drinking the urine of the patient. Also we learned that puss was very good for curing wounds. So, when they amputate a limb, they put dung in the wound before they cover it up with a flap of skin to promote faster healing. (I warned you – gross!)

The castle was attached to a heritage center that celebrated various authors from the area such as: James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Maeve Binchy, Joseph O’Connor, and plenty of others. Most weren’t from Dalkey – but we from the surrounding area.

1 Comment so far
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How interesting that Aine wanted to change her humours. Did they actually do a blood-letting on the brave little girleen? We heard from Paul Alper that you are coming home on June 26. Is that correct? We miss you all.
XX00, MS

Comment by mary sue

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