A Simple Life in the Traditional Irish Home

Imagine yourself living in Ireland in the late 1800s—completely vulnerable to the elements with only yourself to get you through the cold, wet winters. You would most likely have a family of eight to twenty siblings, all living in the house with your parents. Your home would be made of thick stone walls with small windows to help keep in the warmth during the winters. The roof, covered in thatch acts as a thermal blanket, ventilating the smoke from your hearth and keeping the rain out.

You would walk into the heart of the home and be immersed with the scent of smoky peat burning from the hearth. The hearth was what kept the space dry and you warm. It was how you would cook all of your food. It would be the only stationary element in the home. Stories would be told with neighbors and friends around the fire to make the dreaded winters less miserable.

Door to children’s bedroom that would be reached by a ladder.

At night you would be snuggled up with the rest of your siblings in one of the three small bedrooms the home had. You would be fortunate to get a bed next to the door so that you would not have to climb over your siblings to escape. While there were no stairs because of the needed space in the living area, there were ladders. Essential to get to the bedrooms that would be a story above the ground. The only bedroom on the ground floor was your parents room. Their bedroom would be positioned on the wall that had the fire-place on the other side. This would be their source of heat. Your warmth would come from your siblings and the little bit of heat that would be floating up into your room.

People become wrapped up in the commotion of modern-day society. It is the simple things such as stone walls, a thatched roof and a hearth that as Dearbhaill, our guide says, “Young people are looking for meaning through authenticity” in order to live a fulfilling life. The simple life as such has led to many happy lives for the Irish as you see today since many people are still living this way.

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