I was asked recently, “where does your persona get their water?” Like, from a well, down at the river, in the lake? Water is so important to all cultures but it’s often overlooked.
Of course, many Irish religious places had wells, but it seems that those were holy wells, blessed by a saint. Seems impolite to wash my clothes in holy water. This thought kept turning over in my mind, which is one of the reasons I bought this pdf / kindle book:
Reading this book didn’t really answer the question. I was expecting something like “the cashels had wells in them” or “evidence of water buckets was found by the ford.” What I did learn was somewhat more disturbing.
Now this is boiling down a big tome into two sentences, but a gross oversimplification would be – the Irish lived in small dirt-walled or rock-walled forts with a few houses in them, and they lived near each other. So, family, family, family, each in their own little dirt-ringed fort. The Vikings and the Normans brought over the idea of a bigger “city” where more people lived together. So if you think you live in a “city” with more different families around you, before the Normans, you’re probably in a Viking-founded town.
Which impacts how I was growing my story of “growing up in a family, going off to enter a monastery, falling in love, creating a family.” And to be honest, I’m not completely sure I want to say I live in a dirt (or, ok, rock) ringed familial enclosure. Maybe I’m more of a artisan working in one of the (newly founded) monasteries. Or maybe I left Ireland (unlikely) and I’m living somewhere else, in the sense of the “white martyrdom.” But it needs to be somewhere I have a wife and children.
It’s neat though that the ringed enclosure found in the archaeology matches the description of Cullen’s blacksmithery where he invited the king, and Setanta showed up, et cetera.
What I’ve said above is a complete “summary” though, there are outliers and there are nuances that you’re not getting from this post.