Toilet in a Medieval Irish Castle | Student Handouts
 
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Toilet in a Medieval Irish Castle
World History > Teaching Materials on European Middle Ages > Maps & Pictures of Medieval Europe
 
 
Toilet in a Medieval Irish Castle
 
 

Have you ever dreamed of being a prince or princess, living in a castle during the European Middle Ages? You may rethink this fantasy after seeing what going to the bathroom was like during the medieval period.

This medieval toilet is located inside Bunratty Castle in County Clare, Ireland, along the River Shannon. The iron bars are new (to protect the tourists), and the toilet has been stopped up with cement. Still, this photograph is enough to give you some idea of what going to the bathroom was like during the Middle Ages.

Quite simply, if you weren't going in a chamber pot, you were sitting down upon one of these stone thrones, or standing over one. These so-called bathrooms were located along the outer edges of castles and towers. The bottoms of these toilets were open, so that waste simply fell down outside the building's outer walls.

Yes, that's right. You relieved yourself, and down it fell. But where?

Castles and towers of the Middle Ages were frequently surrounded by water-filled moats, to help protect the structure in case of attack. With toilet refuse landing in these moats, you can understand why no one was eager to jump into the water. One can only imagine the smell.

 
 
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