Places to Visit in Dublin 7, County Dublin, Republic of Ireland
National Museum of Ireland
THE HISTORY AND HERITAGE OF IRELAND
The National Museum of Ireland is The Nation’s Premier Cultural Institution and that with the strongest emphasis on Ireland’s art, material culture and natural history with their collections and exhibitions centred on four sites, three in Dublin and one in the west in Co. Mayo.
The National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts and History at Collins Barracks (now also our main administrative headquarters) has state of the art exhibitions on costume and clothing, coins and furniture as well as my two favourites – Irish Silver and Eileen Gray (Gray was an Irish-born designer whose collection and archive we recently acquired). The museum at Collins Barracks has a changing programme of temporary exhibitions, lecture series and an outdoor programme of summer events. It also has a corporate entertainment space and café and is to have a comprehensive military history display in 2005. Our new Phase 2 exhibition galleries should be underway by then. These will display our ethnographical collection (some of which was collected on Captain Cooke’s voyages in the South Seas!) as well as geology and Irish history. As it stands, the Museum of Decorative Arts and History is well worth a half-day’s visit.
The National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology and History on Kildare Street exhibits Ireland’s world famous collection of Bronze Age gold ornaments and unparalleled Irish early Christian treasures such as the Ardagh Chalice, the Derrynaflan Hoard, the Tara Brooch, the Shrine of St Patrick’s Bell and the recently restored Tully Lough Cross. Our Kildare St. premises also houses the Viking Ireland and Medieval Ireland galleries; the former with the artefacts recovered in the Wood Quay excavations and the latter the sacred reliquaries of the Irish Later Middle Ages. One can savour the distinctiveness and achievement of ancient Ireland first hand by visiting these galleries. The Office of Public Works is currently refurbishing the exterior stonework on the Kildare Street building. The completion of this as well as of the refurbishment of the Treasury and our on-going commitment to a renewed use of all of the ground floor exhibition spaces means that the Museum of Archaeology and History will be returned to the splendour of its opening in 1890, and appropriate to the display of the great treasures of ancient Ireland.
The third Dublin branch is the National Museum of Ireland - Natural History on Merrion Street. This is the oldest part of the museum and has been open on this location for a century and a half. Skeletons of giant Irish deer preside at the entrance to the display of native fauna on the ground floor. Upstairs you will see animals from every corner of the globe and above this on the balconies all manner of animals, birds, insects and the celebrated Blaschka glass model collection. Children will never get closer to a whale or a basking shark or to the recently acquired giraffe Spoticus!
The new branch of the National Museum is located on the Dublin side of Castlebar at Turlough Park in Co. Mayo. Here, in beautiful natural surroundings, in gardens cared for by Mayo County Council, is a new purpose-built museum in which our folklife collection is used to create the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life. The award-winning exhibits here introduce you to the way of life of people in the countryside up to a generation or so ago. As at our other sites, the education staff provide guided tours and supervise outdoor activities, events and lectures appropriate to the collections. There are also temporary exhibitions, a restaurant as well as a museum shop, so you can easily spend a full day in this special place.
Spare a thought for the hardworking staff now in the several museum divisions and sections that make possible the exhibitions, the research, collection, conservation, services to the public, education and outreach. We have specialist curators, a documentation and registration section, a librarian and a modern laboratory of which we are proud. The Museum’s hard pressed education department with their guides on the ground and our attendant staff form part of the experience for most of our visitors.
• Tea Room
• Car Park
• Private Group Tours
• School Tours Available
In case of alteration, please check prices, opening times and any specific important information before booking or visiting