Ireland and Dublin in particular have always had a complex and intriguing history. You can revisit this history with the help of a great number of museums scattered throughout Dublin. Babylon Radio provides you with a list of 14 museums in Dublin that are definitely worth a visit.
Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum
Since 1832, more than one and a half million people have been interred in Glasnevin Cemetery. Many famous people were buried there over the years, like Daniel O’Connell, Michael Collins, Éamon de Valera and countless others. Glasnevin museum strives to showcase the fascinating stories of those laid to rest in the cemetery – from the ordinary to the extraordinary.
Price: Tour Tickets 10-15€
National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology
This is branch of the National Museum of Ireland dedicated to all things archeological and was established in 1890. It is the primary repository of the nation’s cultural and archaeological treasures. The Treasury features stunning examples of Celtic and Medieval art, such as the famous Ardagh Chalice, the Tara Brooch and the Derrynaflan Hoard. You can also see a collection of almost perfectly preserved mummified bodies from the Iron Age that were found in Ireland’s peat bogs.
National Museum of Ireland – Natural History
The National History branch of the National Museum, known by locals as the “Dead Zoo” opened its doors for the first time in 1857. It is famous for its Victorian cabinet-style exhibitions and houses an enormous collection of over 10,000 dissected animals from all over the world. One of the highlights of this museum are its numerous extinct animals, like the Irish elk.
National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Art and History
Collins Barracks once were the world’s largest military barracks. They have been completely renovated and restored to become the National Museum of Decorative Arts and History. The museum charts Ireland’s economic, political and military progress through the ages. Their exhibits range from silver, ceramic and glassware pieces to weaponry, furniture and examples of folk life.
Tue-Sat. 10am-5pm; Sun+Mon. 1pm-5pm
Collins Barracks, Benburb Street, Stoneybatter, Dublin 7
Tel.: +353 (0)1 677 7444
The Little Museum of Dublin
This museum tells the remarkable history of the Irish capital through artifacts donated by Irish citizens. It opened in 2011 with only two rooms at that time to present exhibits in. After that, the Little Museum rapidly expanded into a collection of over 5,000 artifacts displayed throughout the whole Georgian townhouse.
It is one of the largest unoccupied gaols (prisons) in Europe, covering some of the most heroic and tragic events in history from the 1780s to the 1920s. The main exhibition of the Gaol is material relating to the Irish Revolution between 1916 and 1923. The collection includes manuscript material, photographs, newspapers, weaponry, artwork, medals, uniforms and personal effects, mostly donated by Irish citizens. Entrance into the gaol is by guided tour only.
Price: Tour Tickets 4-8€
EPIC – The Irish Emigration Museum
Here you can discover that what it means to be Irish extends far beyond the borders of Ireland through the stories of Irish emigrants who became scientists, politicians, poets, artists and even outlaws all over the world. Through 20 interactive galleries, you can find out why over 10 million people left this country, where they went and what they brought with them. And the Irish Family History Centre located in the museum allows you to trace your own Irish ancestry.
Price: 8-16.50€ pp.
Travel back to the city in Viking times, see what life was like on board a Viking warship, visit a Viking house and take a trip down a Viking street. Learn of the myths and the mysteries surrounding the Vikings and their legacy or journey through Medieval Dublin in Dublinia’s exhibitions and see Dublin in a new light.
Price: 6.50-10€ pp.
Dublin Writers Museum
In 1991, the Dublin Writers Museum opened to celebrate and house the history of literary Dublin. Situated in a magnificent 18th century mansion, the collection features the lives and works of Dublin’s literary celebrities from the past three hundred years. Irish writers like Oscar Wilde, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett are among those represented through their books, letters, portraits and personal items.
Price: 4.70-7.50€ pp.
National Leprechaun Museum
In this museum dedicated to the world of Irish myth you can dive into a world full of folklore and stories. Feel what it’s like to journey deep beneath the rocks of the Giant’s Causeway, open up your mind to the sights and stories of Ireland’s mythical otherworld and experience what it’s like to live in a leprechaun-sized world.
Price: 14-18€ pp.
Irish Whiskey Museum
Listen, learn and laugh during the guided tours of the Museum through different periods in Irish whiskey history. Independent of all whiskey distilleries, the museum houses over 100 types of Irish whiskey. Thanks to its interactive tours, dedicated whiskey retail store and in-house whiskey bar it has become one of Dublin’s most sought-after tourist attractions.
Price: Tour Tickets 20€
The Chester Beatty Library
Chester Beatty’s collection grew over his lifetime and by the time of his death, he had assembled a great number of rare collectibles. Included in this collection were not only exceptional Islamic, East Asian and biblical manuscripts but also important Persian, Turkish, Armenian and Western European holdings as well as Burmese, Thai and Nepalese manuscripts. So, today his collection includes more than 20,000 rare objects of artistic, historical and aesthetic importance.
Price: Free (suggested donation of 5€)
Irish Museum of Modern Art
The IMMA is home to the National Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art, started in 1990, now numbering over 3,500 artworks by Irish and international artists. The museum is housed in the 17th century Royal Hospital building in Kilmainham whose beautiful grounds include a formal garden, meadow and medieval burial grounds worth a visit.
Price: Exhibitions are free unless otherwise stated
Opening Hours: Tue-Fri. 11.30am-5.30pm; Sat. 10am-5.30pm; Sun.12pm-5.30pm; Closed on Mondays
Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Military Road, Kilmainham, Dublin 8
Tel.: +353 (0)1 612 9900
National Gallery of Ireland
This gallery exhibits some 2,500 paintings and around 10,000 other works in different media, including watercolors, drawings, prints and sculptures. It houses a renowned collection of Irish paintings, the majority of which are on permanent display. And it also posesses a Yeats museum with works by Jack B. Yeats and other members of his artistic family.
Price: Free (permanent exhibition); booking required for certain exhibitions