Newest Review: ... being a mere 5-10 min walk from the bustling Grafton Street, mean it is easily accessible by foot. Upon entrance to the main building, y... more
The archaeological history of Ireland and beyond.
National Museum of Ireland (Dublin)
Member Name: Matheson80
National Museum of Ireland (Dublin)
Date: 23/08/12, updated on 23/08/12 (11 review reads)
Advantages: Some of the most beautifully preserved artefacts I have ever seen
Disadvantages: Too much to take in in one day?? Is that even a bad thing?
There are technically 4 buildings that comprise the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin. Each Building more than merits its own review, and this particular article will concentrate on the Archaeology Building on Kildare Street. Its location, in the south east of the city, near many other places of interest including the Natural History Museum, and the National Gallery of Ireland, combined with free entry, make this building a very interesting and essential part of any trail of central Dublin.
The museum is open from 10am - 5pm Tues - Sat, and 2pm - 5pm Sunday. It is closed on Mondays.
There is no dedicated parking, nor any parking close by, but with the excellent Luas tram network running about the city from most major train and bus depots, and being a mere 5-10 min walk from the bustling Grafton Street, mean it is easily accessible by foot.
Upon entrance to the main building, you are greeted with one of the grander gift shops I have come across. No stuffy tacked-on side room here, instead, you find an airy circular pillared room, with a spacious thoroughfare through to the ground floor. I would recommend browsing this room for possible gifts on your way out.
Through to the main ground floor exhibition space, the airy feel continues, with plenty more open space, and grand views up to the overlooking balconies of the first floor. This floor contains many highlights and I doubt I could list them all in one review. Worthy of particular note is the 'Ór - Ireland's Gold' collection, rightly taking pride of place in the spacious centre of the floor. Here there are some simply beautiful original pieces of Ancient Irish gold craftmanship, intricate torcs, and delicate crescent shaped gold collar pieces.
Elsewhere on this floor there are various permanent collections: 'Pre Historic Ireland' including a huge example of an early log-boat , and 'The Treasury', containing many examples of early Christian culture. Another one of my personal favorites is the 'Kingship & Sacrafice' wing. Here there are some incredible examples of bog-bodies. Some people may find this idea ghoulish, but they are amazingly well-preserved, and respectfully treated: each body has its own enclosed space, giving you an intimate face-to face experience.
Once you have browsed the ground floor, head upstairs to continue the history of Ireland, along with sections based on lands further afield shuch as Rome, Cyprus, and Egypt. The Viking Ireland wing includes a large array of metal work, including weapons and armour. Elsewhere there are fine examples of Cypriot pottery, and Roman artefacts. The Ancient Egyption collection is fairly small, but still worth visiting. It includes a gilt and painted cartonnage case of the mummy Tentdinebu, and many tomb artefacts and examples of jewellery.
The beauty of this museum is you can take as little or as much time to wander around as you want, as its spacious areas never feel stuffy or claustraphobic. My partner spent four hours on the ground floor alone! (to be fair she is doing a PHD on Ancient Irish History).
I could go on for hours about the exhibitions, but the best way to find out is to explore and digest it all for yourself. This is definitely one of the highlights of a visit to Dublin.
Summary: Make plenty of time to spend in this museum!
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