The National Museum of Ireland has three locations in Dublin with a strong emphasis on Irish art, culture, and natural history.
Admission is free to all museums.
Archaeology Museum, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. FREE admission
At the National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology, Kildare Street, you'll find artefacts dating from 7000BC to the 20th Century exhibited in seven galleries. There are so many ancient Irish artifacts on display, it is almost overwhelming-- from Stone Age, Viking, Medieval and even Egyptian. The artisanship on some of the objects is incredible and the bog bodies are amazing, if a bit scary!
Ancient Irish Gold and Metalwork
The fascinating exhibition shows the unique treasures of early medieval Ireland, exploring their connections with both the pagan past and the wider Christian culture of the time. See the world famous Ardagh Chalice. The chalice ranks with the Book of Kells as one of the finest known works of Celtic art, and is thought to have been made in the 8th century AD. Elaborate brooches appear to have been worn by monastic clergy to fasten vestments of the period. The National Museum of Ireland’s collection of Bronze Age gold work is one of the largest and most important in western Europe.
Iron Age bog Mummies
See the gilt and painted cartonnage case of the mummy Tentdinebu, as well as a number of important stelae, tomb furniture, offering tables, jewellery and household objects.
Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, Dublin 7. FREE admission
Originally an army barracks, the buildings above were reopened in 1997 with a new purpose: as the National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History. This old army barracks building is huge and is a must visit, especially on a wet and damp day.
Easily accessible as the "hop on hop off bus" and the Luas tram stop immediately outside.
The museum comprises of a huge amount of history, not only social, political and military but also it is a wonderful place to see design work particularly in fashion and furniture, including some very modern current furniture which is stunning.
At the National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History you'll find Irish haute couture garments, furniture, silver, jewelry, ceramics, and exhibitions exploring Irish military history, including the 1916 Easter Rising.
Warfare in Ireland
Between 1550 and 1800 Ireland endured four major wars: the battle of Boyne, and many lesser rebellions. The reasons for each war differed, but the hardship experienced by the soldiers and civilians was always much the same. Opposing armies not only fought bloody battles, they also destroyed buildings and crops in their attempts to punish their enemies and feed themselves. As a result, starvation often followed in their wake.
The Irish Silver Collection
is one of the largest in the world and this exhibition traces the development of the silversmith’s craft from the early 17th Century to the present day.
The Way We Wore exhibition
displays stylish clothing and jewellery worn in Ireland principally from the 1760’s to the 1960’s. This is an eye-opening look at Irish fashion through the ages, showing how new clothing technology and European influences affected what people wore.
The 1916 Rising exhibition
examines the decade of disturbance between 1913 and 1923, from the Dublin Lockout, through the Easter Rising to the end of the Civil War.
Natural History, Merrion Street, Dublin 2
Also known as 'The Dead Zoo', the Museum's 10,000 exhibits provide a glimpse of the natural world that has delighted generations of visitors since the doors opened in 1857. This is a fun visit with kids. An insane amount of taxidermy from massive whale skeletons to minuscule critters and everything in between - all crammed in so tight you can practically picture being on Noah's Ark.
The extinct giant Irish deer skeletons (one pictured left) found at the entrance of the Museum are some of the most famous and distinctive animals on display here. One of the skeletons has an antler span of 3.5 metres.
On the upper floor you will find an elephant, polar bear, lions, an array ofmonkeys, apes and lemurs which make up the Mammals of the World collection.
Other popular favourites include a 20 metre long whale skeleton suspended from the roof that was found on the West Coast of Ireland.