Natural History Museum, Dublin
I spent a couple of very interesting hours in the National Museum of Archaeology and History. The place has loads of collections from different eras and you can easily forget the time passin by as you wander from the Stone Age through Iron Age, Middle Age etc. towards the 20th century. There's jewellry, metal works, everyday items as well as accessories for warriors. The best thing was definitely the mummies found in the swamps which are still in an excellent condition, and as a cherry on the top you can watch an audiovisual programme explaining the finding, restauration and likely history/life of the mummies. It was astounding! And the best part is: the admission is free! Go knock yourself out with a bit of an Irish history!
VT have inadvertently called this place the National History Museum but it is in fact the NATURAL History Museum of Dublin. Whatever you call it, it is the dullest activity you could possibily do while visiting this otherwise lively and vibrant city.
It is full of stuffed animals, birds, fish and invertebrates of all kinds. They look awful, all dry and brown and sad. Exhibits range from Irish mammals and fish to animals from the African continent - slaughtered by some trigger happy Colonel in the 1900's and donated to the museum by his relieved widow.
I am just glad that admission is free - I really would not have wanted to pay to see this dreary exhibition.
Of course, there is a shop selling expensive, bright, colourful plastic animals, soft toys, books and games which bear little relation to anything on display.
I suppose it's meant to be educational but it's just depressing. We only went in to escape the cold for an hour or so as we had already checked out of the hotel and had a few hours before our flight.
I was wondering why photography wasn't allowed in this building - It can't be to protect the already decrepit artefacts - so it must be to save embarrassment of the management!
A better alternative would be to take a short train journey into the surrounding countryside and look at the birds in the trees.
Oh and one more thing..... the loo doesn't flush properly.
The National Museum of Ireland has several museums throughout Dublin. One of its famous is the Archaeology Museum which is the national repository for all archaeological objects found in Ireland. The Museum boasts of over 2 million artifacts. It is Ireland's premiere collection of Irish material culture, heritage, and the natural world. The National Museum ws founded under the Dublin Science and Art Museum Act of 1877. Originally the collections were divided between the Leinster House and the Natural History Museum in Merrion Street. Under the new Act, the government had funding to purchase the museum buildings and collections, build proper facilities and storage space for the Leinster House collections, and construced this new custom-built museum on Kildare street for Archaeology opening on August 29, 1890. The purpose of the museum is to collect, preserve, promote, and exhibit all examples of Ireland's portable material culture and heritage, interpret the collections, promote them, and make them accessible to the world. They are also to become the authoritive voice on relevant aspects of Irish heritage, culture, and natural history so that they can maintain the lead role in education, research, and scholarship pertaining to the collections and its contexts. The Building that houses the collections was built in 1889-1890 and designed by Cork architects Thomas Newenham Deane and his son Thomas Manly Deane which has since become an architectural landmark because it was built in the Victorian Palladian style and has been compared with the Altes Museum in Berlin that was designed by Karl Schinkel in the 1820s. The Building's Neo-classical influences can be seen in the colonnaded entrance and the domed rotunda that is modelled after the Pantheon in Rome. The rotunda contains classical columns that are made of marble quarried from Counties Cork, Kilkenny, Galway, Limerick and Armagh in order to mirror the entrance. Its great centre court has a balcony that is supported by rows of slender cast-iron columns with elaborate capitals and bases and are decorated with groups of cherubs. The balcony hosts more rows of plain columns and attractive openwork spandrels that support the roof. The building's interior has rich motifs decorating the insides mimicking styles from Ancient Greece and Rome highlighted by mosaic floors with classical mythology scenes including the zodiac. The museum has several Permanent Exhibitions which are: (1) Or - Ireland's Gold Artifacts housing the finest collection of prehistoric gold artifacts in western Europe ranging from Celtic Iron Age metalworking up through medieval ecclesiastical objects and jewelry. These are also Ireland's collection of prehistoric goldworkings dating from 2200 BCE to 500 BCE including torques, knecklaces, bracellets, earrings, and objects of unknown use. The Early Bronze Age collections were made primarily from sheet gold into sundiscs, crescentic gold collars called lunulae, and then 1200 BCE new goldworking techniques creating torcs by twisting bars or strips of gold. The exhibit reflects the evoluion of the styles up to 900 BCE where goldworking was divided into two main types: solid objects including bracelets and dress-fasteners and the large sheets of gold collars and delicate ear-spools. (2) - Prehistoric Ireland: Is he exhibition that covers human settlement in Ireland from stone tools of the first hunter-gatherers in 7000 BCE to bronze weapons of the Late Bronze Age (500 BCE) highlighting a reconstructed Passage Tomb as the backdrop for the tools, pottery, and artifacts. The history covers introduction of metalworking (2500 BCE) and its evolution and changes. Displays of copper axes, daggers, shields, cauldrons, and cast bronze horns are amongst some of the highlighted artifacts. Jewelry made of glass, stone, and amber; wooden shields, wheels, and cauldrons are also exhibited. (3) - Kingship and Sacrifice: Is the exhibit covering Ireland's infamous Iron Age bog bodies found at Oldcroghan, Co. Offaly and Clonycavan, Co. Meath in 2003, and research up to date that has been conducted to understand them. Most of these bodies are believed to have been human sacrifice that were deposited in bogs along tribal boundaries to signify sovereignty and kingship rituals during the Iron Age. These collections includes items of royal regalia, horse trappings, weapons, feasting utensils, boundary markers and votive deposits of butter known as bog butter. (4) - The Treasure contains Iconic Treasures until the real exhibit is ready. These cover outstanding religious and secular metalworking that dates from Pagan Celtic Iron Age through the Middle Ages. Some highlights include the sumptuously ornamented Broighter gold collar, models of a boat, a cauldron, the Broighter Collar in La Tène art style, eighth to ninth-Century ‘Golden Age’ artifacts such as the Ardagh and Derrynaflan Hoards, the Moylough Belt Shrine, and the gilt silver 'Tara' Brooch. (5) - Viking Age: covering hoards of silver bullion, brooches, plain silver, and other artifacts from 800 CE to 1150 CE; history of Viking graves (9-10th centuries); rural life; nd remains of Dublin excavations from 1962-1981 demonstrating ecclesiastical metalwork of the 11th and 12th Centuries showing fusion of Scandinavian and Irish art styles at the close of the Viking Age. (6) - Medieval Ireland: 1150 - 1550 C.E. galleries labelled Power, Work and Prayer to reflect the three-fold division of medieval society - nobles, common people and clergy. It covers warfare, agriculture (pastoral and arable), import trade and the various crafts and industries operating in towns. Focuses on churches and faiths, religious practice and devotion as well as church furnishings. (7) - Ancient Egypt: Ireland's fabulous Egyptian collections display over 3,000 artifacts most of which were acquired from excavations carried out in Egypt between 1890-1920 ranging from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages. These include sites such as Hieraconpolis, Deir el-Bahri, Ehnasya, Oxyrhynchus, Tarkhan and Riqqa highlighting the gilt and painted cartonnage case of the mummy Tentdinebu (22nd Dynasty c. 945 - 716 BC); the mummy portraits of a woman and a young boy from Hawara (first/second Century AD); model of a wooden boat (early 12th Dynasty c. 1900 BC); and a number of important stelae, tomb furniture, offering tables, jewellery and household equipment. (8) - Ceramics and Glass from Ancient Cyprus: The displays to this collection show many artifacts that have never been exhibited before including ceramic pieces from tombs uncovered in the 19th Century. These artifacts range from the Bronze Age (2500 BCE) to the late Roman period (300 CE) including five clay figurines on loan from the Cyprus Museum Nicosia, ceramics, and glass. (9) - Life and Death in the Roman World: displaying artifacts that have been in storage in the National Museum of Ireland since the early 1920s demonstrating classical art and architecture consisting of glass vessels, textiles, sculpture, ceramics, coins, gemstones and architectural fragments from places as geographically diverse as Egypt, Austria and England. This exhibit also displays Etruscan material exploring the themes of 'Everyday Life'; 'Death, Burial and the Afterlife'; 'Religion'; 'Personal Adornment and Dress'; 'Entertainment'; and 'Imperial Power in the Roman world' and ends with the introduction of Christianity. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
The National History Museum has numerous exhibits covering various periods in Irish history prehistoric times to the war of independence. It also has a section on ancient Egpyt.
Free to enter (there are boxes for making donations if you wish) you can spend as much or as little time here as you want - the mosiacs on the floors and ornate doors are also worth checking out.
It's shut on a Monday, is open 10.00 to 5.00 Tuesday to Saturday, and from 2.00 to 5.00 on Sunday.
There are two other branches of the Museum in the city which are worth a visit:
- Decorative Arts and History at Collins Barracks, Benburb Street (Museum stop on the Red Line Luas (tram))
- Natural History, on Merrion Street (a short walk from Kildare Street - just ask the staff for directions)
Walked back to the Dublin National Museum only to find that it didn't open on Sunday until 2 (it was 1:45, so we waited). Saw all the real treasures from the sites we had visited as well as some replicas (where the real thing is still at the site).
There are several museums that are called "The National Museum," (which is why this section has entries about two different places). Three are in Dublin: The Decorative Arts & History (which houses items from Ireland's history) - it is located on the west side of the city center, north of the Liffey (Benburb St.); Archaeology and History (what I am talking about here); Natural History (stuffed animals on Merrion St., just behind the Archaeology and History museum). Another is located in County Mayo, displaying Irish country life.
The Archaeology and History museum, which opened in 1890 is in a domed building that includes a lot of artifacts from Ireland's prehistory, including lots of gold, viking artifacts, as well as small exhibits on Ancient Egypt and Cyprus. The coolest part of the museum is the exhibit displaying bodies preserved (remarkably well) in the bogs of western Ireland from the Iron Age.
The museum is free, though a donation is suggested.
The National Museum of Ireland. Prehistoric Ireland with displays on stone and bronze ages. The display features burial customs weapons of that time and domestic objects also shown are two reconstructed graves.
The Or- Irelands gold exhibition had ornaments dating back from 2000 to 700 bc. Ornaments are displayed of that time.
The Treasury exhibits from the Celtic iron age. You will also see the Tara Brooch and the ardagh chalice.
The history of our independence is also show around the museum. From the years 1900 to 1916 follow the pictures around the gallery and you will have a small insight into Ireland’s history. The exhibition also has the clothes they wore and guns they carried.
Viking Ireland is also found in the museum. From 795 ad to 1170 ad. You will see life as the Vikings lived it in Ireland at that time.
Ancient Egypt is also a part of the exhibition. All the items were acquired from excavations from Egypt. An interesting exhibit with thousands of objects on display.
This covers a period from 1150ad to 1550 ad. The display shows the life of medieval Ireland including court life and warfare.
You can take a guided tour that last 40 minutes. The restaurant is closed for renovations. They also have a gift shop for those who need to buy books and jewellery
The actual building is as interesting, if not more so, that the exhibits inside.
Externally the architecture and columns are great to look at.
Inside the first things you'll notice are the zodiac mosaic on the floor and huge rotunda in the ceiling. Both are amazing.
Once inside the actual museum the mosaic spreads across the entire ground floor. I actually spent more time looking at the floor than at the exhibits. The mosaic is huge, intricate and beautiful. The effort that must have gone in to it is quite something. The mosaic even extends into the bathrooms. There are also similar heating grates to the other museum and the radiators are underneath them. The attention to detail is great.
The walls include big marble pillars, very smooth.
The upstairs balcony even has decorative grates with Celtic design.
Even the big wooden doors and radiator covers are worth taking a look at.
The museum has exhibits on gold, vikings, ancient eygpt and so on.
The gold exhibits are very beautiful and there are displays of old gold and silver brooches all with celtic engravings.
The viking exhibit is worth looking at just to see the skull of a viking who was hit in the head with an axe at least 20 times! There is also a viking skeleton who has been burried with his sword.
In the Eyptian room you can see mummies, including a mummified cat.
One exhibit included a decorative gold cross which originally contained a fragment of the cross Jesus was crusified on.
You can not take photos but a camera phone can easily snap a few pictures before you're caught!
The museum is closed on Mondays.
This is how museums should be! Creepy stuffed animals and skeletons galore! My favourites include the skeletons of the Giant Irish Deer and the huge Fin Whale.
You can also see a skeleton of a dodo which is pretty cool and a hamster with its inflate cheek pouches.
Also look at the floor on the ground floor it has intricate heating vents from when the building would have had underground heating. I notice this type of thing.
You can not take photos, thought through the miracle of camera phones, you can get away with a surprising amount!!!
Also...it's closed on Mondays.
This museum has some firm Favourites such as Ardagh Chalice, Bog Body, Brotghter Hoard, Clonmacnoise Crozier, Dowris Hoard, Gleninsheen Collar, Loughnashade Trumpet and Tara Brooch.
I liked the Gold Exhibition.
Natural History Museum
This curious and fascinatingly creepy museum remains almost untouched since it was opened in 1857 by David Livingstone, who also gave the inaugural lecture on the subject of 'African Fauna'. The Irish room on the ground floor is dedicated to wildlife. Upon entering, one is met with three skeletons of the extinct Irish elk that lived 10,000 years ago. The room also features a variety of creatures displayed in pickling jars, including an octopus, leeches and worms. Don't forget to have a look at the the world collection upstairs, which features stuffed rhinos, pandas and two whales. Also worth seeing is the Blaschka collection of marine plants. In all, this museum provides a marvellous (if somewhat creepy) insight into the world of the Victorian museum-as-mausoleum. Admission is free.
The National Museum houses artefacts which date from 7,000BC to the 20th century. The Museum has recently been extensively upgraded and today is based at two sites, Kildare Street and Collins Barracks. The Kildare Street site is home to pieces from Viking times, alongside Celtic masterpieces and one of the largest collections of Bronze Age gold in the world. The centrepiece of the collection is the Ardagh Chalice, which dates back to 800AD. The museum also includes an exhibition dealing with Ireland's struggle for independence from 1916-1922. In addition, there's a pleasant café and bookstore on-site.
This museum contains loads of stuffed dead animals from both around Ireland and the rest of the world. Interesting and educational especially for the kids.