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Exploring the Museums of Dublin, Ireland


Dublin Writer’s Museum

This museum is located in a beautiful 18th century house, in Parnell Square, and is devoted to many of Dublin’s famous writers. It contains information, books, letters, portraits and personal items from writers of the past 300 years. It describes itself as “a view of Irish literature from a Dublin perspective.”

For literary fanatics, this museum also contains the Gorham Library, which contains the reserve of books with rare and special collections. They also hold temporary exhibits an have a lunchtime theater.


National Museum of Ireland

This collective museum has free admission, and contains almost everything you would ever need to know about Ireland in its four locations (the Natural History one is closed now for renovations).

There is an Archaeology section, with over two million artifacts from all over the country, that date back to 7,000 BC through the late medieval period. The Decorative Arts and History part has weapons, furniture, silver, ceramics, clothing and glassware. Then there is the Country Life part, which represents the Irish country side with items that date back to the 1850s. The exhibits present the Irish folk life, showing festivals, customs, farming and fishing techniques, life in the home and more.


IMMA-Irish Museum of Modern Art

The IMMA is the leading art museum of Ireland, with all sorts of modern and contemporary art on display. The building itself is the 17th century Royal Hospital Kilmainham, which was opened as the art museum in 1991. Most of the work comes from Ireland, France and the United States. The temporary exhibits have works like painting, sculpture, installation, photography, video and performance. The permanent collection has approximately 1,650 works, from Ireland and all over the world.


The Guinness Storehouse

If you move to Dublin to drink Guinness, you might as well find out about this beer! The storehouse claims to be the #1 international visitor attraction. The storehouse structure used to host the Guinness fermentation process up until 1998; the core of the building is modeled after a giant pint glass!

You will get to learn all about Arthur Guinness, the inventor of the drink, as well as about the ingredients used to make the beer. You also can learn about the brewing process, the memorabilia and advertising, and then learn how to successfully and correctly pour a pint of Guinness. The top (seventh) floor is a gravity bar where you can drink your complimentary pint after completing the tour.


2 thoughts on “Exploring the Museums of Dublin, Ireland

  1. I am feeling rather guilty that I have only ever visited the Guinness location from the above list during my one previous visit to Dublin.

    Something I will put right next time.

  2. The National Museum of Ireland copmprises four separate museums. The one in the photograph is Archaeology and History, located on Klldare Street in the city centre. Just behind it is Natural History, which recently reopened. Decorative Arts are housed in Collins Barracks, on the river. The Museum of Country Life isn’t in Dublin at all, it’s in County Mayo in the west of the country. All four are free of charge.
    I think that classing the Guinness Storehouse as a museum is pushing it a bit but if you’re going to do that then you need to include the following:
    The most visited exhibition in Dublin is the Book of Kells at Trinity College.
    Dublinia (by Christchurch cathedral) interactive, devoted to Dublin during the Viking and medieval periods, good for kids too – as is the completely transformed Wax Museum (on Dame Street by old parliament, near Trinity).
    IMMA is generally better for its architecture than its exhibitions. For painting in general, including the Caravaggio that featured in “Ordinary Decent Criminal”, you want the National Gallery (alongside Natural History Museum) and Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery (Parnell Square – full of impressionists) – both free. Back to back with the National Gallery is the National LIbrary, with a briliant exhibition on W B Yeats also free.
    The Georgian House Museum at the top of Merrion Square is your one chance to see one of these on the inside.
    Kilmainham Gaol (opposite IMMA) has a museum of revolutionary movements in Ireland as well as excellent guided tour of the prison itself – virtually every nationalist hero from the late 1700s onwards spent time here, and many were executed here as well.
    That’s the main ones. There are plenty more (James Joyce Centre, G B Shaw house, Jewish museum..) as well as castles (Dalkey, Malahide) and “big houses” (Farmleigh, Casino Marino) all easily accessible by public transport. It’s sad that so many people make straight for Guinness, which is very pricey (standard adult ticket €15 = 3 pints!) and miss out on everything else – much of it free.
    Enjoy your time here!

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