Dublin museums are plentiful, and it would be easy to spend an entire trip to the Irish capital exploring the many available. Whether you are interested in art, architecture, history, or literature, there is a great museum in Dublin that is worth your time. When planning your trip, it is best to plan an itinerary for what museums you want to visit, and to consult their opening hours and admission fees. While there are some free museums in Dublin, others do charge a reasonable fee for entry. Some museums are clustered in the Dublin city center, while others require a bus or taxi ride to reach. With an itinerary in hand you can maximize your time in Dublin and have time to spare for a pint in a famous Dublin pub.
Free museums in Dublin include the National Museum of Ireland, the Chester Beatty Library, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. These Dublin museums are spread throughout the city, and each offer a chance to explore different neighborhoods as well as see impressive collections. The National Museum of Ireland has an extensive collection of almost 4 million items. From archaeology to decorate arts to medieval Irish history, there is always something new to learn at this museum. The Chester Beatty Library is located in the Dublin Castle complex, and it offers the chance to see rare manuscripts. Both of these museums also have a café and bookshop if you get stuck with a rainy day or simply want a rest and a snack after exploring.
The Irish Museum of Modern Art presents modern and contemporary art both in its permanent collection and temporary exhibitions. Formerly the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, the Irish Museum of Modern Art is housed in an impressive seventeenth-century building. The permanent collections contain more than 4,500 works, all available for free viewing. Opening hours for IMMA are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, though it opens at 10:30 on Wednesday, and noon to 5.30 pm on Sunday. The museum is closed on Mondays. A café and bookshop are also available. If you’re spending the day in Kilmainham, the fascinating historical attraction Kilmainham Gaol is close by as well.
Other Dublin museums include the Dublin Writers Museum, where visitors can learn about the rich literary heritage of the city. If your interest in books is piqued by the writers museum, head over to Trinity College to see the ancient Book of Kells and take a stroll through the impressive Long Room Library. Art-lovers looking for free museums in Dublin will want to head for the National Gallery of Ireland, right smack in the center of the city on Merrion Square. This extensive collection includes the vivid paintings of Jack B Yeats, a favorite of many Dubliners. A sunny café and extensive bookshop complete the National Gallery.
For kids there’s the Dublin Wax Museum, located in Temple Bar. For a reasonable admission fee you can see movie characters, actors, and famous people looking eerily alive in their wax forms. On a more serious note, the James Joyce Centre is dedicated to promoting an understanding of the life and work of the famous Irish writer; guided tours are available for an added fee, on top of the regular admission. During a trip to Dublin you won’t be stuck for choices for museums. Time spent in Dublin will provide you with a sense of Irish history, both in the museums and beyond.