The National Museum of Ireland has an extensive collection, with almost 4 million specimens and objects dedicated to the history and culture of the country. This impressive collection is broken down into a number of groups, including antiquities, art and industry, folklife, and natural history. For instance, if you’re into archaeology, the Irish National Museum has metalwork from the Celtic Iron Age and an impressive collection of medieval jewelry. The titles of the exhibitions alone will leave you wondering where to begin: Life and Death in the Roman World, Ancient Egypt, Viking Ireland. All of these stunning exhibitions are free and open to the public.
Along with the Chester Beatty Library, this free museum in Ireland provides access to Irish culture and history without costing visitors a penny. If you’re more interested in decorative arts than architecture, there’s plenty of this to offer at the museum as well. From Irish coins and country furniture to a Dubliner’s collection of Asian art, visitors will feast their eyes on an outstanding range of artifacts throughout the museum.
Opening hours for the National Museum of Ireland are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and on Sunday from 2 pm to 5 pm. The museum is closed on Mondays and national holidays. As of 2010, the natural history museum is still closed and undergoing extensive renovations; however, the rest of the collection is on display in a few different places throughout Dublin city center.
If you’re interested in the decorative arts and history, you will want to visit the Irish National Museum at Collin’s Barracks. The archaeology exhibits are located on Kildare Street; consult the museum for maps and directions on how to reach each venue. One popular item that visitors plan to see is the Ardagh Chalice, which is known as one of the finest works of Celtic art, along with the Book of Kells. Dating to the eighth century, the Ardagh Chalice is two-handled and made of silver and gold; it was used for Eucharistic wine during church services. It is on display in the Irish antiquities division of the museum. There is a museum café and shop available on the premises as well. If you’re interested in taking a guided tour, these are available for a small fee and last about 45 minutes.