Top 10 Most Interesting Museums in Ireland: Part 3

Irish Museums

Museums of Ireland

All Ireland’s museums change our perceptions of endless halls, dusty shop windows and grumpy old ladies-in-waiting. Take a fascinating journey through different eras.

Top 10 Popular Irish Museums

Let’s visit some of Ireland’s most interesting museum treasures:

  1. The National Museum of Ireland . It is located in the center of the Irish capital. It was founded in 1877 and is dedicated to history and decorative arts. The museum’s collections include prehistoric gold, Ireland’s national attributes – pottery, silver, furniture, weapons. Samples of folk costumes and folklore are collected here. Visitors are especially attracted by the human skeleton, which was found as far back as the Iron Age and is well preserved to this day.
  2. State Museum of Heraldry . Founded in 1908, it is the oldest museum on the subject. Its unique exhibitions are devoted to heraldic symbolism and the various Irish coats of arms. Here you can see both state coats of arms and symbols of eminent dynasties or families.
  3. National Maritime Museum of Ireland . It is devoted to the history of seafaring in this country. The basis of the museum collection – the materials of the family of the ship’s captain of the Great Eastern. Here you can view images of various sailing ships that were used to bring food to Ireland during World War II. The model of the ship Sirius draws particular attention. The museum is located on the grounds of St. Michael’s Church.
  4. Leprechaun Museum in Ireland . These little fairy tale men are one of the unofficial symbols of Ireland. The museum is located near the Wolfe Tone Square. It was opened to preserve the original Irish culture. Everyone who gets here can feel like a leprechaun, because all the furniture in the halls of the museum is huge, its size is several times larger than the real one.
  5. Museum of Modern Art . It is located in a beautiful old building from the XVII century. Here are collected works of art, which were created after 1940. Here throughout the year are various thematic exhibitions, as well as theater productions and concerts.
  6. National Printing Museum . It was opened in 1996. You will learn about the history of printing and will be shown different documents about the craft. The museum offers tours and exhibitions, lectures and seminars.
  7. Waterford Treasure Museum . Located in the city of Waterford, it was opened in 1999. The main part of its exhibits are items found during excavations conducted in the city center. In addition, there are other ancient artifacts that have been collected during the city’s thousands of years of existence. The museum has a theater, a cafe and a souvenir shop.
  8. Museum Cemetery in Glasnevin . This is Ireland’s most unusual museum, located in an ancient cemetery where more than 1.5 million people are buried. The museum’s modern glass building has a ten-meter panel with touch-screen monitors. Their database contains information about the lives of those people buried here.
  9. Guinness Beer Museum . This is a very popular institution in Ireland, which was opened in 2006. Under its roof is a display of antique brewing equipment, on which visitors can even press buttons. On one of the floors you can see a huge collection of beer bottles. The tour of the museum ends with a tasting of the famous drink.
  10. Jameson Distillery Museum . It is dedicated to the history and methods of making Irish whiskey. All of its exhibits recreate the realities of the production of this drink. First visitors can watch a short film, and then go through all the stages of whiskey production, from grain harvesting to demonstration of oak barrels, in which the hops are aged. The tour is followed by a tasting, and you can buy a bottle of real Irish whiskey in the company store.
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Attractions in Ireland

The Republic of Ireland is a state in the north of Europe. Its territory covers a large part of the island with the same name and a number of smaller ones. The capital is Dublin, where about a quarter of the population of the country is concentrated, more than 1.5 million people. Ireland is a member of the European Union since 1973. Because of the set of historical events that happened in this country in antiquity and excellent excursion tours the vacation in Ireland will be remembered for a long time. And what sights Ireland has to offer will be revealed in the article below.

What to see in Ireland?

The main and most interesting sights with descriptions and photos.

1. Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle is one of the main attractions of Ireland. It is a whole complex of government buildings located in the capital. It is located south of the River Liffey, its main structures were built in the early XIII century on the site of an old Viking fortress. Dublin Castle was built as a powerful defensive structure – the thick walls and several watchtowers testify to that. But throughout its history it was never besieged or stormed. In XVIII century, after the biggest fire of the previous century, the castle was completely reconstructed, during which most of the fortifications were pulled down and the defensive moat was filled up. Only the tallest tower, the Record Tower, which was built in 1230, has survived. Visitors to Dublin Castle can see the remainder of the wall, which adjoined the Birmingham-Poddle Tower. The castle was occupied by the English government until 1922. Since 1930 it has hosted the most solemn events and the inaugurations of Irish presidents.

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2. Cashel Rock.

This castle is located near the town of the same name and is among the most visited attractions in Ireland. For several hundred years, the castle served as the residence of kings, until the Normans seized power. It was also where St. Patrick led his sermons, converting the king himself to Christianity. The first fortifications of the castle were founded by Conal Cork in IV century A.D. However, in 1101 the castle was given to the church, and half a century later, in 1152, it became the residence of bishops. When the civil war broke out in 1647, the castle was sacked by parliamentary troops, killing many civilians and clergymen (more than 3 thousand). As a result, the Rock of Cashel became a symbol of the brutality of the invaders and the courage of the Irish. Now the castle is open to all, and the buildings of the complex are undergoing reconstruction.

3. Cliffs of Moher.

Landmarks of Ireland such as the Cliffs of Moher are a calling card of the country. On average, the height of these cliffs reaches 120 meters near the Hags Head, but there is a site that rises to 214 meters, it is located 8 kilometers to the north, near the tower of O’Brian. The Cliffs of Moher are located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, forming a cliff. Thanks to the great view, this place is visited by more than 1 million tourists annually, and in 2006 the cliffs were named one of the most visited places in the country. A year later a visitor center was opened there. It was specially made eco-friendly and disguised as a hill covered with grass. The basis of the cliffs consists of shale and sandstone, and the rocks are home to over 30 thousand birds of 20 different species, some of which are quite rare.

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4. St. Patrick’s Cathedral

This cathedral is the largest in Ireland. Erected in Dublin and given to the Anglican Church. The head is a dean, not a bishop. The most famous person to head the cathedral was Jonathan Swift. Mentions of the structure date back to 1191, when Archbishop John Comyn gave the church cathedral status. Subsequently, a whole complex of various buildings and the archbishop’s palace were built around it. After 1212, the church acquired full-fledged status of a cathedral, and 13 years later, reconstruction began, which brought the English Gothic style to the appearance of the building. In the XVII century, the cathedral was completely destroyed, but the monks in 1660 began to restore it. Nowadays the Cathedral is one of the main symbols of Irish culture and a famous landmark in Dublin.

5. Guinness Brewery

Landmarks in Ireland

Guinness is one of the most popular brands of beer. It all started when Arthur Guinness, having received a gift of 200 pounds in 1752, decided to spend it on renting a brewery. Subsequently it was bought out, and his descendants began to actively expand the family business. Dublin is home to the Guinness Storhouse Brewery, which is the most popular tourist destination in the whole of Ireland. The country is visited by 9 million tourists a year, and every eighth of them visit this Irish attraction. Here anyone can take part in the process of making the drink, as well as try different recipes. There is also a pub on the top floor where you can exchange your admission ticket for a pint of fresh beer.

6. Irish Museum of Modern Art

The museum opened in 1991 in the former Royal Hospital, which dates back to the 17th century. A process of refurbishment was carried out beforehand, glass stands were erected, and aluminum railings were made. The lighting is adapted to the location of the exhibits. The exhibited rarities relate to the history of the city and reflect the events that took place there. A separate category is represented by Viking artifacts. Overall, this museum will be of interest to anyone interested in Irish history.

7. Cair Castle

Cair is a large Irish castle. It is located between Waterford and Limerick. The first stone fortifications appeared on this site in 1142 by order of Connor O’Brian, Prince of Thomond. Subsequently, the castle grew into a huge fortress. In 1650, the garrison surrendered to Oliver Cromwell, which allowed it to remain in excellent condition until modern times. In the 1960s, Cair Castle was given to the government and opened to tourists, becoming one of the main attractions of Ireland.

8. Bunratty Castle.

In the west of Ireland, in County Clare, is Bunratty Castle, the last of four built on the site of a Viking trading outpost. The O’Brien and MacNamara clans built it in 1425. It survives to this day largely unchanged. Now on the territory of the castle there is a museum, which was opened in 1960. There are collections of ancient wooden furniture, decorated with carvings and tapestries of the XV – XVI centuries.

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The park, not far from the castle, shows Irish life in the Victorian era. Visitors can see stores and houses typical of the time, collected from all over Ireland. Antique utensils, detailed decorations and minute elements of decoration create the atmosphere of real life, typical of an Irish settlement of the eighteenth century. Bunratty Castle is a very popular attraction. This is facilitated not only by the proximity of the airport, but also holding in the castle of medieval banquets. In the summer, in the evenings, tourists are invited to the Banquet Hall, where musicians play, and at the tables are served by girls dressed in national costumes.

9. Kell Abbey

At 64 km from Dublin there is a monastery founded by St. Columba in 554. An Irish round tower was erected for defense against numerous enemies. The abbey became famous because within its walls the main part of the legendary Book of Kells was created, which was kept there until 1650, when Cromwell ordered the book to be sent to Dublin. It is now in Trinity College in the capital. The Abbey was featured in the famous cartoon “The Mystery of Kells” in 2009, making it a popular tourist destination in Ireland.

10. Jameson Distillery Museum

The Jameson Distillery Museum is a unique Irish attraction that most tourists and visitors to Dublin tend to visit. The most famous Irish national drink has been created here since 1780. Visitors are taken on a real journey into the world of the past and the history of the drink’s creation, as well as its tasting. The Jameson brand of whiskey is considered one of the most popular – annual sales are more than 2 million cases. A resident of Ireland, John Jameson, established the production of this alcoholic beverage in 1780. The increased demand helped the company to grow rapidly and by 1823 the Jameson distillery was already the second largest producer of whisky in Ireland. In the 20th century the distillery experienced many ups and downs and then in 1975, the main production was transferred to a newly built distillery in Cork and the old distillery continued to operate as a showcase distillery, partly combined with a museum.

11. the Cong Abbey

Landmarks in Ireland

Built fourteen centuries ago, Cong Abbey, also called “St. Phekin’s Gulch,” is located in the small Irish village of the same name. But the first cloister did not survive, because on its ruins in 1120 a monastery was erected for the Augustinian order, which had its own training center. However, during the reign of King Henry VIII, the abbey was closed and all the valuable relics were taken to other churches and castles. In the Dublin National Museum, the Kong Cross is preserved. Little remains of the abbey. Thick ivy-covered walls, Gothic-style doors and galleries have been restored. In many places of the abbey you can notice carved stone ornaments of extraordinary beauty – the work of talented local craftsmen. There is a lake near the abbey, and a small fishing lodge has been built nearby. A long time ago, a small device was installed in it, which has survived to this day. Its function is as follows: if a fish was caught on a hook, a bell rang in the abbey refectory.

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12: National Maritime Museum of Ireland

The National Maritime Museum of Ireland was founded in Dan Lore, built in 1480. It is located on the grounds of St. Michael’s Church. And although the museum began its work in 1941, it opened its doors to visitors only 40 years later. There were collections with exhibits as well as 40,000 volumes of literature. Over the years, city officials’ interest in maritime history has waned and the museum staff works hard to tell visitors about the discoveries and accomplishments of Irish sailors and the true maritime brotherhood. The media periodically raises funds for the restoration of the building. The museum has many models of the sailing ships that brought products to Ireland during World War II.

13. Macross House Manor

This Irish landmark is located six kilometers from Killarney and is visited by more than 250,000 tourists each year. The building was built in 1843, for the Herbert family. The family had planned to build a more imposing house, but then the landlady asked to make it more compact. Now the house has 45 rooms. The halls and living rooms are decorated in the Tudor style. The second floor is much simpler in design, and the basement houses the kitchen and utility rooms. In 1932, the building and all the property were given to the people. In the 60s, after a complete restoration, the manor house was opened to the public. Today, the museum complex includes: the homestead, Macross farm, rhododendron garden and arboretum.

14. Blackrock Castle

Landmarks in Ireland

Blackrock Castle was built at the request of residents, two kilometers from the city of Cork, to deter criminals, but it was more often used for all sorts of feasts, balls and other celebrations. However, in 1827 in the castle was a fire and it took two years to restore. During that time the castle had “grown” by three floors and changed its design to resemble Neo-Gothic. In 2001, the castle was acquired by the company “Cork Corporation”. And since then it houses offices, an observatory and an astronomical center.

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