Yesterday le boyfriend and I went to the National Museum of Ireland: Archaeology on Kildare Street, right in the heart of Dublin’s CBD. This is the second time I’ve been here and it is one of my absolute favourite museums!
The museum has a magnificent set of permanent exhibitions which will consume a morning or afternoon getting around.
Coming in to the museum and turning left you enter the prehistoric Ireland exhibit. I almost want to say start from the other side, because I think this is the most exciting, but we have to go chronologically. The earliest evidence for settlement in Ireland dates back to 7000 B.C.
These might look like rocks, but they are actually prehistoric tools.
Throwing lovingly back to my final year as an undergraduate, I finally got to see Irish bog bodies up close and… er… personal! The preservation off these men is not for the faint hearted and part of me really enjoyed the disgusted squeals of the Italian students. More than 2000 years old they look as though they could get up and come after you.
I also enjoyed this old map that shows just how prevalent bogs were in Ireland and just how treacherous life must have been.
Moving upstairs and working from your right, the museum also has a small collection of Greco-Roman and Egyptian artifacts. I particularly enjoyed seeing this in the Egyptian room. It is a model from Beni Hassan of a boat with rowers and an armed guard. One of the few wooden sculptures and diorama depicting everyday, civilian life in Ancient Egypt.
Also on the top floor is the Medieval Ireland exhibit with some beautiful devotional sculptures and items that would have been used in the early church.
The final room on the top floor is Tiernan’s favourite. It’s full of vikings. There is one Viking skeleton, plenty of swords and this awesome artist’s representation of what Dublin would have looked like in the early 8th century A.D. when the Vikings laid claim to Ireland.
Heading back downstairs we found ourselves in the Ór, Irish gold, exhibit in the middle of the ground floor and the Treasury in three galleries to the side.
No wonder the Vikings were so interested in this little green rock! There are some gorgeous Celtic pieces. The first time I was there a woman was sat drawing them in her sketchbook. I wish I had her talent because these photos don’t do the intricacies justice!
All this busy learning was followed by a well deserved pub lunch at the Duke. How delicious!