The most interesting museums in Ireland

National Museum of Ireland, photo by William Murphy

Many people go to Ireland because of its amazing natural attractions, castles, green countryside and of course, many great pubs. But if you are a culture seeker, there’s also a lot waiting for you on the Emerald Island. Ireland’s museums are a great way of experience part of the local culture, art and history, and you can spend many pleasant hours browsing through interesting collections on various topics. Most towns and cities in Ireland have at least a small museum where local artifacts are displayed, and many of these museums are so fascinating that they warrant an extra trip even if that particular destination wasn’t on your itinerary before. Here are some of the most interesting museums in Ireland.

National Museum of Ireland, Dublin

Three branches of the National Museum of Ireland are located in Dublin, and another one in Castle County Mayo, dealing with country life. If your interests run more along the lines of archaeology, decorative arts, history and natural history, then a you will definitely enjoy a tour of the Dublin branches. The collections have some fine examples of early Celtic metalwork (the brooch of Tara, Ardagh Chalice etc).

Cobh Heritage Centre, Cobh, Co Cork

The HMS Titanic made its last stop before sinking in Cobh, a pretty heritage town on the coast of County Cork. The Cobh Heritage Centre has an extensive exhibition on the ill-fated ship, as well as various collections related to Irish history. Although this is a fairly small museums, those who are interested in the story of the Titanic definitely shouldn’t miss it.

Hunt Museum, Limerick, Co Limerick

The Hunt Museum is undoubtedly one of the most interesting museums in Ireland thanks to its huge collection of art and antiquities, some of which date back to the Neolithic. While Irish artists are certainly well represented in the museum’s collection (JB Yeats, for example), there are some international highlights as well – pictures by Renoir and Picasso.

Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork City, Co Cork

Lewis Glucksman Gallery was recently opened on the campus of the University College Cork, and it has one of the best collections of modern art in Ireland. The architecture of the gallery has been subject to several awards, as were the exhibitions, which focus on childhood in contemporary photography, feminism, reinterpretation of modern art, etc.

National Maritime Museum of Ireland, Dun Laoghaire

The seaside town of Dun Laoghaire has been associated with maritime history for centuries, so it’s only fitting that it should be the home of the National Maritime Museum of Ireland. Exhibits include a boat captured from the French in 1796, a working lighthouse optic, and the Great Eastern, which was the largest ship in the world when it was built in 1857.

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