Places to visit: Exhibitions

National Museum Natural History

National Museum (Natural History)

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

The National Museum (Natural History) is located on Merrion Street. The building was constructed in 1856 to house the Royal Dublin Society’s growing collections, which had expanded continually since the late 18th Century.

The building is a ‘cabinet-style’ museum designed to showcase a wide-ranging and comprehensive zoological collection, and has changed little in over a century. Often described as a ‘museum of a museum’, its 10,000 exhibits provide a glimpse of the natural world that has delighted generations of visitors since the doors opened in 1857. Kids rate this venue a 5-star experience.

The building and its displays reflect many aspects of the history and development of the collections. It was originally built as an extension to Leinster House, where the Royal Dublin Society was based for much of the 19th Century. The building was designed by architect Frederick Clarendon.

In 1877 ownership of the Museum and its collections was transferred to the state. New funding was provided for the building, and new animals were added from an expanding British empire during the great days of exploration.

The Natural History division cares for the state collections in the disciplines of zoology and geology. The botanical collections of the Museum were transferred to the National Botanic Gardens in 1970.

The Natural History collections comprise approximately two million specimens. The largest of the collections, in terms of numbers, is the extensive insect collection, which accounts for about half of all specimens. There is a surprising amount of material from outside Ireland, much of this a legacy of the 19th Century British Empire, when Dublin was one of its most significant and populous cities, and Irish scientists and keen amateurs staffed the largest navy in the world and were involved in numerous expeditions to far away places.

The collections are used as a reference resource by staff and research visitors, and play an important role in the identification of specimens such as insect pests that may have considerable economic significance. Staff carry out field work, publish their own research and assist visitors who are also involved in scientific publications. Time is also spent acquiring new examples of the Irish fauna through regular fieldwork.

The ground floor is dedicated to Irish animals, featuring giant deer skeletons and a variety of mammals, birds and fish. The upper floors of the building were laid out in the 19th Century in a scientific arrangement showing animals by taxonomic group. This scheme demonstrated the diversity of animal life in an evolutionary sequence.

The main collections on display are:

  • Irish Fauna
  • Mammals of the World

The museum has been closed for some time to permit major conservation and renovation works to take place.  The ground floor of the Natural History Museum re-opens on August 2nd 2022. The rest of the Museum continues to be a building site.

The Office of Public Works have built a roof access platform underneath the glass ceiling to investigate the roof and understand the structure of the building, which is over 160 years old. The work needed to fix this Victorian museum will take some time and is part of a larger-scale refurbishment project of the entire building, which is planned under the National Development Plan. (The museum will close again some time in 2023).

Note that you now need to pre-book your ticket (which is free) to visit the museum. A booking system is necessary because the capacity of the museum building is limited. Booking helps officials to manage numbers and keep staff and visitors safe. The museum has a late Thursday evening opening (until 8 pm) for the month of August 2022 only.

Open Tues–Sat 10.00 am-5.00 pm, Sun & Mon 1.00 pm–5.00 pm.
Closed Good Friday, Christmas Day.

www.museum.ie

Merrion Street, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01 677 7444.

Admission free.

National Photographic Archive

National Photographic Archive

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

The National Photographic Archive houses the photographic collections of the National Library of Ireland (5.2 million photographs). There is a reading room and a gallery which showcases a programme of regularly changing exhibitions. Over 20,000 glass plate negatives (1870-1954) have been digitised and are viewable online.

The reading room in the NPA is open to researchers, by prior appointment only, Tues-Thur from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and Wednesday from 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm. You can make an appointment by phoning 01-603 0368 or by emailing npaoffice@nli.ie

‘Ireland on the Box’, a free exhibition of photographs celebrating 60 years of RTÉ television, is the current exhibition at the National Photographic Archive.

Open every day: 10.00 am to 4.00 pm.

www.nli.ie

Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01 603 0200.

Admission free.

National Print Museum

National Print Museum

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

The National Print Museum is a museum of printing craft skills. It has a collection of over 10,000 objects that covers the whole range of the printing craft in Ireland. The collection consists of printing machinery and artefacts including printing blocks, metal and wooden movable type, ephemera, photographs, books, pamphlets, periodicals and one banner. The collection policy covers from the introduction of movable type to Ireland (in the 16th century) to the present day.

Open Tues-Fri 10.00 am – 4.00 pm
Sat, Sun 12.00 pm – 4.00 pm
Closed Mondays, Public Holidays and Bank Holiday Weekends (Saturday-Monday inclusive)
Closed 21 Dec-Jan 1

Self-guided tours. Also guided tours for individual visitors and pre-booked groups (see below). The tour takes you through the history of printing, and the museum’s three part print-shop style exhibition (composing, printing and finishing areas). Caution – parking on site is very limited and parking “clampers” are active.

Guided tours most days at 12 noon (€5 per person)

www.nationalprintmuseum.ie

Garrison Chapel, Beggars Bush Barracks, Haddington Road, Dublin 4.

Tel: 01 6603770.

Admission free.

Number 29 Fitzwilliam St

Number Twenty Nine Fitzwilliam Street Lower

Number Twenty Nine Fitzwilliam Street Lower is a Georgian House Museum. You go on a self-guided tour from the basement to the attic. The rooms are furnished with original artefacts from 1790-1820, illustrating how life was lived in the late Georgian era by upper middle-class Dublin families. The museum is sponsored by the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) in partnership with the National Museum.

The Museum has been “temporarily closed” for some years to facilitate the construction of a new ESB Head Office Complex. Information about the proposed reopening date is impossible to obtain. It seems reasonable to conjecture that the museum will never reopen. [In early 2021, the ESB applied to convert the museum building into three luxury apartments. In February 2021, Dublin City Council refused planning permission, stating that: “The proposal would reduce the range of cultural and tourist activities in the city core and would set an undesirable precedent for the loss of further cultural facilities in the city”.]

In the past, the museum was open mid-Feb to mid-Dec Tues-Sat: 10.00 am-5.00 pm. Closed Sun, Mon. Guided tours (on a first come, first served basis) took place each afternoon at 3.00 pm; group tours were on a pre-arranged booked basis (11.00 am).

Here is a video tour of the House: www.numbertwentynine.ie

www.numbertwentynine.ie

Fitzwilliam Street Lower, Dublin 2.

Email: numbertwentynine@esb.ie

Adults €6; concessions.

Pearse Museum

Pearse Museum

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

The Pearse Museum was once a school run by Patrick Pearse (of 1916 fame). Set in attractive grounds, the museum houses an exhibition, with an audio-visual show entitled “This Man Kept a School”.

Open Nov-Jan every day 9.30 am-4.00 pm.
Open Feb every day 9.30 am-5.00 pm.
Open Mar-Oct every day 9.30 am-5.30 pm.
Open Sundays and Bank Holidays at 10.00 am (the closing time varies, as per the seasonal opening hours above).
Closed over the Christmas period.

www.heritageireland.ie

www.pearsemuseum.ie

St. Enda’s Park, Grange Road, Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin.

Tel: 01 493 4208.

Admission free. Café on site.

Royal Hibernian Academy

Royal Hibernian Academy

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

The Royal Hibernian Academy is an artist based and artist orientated institution dedicated to developing the public’s appreciation and understanding of traditional and innovative approaches to the visual arts. The Academy achieves its objectives through its exhibition, education and collection programmes.

The Academy has five galleries. Three on the first floor are dedicated to curated exhibitions of Irish and international art: The main gallery space comes to some 6000 sq.ft. The other two galleries have 1500 sq.ft each.

The Ashford Gallery is situated on the ground floor (1100 sq.ft.) and provides a service to artists who do not have commercial representation in Dublin. It is designed to introduce artists to the collecting public and prove their commercial viability.

The Dr Tony Ryan Gallery is also on the ground floor and is dedicated to showing private and public collections, including from time to time selections from the RHA Collection.

The RHA originated when artists from the Society of Artists in Ireland petitioned the Viceroy in the late 1700s for the opportunity to exhibit their works annually. A Royal Charter was finally granted in 1821, and the deeds were received in 1823, giving the Academy independence from all other institutions.

The RHA is made up of 30 Members, 15 Senior Members and 10 Associate Members, all of whom are professional artists. The disciplines of Architecture, Painting, Sculpture and Print (including Photography) are all represented by the Academy’s broad national membership.

In 1825 Francis Johnson, the esteemed Georgian architect, endowed the Academy with a house and Exhibition Gallery in Lower Abbey Street, which was subsequently destroyed by fire during the Easter Rising of 1916. The Academy was without a permanent premises until 1939, when it acquired the house and garden of 15 Ely Place.

In 1970 Matthew Gallagher of the Gallagher Group offered to provide the RHA with a complete gallery on the site at Ely Place. The new gallery was finally opened to the public in 1985 for the 156th Annual Exhibition, the first the RHA had held on its own premises for 69 years.

Opening Hours
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 11.00 am – 5.00 pm
Wednesday late night opening: 11.00 am – 6.30 pm
Sunday: 12.00 pm – 5.00 pm

www.rhagallery.ie

Royal Hibernian Academy, Gallagher Gallery, 15 Ely Place, Dublin 2

Tel: 01- 661 2558

Admission free

For what’s on now, see https://rhagallery.ie/whats-on/

Royal Hospital Kilmainham

Royal Hospital Kilmainham

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

The Royal Hospital Kilmainham is a 17th Century building modelled on Les Invalides in Paris as a retirement home for old, sick and disabled soldiers. The building contains the Master’s Quarters, the Great Hall, the Chapel, a magnificent Courtyard and a Vaulted Cellar. There are notable formal gardens. The Royal Hospital Kilmainham predates its sister, the Royal Hospital Chelsea, by just two years and is the oldest classical building in Ireland.

The Royal Hospital stands on the site of the 7th century Early Christian settlement of Cill Maighneann, from which the area of Kilmainham derives its name.

In 1174, Strongbow developed the site replacing the Christian settlement with a medieval hospital and monastery of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem (Knights Hospitallers).

With the dissolution of the monasteries under the rule of Henry VIII between 1536 and 1541, the settlement was closed and the lands remained vacant until 1680.

The Royal Hospital Kilmainham was established and built between 1680 and 1684 on a 60 acre site granted by King Charles II at the instigation of James Butler, First Duke of Ormond.

Inspired by ‘Les Invalides’ in Paris, France, then recently opened as Louis XIV’s home for his army pensioners, Ormond obtained a charter from King Charles to construct a similar type of building at Kilmainham.

A retirement home for old soldiers rather than a hospital, the building opened its doors in 1684 and for the next 243 years, thousands of army pensioners would live out their final days within its walls.

Classical in design and Continental in layout, leading architects such as William Robinson, Thomas Burgh and Francis Johnson worked on the building making the Royal Hospital not only a building of distinction, but the starting point of Dublin’s development into a city of European standing.

In the 19th century, the military significance of this building was greatly enhanced when it became the residence and headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief of the British army in Ireland.

The Royal Hospital remained an old soldier’s home until 1927 when it was finally handed over to the newly established Irish Free State Government, where it served a number of purposes in the decades that followed (including serving as Garda Headquarters from 1930 to 1950).

In 1980 Taoiseach Charles Haughey approved plans to renovate the building at a cost of IR£3 million. It took four years to complete the project – which is as long as it took to originally build it three centuries before!

Today, the Office of Public Works retells the story of this magnificent building through its ‘Old Man’s House’ Exhibition. Visitors can discover the history behind the North Range, the Formal Gardens, the Meadow and Dublin’s Oldest graveyard, Bully’s Acre. Located on the ground floor of the West Wing, the exhibition enables one to enter a window into the past,  learning about the lives of those who once worked and resided within its walls.

The building became home to the Irish Museum of Modern Art in 1991 (please click here for more information about IMMA).

You can read a full account of the Hospital’s fascinating history at www.imma.ie

The Royal Hospital Kilmainham is open all year for historical guided tours of its spacious grounds and beautiful gardens. Unfortunately, as part of the building is closed for refurbishment, there is limited access to the interior. Tours of the grounds and gardens are available daily and are free but booking is essential (phone 087-3422399 or email rhktours@opw.ie).

Open all year, Monday- Saturday: 10.00 am – 5.00 pm. Open Sunday and Bank Holidays: 12.00 pm- 5.00 pm. The IMMA art gallery is closed on Mondays.

Military Road, Kilmainham, Dublin 8

Tel: 01-6437 700 or 087-3422 399

Admission free.

www.heritageireland.ie

www.rhk.ie

Science Gallery

Science Gallery

The Science Gallery was a Trinity College venue promoting current areas of science and art-science collaborations. It was noted for its knowledgeable, enthusiastic staff. There were 4-6 temporary exhibitions each year, as well as lectures and other events.

The Science Gallery closed at the end of January 2022. Trinity College thanked the Science Gallery Dublin team whose hard work, know-how and unwavering commitment over the last 14 years helped ignite curiosity where science and art collided for over three million visitors.

A message from the Trinity Provost, Linda Doyle, issued on 28th January 2022, said among other things –

“Looking back, the gallery has been wonderful, but it has had problems in recent years. Unfortunately, in its present form, with its substantial and growing debt, it cannot overcome those problems. The current operational model has run its course.

The gallery needs to be totally reimagined and work very differently from the way it does now. Closing the gallery affords us the time to address the problems and build a new, exciting and sustainable way forward.

Colleagues and students across Trinity are eager to be involved, as are many of the long-time friends and supporters of the gallery. We can also count on widespread public support, as well as the wisdom and support of Science Gallery International.

Over the past months we have also had excellent engagement with multiple Government departments who have come together in a very collaborative manner and pledged support for our future ambitions.

None of what I have said above takes from the fact that the gallery has been a source of delight and inspiration since it opened in 2008. We are proud to have inspired other cities around the world to adopt our vision to showcase research and ideas from science and technology in exciting new ways.”

https://dublin.sciencegallery.com

 

 

Trinity College

Trinity College Dublin

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

Trinity College Dublin  was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I and is an atmospheric 40-acre site in the heart of the city. Treasures on view include the Book of Kells; the Books of Durrow and Armagh; and an early Irish harp. All are displayed in the Treasury and the Old Library/Long Room (which houses 200,000 rare books).

The Book of Kells is Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure and is the world’s most famous medieval manuscript. The 9th Century book is a richly decorated copy of the four Gospels of the life of Jesus Christ.  A must-see is the  Book of Kells “Turning Darkness into Light” exhibition.

Opening Hours
April to September: Monday – Saturday 8:30 am – 5.00 pm, Sunday 9:30 am to 5.00 pm
October – March: Monday – Saturday: 9.30 am – 5.00 pm, Sunday: 12.00 pm – 4.30 pm

www.tcd.ie

Trinity Library, College Street, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01 896 1000.

See the separate entry for the Zoological Museum.

Enjoy student-led walking tours through the four historical squares of the campus. Lasting 45 minutes, the tour provides visitors with an insight into the more than 400-year history of the College, its buildings, its traditions and its life today.  All of the guides are knowledgeable and enthusiastic students of Trinity College Dublin.

Book of Kells and Old Library – Adults €16; concessions
Book of Kells/Old Library and Trinity Campus Tour – Adults €27; concessions
Trinity Campus Tour only – Adults €15; concessions

Trinity College Zoological Museum

Zoological Museum (Trinity College)

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

Getting your picture taken through the jaws of a shark and feeling the might of a crocodile’s teeth are just some of the thrills on offer at Trinity College’s Zoological Museum. This 250-year old collection houses 25,000 specimens. Despite over two centuries of disruption and change, much of the collection remains intact and provides a vital undergraduate teaching resource for the Department of Zoology.

The Zoological Museum holds some of the most amazing creatures on the planet.

  • Don’t miss the tragic tale of Ireland’s Last Great Auk. Extinct since 1844, only a handful of these beautiful birds survive in museums today.
  • Meet Prince Tom, the ‘Royal’ elephant who travelled the world with Queen Victoria’s son, Prince Alfred.
  • Have your photograph taken through the jaws of a Great White Shark.
  • Admire the world-renowned delicate glass artworks of sea creatures crafted by father and son team Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka in the 19th century.
  • Keep clear of the giant Gavial – Is it as fierce as it looks?
  • Hold one of the world’s strangest teeth – What animal do you think it’s from?
  • Look out for the Tasmanian wolf – Is it really extinct?

Open Mon-Sun 10.30 am-4.00 pm (1 June to 31 August only). Closed during 2022. 

www.tcd.ie/visitors/zoological/

Zoological Museum, School of Natural Sciences, Department of Zoology, Trinity College, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01-8961366.

Admission €3.