Places to visit: Museums

ChesterBeatty-Scroll

Chester Beatty Library *****

With free admission and described by the Lonely Planet as not just the best museum in Ireland but one of the best in Europe, the Chester Beatty Library is a must-see on any Dublin visitor’s itinerary. Both an art museum and a library, it features rich collections from countries across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, and opens a window on the artistic treasures of the great cultures and religions of the world.  If time permits, visit the rooftop garden, a secret Dublin gem. 

Manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, rare books and decorative arts complete this amazing collection, all the result of the collecting activities of one man – Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968). Egyptian papyrus texts and beautifully illuminated copies of the Qur’an, the Bible, European medieval and renaissance manuscripts are among the highlights on display. In its diversity, the collection captures much of the richness of human creative expression from about 2700 BC to the present day.

Opening Times
Mon-Fri: 10.00 am-5.00 pm (March-October)
Tues-Fri: 10.00 am-5.00 pm (November-February)
Saturdays: 11.00 am-5.00 pm (all year)
Sundays: 1.00 pm-5.00 pm (all year)
Closed Bank Holiday Mondays, Good Friday, 24-26 Dec, 1 Jan

Free guided tours are available at 1 pm on Wednesdays, 2 pm on Saturdays and 3 pm on Sundays. Tours are on a first-come, first- served basis with no booking required. In the past, tours have been restricted to 15 visitors per tour. 

www.cbl.ie

Dublin Castle, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01 4070750.

Admission free.

Croke Park

Croke Park Stadium Tour and GAA Museum ****

Croke Park is an iconic stadium, steeped in history, and has been at the heart of Irish sporting and cultural life for over 100 years. Enjoy an unrivalled state-of-the-art interactive visitor experience and find out more about Ireland’s unique national games – hurling and Gaelic football.

The Croke Park Stadium Tour offers an access-all-areas trip through the home of Irish sport. Walk in the footsteps of legends as you visit the team dressing rooms before going pitchside and taking a seat in the VIP area. Enjoy panoramic views from the top tier of the stand – 30 metres above the famous pitch.

Explore the museum with its new exhibition galleries that vividly illustrate the story of Gaelic games from ancient times to the present day. Test your own hurling and football skills in the interactive games zone.

Opening Times

January – May and September – December
Monday-Friday: 11.00 am, 1.00 pm and 3.00 pm
Saturday: 10.00 am, 11.00 am, 12.00 pm, 1.00 pm, 2.00 pm and 3.00 pm
Sunday & Bank Holiday: 11.00 am, 12.00 pm, 1.00 pm, 2.00 pm and 3.00 pm

June
Monday – Friday: 11.00 am, 1.00 pm, 3.00 pm and 4.00 pm
Saturday: 10.00 am, 11.00 am, 12.00 pm, 1.00 pm, 2.00 pm, 3.00 pm and 4.00 pm
Sunday & Bank Holiday: 11.00 am, 12.00 pm, 1.00 pm, 2.00 pm and 3.00 pm

July and August
Monday – Saturday: 10.00 am, 11.00 am, 12.00 pm, 1.00 pm, 2.00 pm, 3.00 pm and 4.00 pm
Sunday & Bank Holiday: 10.00 am, 11.00 am, 12.00 pm, 1.00 pm, 2.00 pm and 3.00 pm

Check website for match day information (when restrictions apply).

www.crokepark.ie

Croke Park, St Joseph’s Avenue (off Clonliffe Road), Dublin 3

Tel: 01 819 2300

Adults €14; concessions

Dublin Writers Museum

Dublin Writers’ Museum

The idea of a Dublin Writers Museum was originated by the journalist and author Maurice Gorham (1902 – 1975), who proposed it to Dublin Tourism. Opened in November 1991 at 18 Parnell Square, the museum occupies an original eighteenth-century mansion. The Irish Writers’ Centre next door contains the meeting rooms and offices of the Irish Writers’ Union, the Society of Irish Playwrights, the Irish Children’s Book Trust and the Translators’ Association of Ireland. The basement beneath both houses is occupied by the Chapter One restaurant.

The Museum was established to promote interest, through its collection, displays and activities, in Irish literature as a whole and in the lives and works of individual Irish writers. Through its association with the Irish Writers’ Centre it provides a link with living writers and the international literary scene.

In the two Museum Rooms is presented a history of Irish literature from its beginnings up to recent times. The panels describe the various phases, movements and notable names, while the showcases and pictures illustrate the lives and works of individual writers. 

The Museum Collection contains many books, representing the milestones in the progress of Irish literature from Gulliver’s Travels to Dracula, The Importance of Being Earnest, Ulysses and Waiting for Godot. Most of these are first or early editions. 

Among the pens, pipes and typewriters there are some unusual personal possessions – Lady Gregory’s lorgnette, Austin Clarke’s desk, Samuel Beckett’s telephone, Mary Lavin’s teddy bear, Oliver Gogarty’s laurels and Brendan Behan’s union card. Also on view is Handel’s chair, used at the opening night of The Messiah.

The Gallery of Writers is a splendidly decorated room containing portraits and busts of Irish writers. The room is used for receptions, exhibitions and special occasions. At the top of the grand staircase, the Gorham Library is notable for its Stapleton ceiling.

Open Mon-Sat 10.00 am–5.00 pm; Sun/Bank Holidays 11.00 am – 5.00 pm. Check Christmas/New Year opening times on the website.

www.writersmuseum.com

The above website has a history of failing to load. So you might find the Lonely Planet website’s review useful – www.lonelyplanet.com

18 Parnell Square North, Dublin 1.

Tel: 01 872 2077.

Adults €7.50; concessions.

Glasnevin Cemetery

Glasnevin Museum and Cemetery ****

Wittily dubbed “Croak Park” by local wags, over 1.5 million people are buried here. Visit the graves of famous people and hear about Irish history on a guided tour. Trace your roots in the Genealogy Area (all the records are available online at www.glasnevintrust.ie/genealogy).

The highly popular general history tour gives an insight into Victorian and later times. Visit the final resting place of men and women who have helped shape Ireland’s past and present, such as Daniel O’Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell, Michael Collins, Maud Gonne and Roger Casement. Explore the high walls and watchtowers surrounding Glasnevin and learn about the colourful history of Dublin’s grave robbers.

A particularly dramatic attraction is the once-a-day re-enactment of famous speeches (e.g. Patrick Pearse delivering the graveside oration at Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa’s funeral or James Larkin’s famous speech made at the front gates of Mountjoy Prison). These take place at 2.30 pm each day.

Padraig Pearse’s 1915 oration [“The Fools, the Fools, the Fools! – they have left us our Fenian dead – And while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace”] roused Irish republican feeling and was a significant element in the lead-up to the Easter Rising of 1916.

Museum attractions include the City of the Dead (an exhibition covering the burial practices and meticulous record-keeping regarding the 1,500,000 people buried in Glasnevin); the Religion Wall (illustrating different beliefs about the after-life); the Milestone Gallery (which houses a succession of special exhibitions on key historical figures, starting with Glasnevin’s founder, Daniel O’Connell); and the Timeline (a 10- metre long digitally interactive table containing details of the lives and relationships of hundreds of the most famous people buried here).

When planning a visit to the Cemetery, remember that you can now access the Botanic Gardens via the cemetery. A gate access to the “Botanics” from within the cemetery has been re-opened. The gate is located along the wall at the far side of Glasnevin Cemetery (the Prospect Square entrance).

Museum Opening Times: Monday to Sunday inc Bank Holidays 10.00 am-6.00 pm.

General History Tour: Daily at 10.30 am, 11.30 am, 12.30 pm, 1.30 pm, 2.30 pm & 3.30 pm
Dead Interesting Tour: Daily at 1.00 pm (March – Sept 2017)

Glasnevin also offers a variety of walking tours for pre-booked private groups of 15 or more. Topics include Rising Tours (guided tours of the graves of combatants and civilians involved in, and affected by the 1916 Rising); Women’s Tours (famous women interred in Glasnevin Cemetery); Literary/Cultural Tour (writers, artists and musicians, both famous and forgotten); Joycean Tour (a journey through the life and imagination of James Joyce – from the Hades chapter of Ulysses to the final resting place of his parents); Labour Tour (visit the Graves of those who fought for change and social reform); Military History Tour (from those who fought with Wellington in the Napoleonic campaigns through to the trenches of World War One, plus figures that fought in the Civil Wars of America and Spain); and Shared History Tour (referencing the Ulster Covenant, The First World War, The Easter Rising and The War of Independence). Booking with at least two weeks’ notice is essential for any group wishing to take one of these tours. To book a tour please contact booking@glasnevintrust.ie or call 01 882 6577.

There is limited car parking space on the main road opposite the cemetery. However, a convenient but hard to find car park is available within the housing estate opposite the cemetery (a fee of €2 is payable as you leave this car park).

www.glasnevinmuseum.ie

Finglas Road, Dublin 11.

Tel: 01 882 6550.

General History Tour (incl entry to museum) – Adult €13; concessions.
Dead Interesting Glasnevin Tour (incl entry to museum) – Adults €13; concessions.
Museum only – Adults €6.50; concessions.

 

Hurdy Gurdy Museum Of Vintage Radio

Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio

The Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio houses an extensive collection of exhibits chronicling the history of telecommunications from the 1840s onwards. There are examples of early Morse equipment, gramophones, crystal sets, valve radios and other pieces of equipment. Pat Herbert is the curator.

Located in the Howth Martello Tower, the site has historic links with Marconi and Lee deForest, two of the fathers of wireless, who conducted early experiments from the tower in the 1900’s. One of the first ship-to-shore messages was received in this building.

The Martello tower is located on Tower Hill, overlooking Howth Harbour. Access is from Abbey Street up a sloping pathway, almost opposite the Abbey Tavern.

Open May-October 11.00 am to 4.00 pm daily
Open Nov-April 11.00 am to 4.00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays only

https://sites.google.com/site/hurdygurdymuseum/home

Martello Tower, Howth, Co. Dublin

Phone 086-8154189

Admission: Adults €5, Concessions. 

Irish Jewish Museum

Irish Jewish Museum **

The Irish Jewish Museum houses a collection of photographs, paintings, and memorabilia telling the story of Ireland’s Jewish communities in Dublin & other Irish cities over the last 150 years. Staffed by volunteers, the museum is located on the site of Dublin’s Walworth Road Synagogue, once in the heartland of “Little Jerusalem,” a densely populated Jewish enclave off the South Circular Road.

Winter (October to May): Open Sundays, 10.30 am to 2.30 pm
Summer (June to mid-September): Open Mondays, Tuesday, Wednesdays, Thursday and Sundays from 11.00 am – 3.00 pm
Groups of ten or more must always be booked in advance (contact info@jewishmuseum.ie to book a tour). Pre-booked groups can visit outside of normal opening hours.

Always closed on Jewish holidays.

www.jewishmuseum.ie

www.jewishireland.org

3 Walworth Road (near Victoria, Lennox & Harrington Streets), South Circular Road, Dublin 8.

Tel: 01 4531797 (office hours); otherwise, 085 7067357 (texts only)

Admission €5. Tours €7.

Irish Rock'n'Roll Museum

Irish Rock’n’Roll Museum Experience

The Irish Rock’n’Roll Museum Experience is essentially a tour featuring some of Dublin’s best loved professional music facilities, including the Button Factory (a live music venue); Temple Lane Rehearsal Studios; and Temple Lane Recording Studio (where artists such as Rihanna, the Script and Kodaline have recorded).

The Thin Lizzy exhibition celebrates one of Ireland’s greatest bands, within the setting of Apollo Studio where Phil Lynott recorded his last songs before his untimely death. The exhibition is incorporated into a fully functioning studio and features memorabilia such as gold and platinum albums, set lists, some of Phil Lynotts’s costumes, and musical instruments.

The Wall of Fame as a symbol of Irish music royalty has been a fixture in Temple Bar since its unveiling in 2003, providing a focal point for many of Dublin’s walking tours and showcasing the music that is such an integral part of Irish culture. Recently, LED screens were added to the exhibit, allowing for new artists to be added to the exhibit more frequently.

Down through history, certain guitars and equipment have become as legendary as the musicians who play them. Gibson, Fender, Marshall, and Vox are companies that any musician or music enthusiast will know and love. On display in the museum is an extensive variety of vintage instruments and equipment.

Temple Lane Rehearsal Studios are the premiere rehearsal studios in Dublin. Many acts do pre-production for albums here, trying out new material and getting songs ready to record or perform. Now you can experience what it’s like to rehearse with your very own band.

Temple Lane Recording Studio has been at the centre of Irish music since 1984. Countless bands have recorded here, including Paolo Nutini, The Script, Rihanna and many more. Now, for the first time, explore and experience the iconic studios for yourself.

Open 7 days a week 11.00 am to 5.30 pm

www.irishrocknrollmuseum.com/

Curved Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2

Tel: 01-6351993

Adults €16; concessions

Irish Whiskey Museum

Irish Whiskey Museum

The Irish Whiskey Museum uncovers the intriguing story of Irish whiskey. Learn the origins of Irish whiskey, its rise to glory, its dramatic fall and its current revival. Located opposite the main entrance of Trinity College, the museum is very centrally located.

The Museum contains a unique collection of Irish whiskey memorabilia that dates back to the 1800s. At the end of the tour you enjoy a sample of Irish whiskey.

The Classic Tour consists of a fully guided tour and three crafted Irish whiskey tastings. The Premium Tour consists of a tour, three crafted Irish whiskey tastings, and a fourth aged Irish whiskey, matured for a minimum of 10 years. You also bring home a complimentary Irish Whiskey Museum souvenir. The Blending Experience is an extended 90-minute option, followed by a tasting of four Irish whiskeys. You also blend your own personalised bottle of whiskey to take home.

Opening Hours:
Summer: 10.00 am (first tour 10:30 am) to 6.00 pm (last tour 6.00 pm)
Winter: 10.30 am (first tour 11.00 am) to 6.00 pm (last tour 6.00 pm)

www.irishwhiskeymuseum.ie

119 Grafton Street, Dublin 2

Tel: 01-5250970

Prices: Classic Tour – Adults €17; concessions. Premium Tour – Adults €20; concessions. Blending Experience – Adults €28; concessions.

Iveagh Trust Museum Flat 4

Iveagh Trust Museum Flat ***

For the past 120 years, the Iveagh Trust has offered affordable rented housing to people on low incomes, and good quality hostel accommodation for homeless men. The Trust owns and manages about 1,350 units of social rented and hostel accommodation in Dublin City and suburbs. This includes the famous Iveagh Hostel in central Dublin for homeless men (195 bedrooms).

A number of housing complexes were built by the Trust to replace slum dwellings in the area of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Patrick Street and Christ Church Cathedral between 1896 and 1945. The work was funded by the Guinness family at a time when Dublin city had the worst housing in the British Isles. In the early 1900s the flight of the middle class from the inner city to new suburbs left 50% of city dwellers in tenements. 33% of families lived in just one room. Insanitary, unhealthy conditions and extremely high mortality rates prevailed.

Flat 3B on the Bull Alley Estate is the only flat in The Iveagh Trust stock which has remained largely unchanged since the first tenants took up occupancy in 1904. The bulk of the furniture and fittings was acquired by the Trust from the Molloy family. The flat contains a living room and 2 bedrooms (one doubling as a food preparation area). Outside on the landing is a communal sink, w/c, and storage cupboard, used by the family to store coal.

Nellie Molloy, one of six children, found work as a weaver with the Greenmount Linen Co. in Harold’s Cross and had 27 years service there, until she left work to look after her sick mother. The rest of the family married. Nellie’s mother died in October 1967 and Nellie continued to live in the flat until her own death at the age of 95 in October 2002. By keeping her surroundings as they always had been, Nellie kept her memories of deceased family members very much alive. Following discussions with the family, the Trustees decided that the flat should remain a museum – a visual reminder of flat design and of how families lived in early 20th century Dublin tenements.

Viewing can be arranged for small groups by appointment only (phone 01 454 2312, during office hours Mon-Fri).

Flat 3b Iveagh Trust, Bull Alley Estate, Patrick Street, Dublin 8.

www.theiveaghtrust.ie

The Trust launched a website in 2013 with extensive information on its current activities, housing estates, homeless hostel & tenant services. The long history of the Iveagh Trust is also chronicled (www.theiveaghtrust.ie)

James Joyce Tower

The James Joyce Tower on Sandycove Point is one of a series of fifteen similar Martello towers built around Dublin in 1804 to counter the threat of an invasion by Napoleon. The design was based on that of a tower on Cape Mortella in Corsica which had resisted a British attack in 1794.

The Tower is about forty feet high with walls eight feet thick. There was a single entrance ten feet above the ground which could only be approached by ladder. On top of the tower was a gun deck with a carriage on a swivel. Its eighteen pounder cannon had a range of about a mile.

In 1904 the tower was demilitarised and put up for rent at £8 a year by the War Department. The first tenant was Oliver St John Gogarty, a medical student and budding poet, who moved in in August and invited the twenty-two-year-old James Joyce to join him. Joyce was slow to take up the invitation and did not arrive at the tower until 9 September, by which time their friendship had cooled. They were joined by Samuel Chenevix Trench, an Oxford friend of Gogarty’s.

Joyce’s stay was brief. He was chased out of the tower on the night of 14 September and never returned. A month later he left Ireland for a literary career in Europe. The first chapter of his famous novel “Ulysses”, published in 1922, was set in the tower with characters based on himself and his companions. As a result, the tower became his monument, despite the fact that Gogarty had been the tenant and that it had been visited over the years by many celebrated Irish personalities.

The tower was bought in 1954 by the architect Michael Scott. With the help of a gift of money from the filmmaker John Huston, he and his friends set up the James Joyce Museum which was opened on 16 June 1962 by Sylvia Beach, the first publisher of Ulysses. Over the years the museum collection has grown, thanks to the generosity of many donors. In 1978, an exhibition hall was added to the building and a new entrance was put in at ground level.

At one stage, it seemed that the James Joyce Tower and Museum would cease to exist, as the resources necessary to keep it open were no longer available. Thankfully, the people of Sandycove and Glasthule were not prepared to let such a catastrophe occur. An organisation of volunteers, the ‘Friends of Joyce Tower Society’, was formed with the objective of keeping the tower and its museum open. With the support of Fáilte Ireland (the tower’s current custodian), the Society now operates the tower.

Open daily: Summer 10.00 am – 6.00 pm; Winter 10.00 am – 4.00 pm.

www.joycetower.ie

James Joyce Museum, Sandycove Point, Sandycove, Co. Dublin.

Tel: 01 280 9265

Admission free; donations welcomed.