Founded in 1877, Dublin’s Archaeology branch of the National Museum of Ireland houses a vast and varied collection of precious archaeological finds. See well-preserved Iron Age bog bodies, Celtic gold jewelry, and other ancient treasures such as the eighth-century Ardagh Chalice, which was used to dispense altar wine, and the intricately detailed Tara Brooch.
A common stop on hop-on hop-off tour bus routes of Dublin, this museum is designed to be explored independently. Tours and talks are held here occasionally, with places allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Two of the three other branches of the National Museum of Ireland are also located in Dublin: the Natural History Museum on Merrion Square is a 10-minute walk, while the Decorative Arts and History location at Collins Barracks is about a 15-minute drive.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The National Museum of Ireland is a must-visit for history and archaeology buffs, and anyone curious about Celtic art.
- All ground-floor galleries are accessible to wheelchair users, though the second floor is not.
- The museum houses a gift shop and a café serving locally sourced food.
How to Get There
The National Museum of Ireland is located on Kildare Street in Dublin. Take the Luas (tram) Green Line to St. Stephen’s Green and walk five minutes to the museum, or take the Red Line to Abbey Street and walk 10 minutes. Dublin Pearse railway station is just 10 minutes away on foot.
When to Get There
The National Museum is open year-round. It attracts most visitors during the peak summer tourist season, and is busiest on weekends. Come on a weekday morning to experience the exhibits without the crowds.
The Bog Bodies
Among the most attention-grabbing exhibits in the museum’s collection are the bog bodies. These well-preserved Iron Age human figures were pulled from peat in the Irish countryside. As well as the jarring visible details—you can still see fingernails and even hair—they are also fascinating because of their backstories: according to archaeologists and historians, it’s likely they were victims of torture and ritual sacrifice.