Housed within an 18th-century military barracks, the National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History branch displays an eclectic collection of furniture, coins, ceramics, silverware, and decorative objects. Permanent exhibits focus on Irish military history, furniture over the centuries, and the evolution of Irish fashion.
Most visitors explore the museum’s exhibitions independently, reading informational signage for context. Free guided tours—typically focusing on one or two exhibitions within the museum—are offered occasionally, on a first-come, first-served basis. Permanent exhibitions cover topics such as rural Irish furniture or silverware, and the history of Irish fashion and clothing. In addition to its permanent exhibitions, the museum usually hosts several temporary exhibitions, too.
Flexible multi-day Dublin tours are available, offering hop-on hop-off transportation plus admission to museums and other attractions; this may be a good option for those who plan to do a lot of sightseeing.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Decorative Arts and History branch of the National Museum of Ireland is a must for history buffs and culture enthusiasts.
- Pick up a floor plan on arrival to help plan your visit.
- The museum has a cloakroom, accessible toilets, and baby-changing facilities.
- There is seating in most of the galleries.
- All galleries in the museum are wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
The Decorative Arts and History branch of the National Museum of Ireland is situated at Collins Barracks on the north side of the River Liffey in Dublin city center. To get there, take the Red Line Luas to the Museum stop.
When to Get There
Like many museums in Dublin, the Decorative Arts and History branch of the National Museum of Ireland is closed Monday. The galleries are open 10am to 5pm Tuesday through Saturday, and 2pm to 5pm Sunday. They’re most crowded during the afternoon, so arrive early to avoid the crowds.
National Museum of Ireland Collections
The Decorative Arts & History collection at Collins Barracks is one of four branches of the National Museum of Ireland. Two others are in Dublin: the Archaeology branch on Kildare Street showcases precious artifacts, while the Natural History museum on Merrion Square contains taxidermy, skeletons, and specimens representing centuries of Ireland’s wildlife.