Ian Callagy recently visited the National Museum of Ireland, Kildare Street, which attracts the interest of international students as well as members of the public.
Arriving at this museum, one is immediately met by a large variety of memorabilia, on the subject of history, to purchase. They all help to advertise Ireland’s ancient cultural heritage. Many artefacts are housed in this museum, which is divided into various sections. These sections focus on different aspects of Irish archaeological history including: Prehistoric Ireland, Kingship and Sacrifice, Ireland’s Gold, Viking Ireland and Medieval Ireland.
Among the many items on display here is the Lurgan Longboat (discovered in 1902). Ancient ceramics have also found their way here, dating back thousands of years. Examples of Celtic jewellery can be seen – some more alluring than others. Everything from ancient axe heads to bronze shields are displayed prominently.
Talking to a member of staff at the museum, it seems that the most common foreign visitors are from Spain and Italy. One feels this place would be essential for students studying Archaeology. The painstaking process of discovering, preserving and displaying the exhibits is well documented through a number of visual and audio installations. A French student, I talked to, said that while she found some of the artefacts “a little disturbing”, it was good to see humanity preserved for public viewing.
Moving upstairs, Medieval Ireland is examined. Clothes from that period are displayed for perusal. Statues and plenty of religious relics are here too. However some are very eye-catching. One interesting item in this section, among many, is the Black Bell of Saint Patrick which originates from the 7th century and was discovered in Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo. Nearby the bell is a large wooden French Gothic chest, made from Oak, dating from the 15th century. This is in addition to a selection of raw and coarse textiles and ancient attire, worn by people in the medieval ages.
A key component, as one walks around the museum, is the annotation which accompanies the exhibits. One cannot fault those responsible for putting together this vast repository of ancient Irish life. It contextualises our heritage, in what must have been very harsh times compared to the present day. A large number of Chalices and Bishops’ croziers are included to view, which highlight Ireland’s Christian heritage. This important museum is an educational way of passing an hour or two in central Dublin, away from the stresses of the life.
The National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology is located on Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 5pm. Sunday 2pm – 5pm. Closed Mondays (including Bank Holidays)
Yeah! English its belong to Yeah magazines is an online and physically magazine for the international student in Ireland.